The transportation and logistics industry has gone through a period of rapid changes in the last few years. Events like the Suez Canal blockage and global disruptors like the COVID-19 pandemic have caused massive changes to take shape in the logistics industry. With the era of digitisation several changes can be seen in the industry that needs to be kept up with.
1. Logistics 4.0
Since the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent global lockdowns severely impacted businesses, an increasing number of organizations have turned to digital collaboration technologies in favor of more conventional means of communicating with one another. A growing number of logistics firms are using cloud-based, agile solutions to facilitate day-to-day operations. These products create a central digital meeting place for international service providers, customers, and third-party workers. It allows people to store their discussions in the cloud so that they may be viewed from any device at any time.
1.1 Big Data
As the amount of data in the world continues to grow, its importance as a component in logistics only grows. A growing amount of information can be gathered and shared thanks to ever improving software and technology. The logistics firms may learn from the past and make projections for the future using the collected data.
The use of Big Data and intelligent networking of market players aims to stabilize the whole supply chain by foreseeing and preventing any failures or interruptions, or by developing alternate plans to still achieve the stated deadlines. The information is also useful for planning more efficient transportation routes.
1.2 Cloud Based Systems
New cloud-based technologies and connections are constantly being developed and disseminated, allowing logistics firms to better manage their finances, store and transmit data more quickly and securely, and optimize their operations. Some companies in the banking sector have stepped in to aid carriers with bespoke technological interfaces, therefore facilitating quicker payments to the companies. In the end, this implies less work for employees and lower costs thanks to streamlined internal procedures.
1.3 AI and Machine Learning
There is a strong desire among logistics firms to increase the amount of AI and machine learning integrated into their systems, since this would decrease the number of man-hours required while simultaneously boosting output and productivity. Having the correct technological resources at their disposal allows business analysts to swiftly analyze productivity, shipment speed, customer happiness, and other essential characteristics, and then consistently improve upon themselves to increase profits.
2. Last Mile Delivery
As online shopping has become increasingly popular, logistics firms have had to adapt to meet rising demand for speedy and low-cost shipping. There is a lot of pressure on logistic service providers since many retail e-commerce models provide free or cheap delivery. Whether the consumer is located in a rural area where delivery would take only a couple of miles by car or in the heart of the city where traffic jams would cause delays and waste of resources, the problem of last-mile delivery is the cost of delivering packages to the end consumer, and it acquires the most significant share of the shipping cost.
Assuming retail e-commerce remains at the forefront, 2022 should see further progress in solving the last-mile delivery problem. Long-term, constructing additional warehouses eliminates delivery time and reduces prices and leverages various other approaches, such sophisticated delivery methods, green technologies, and artificial intelligence computing, that we have already discussed. Because more and more people want to do their regular shopping (from groceries to vehicles) online, there will be a greater need for these kinds of services.
2.1 Autonomous Vehicles
Fans of cutting-edge technology have speculated about the benefits of autonomous vehicles for years, but in many respects, these robotic modes of mobility are now mainstream. Currently, autonomous heavy haul trucks are operating under a form of autonomy known as “supervised autonomy,” but this will eventually fade away. Autonomous cars have the potential to be safer, cheaper, and easier to maintain than humanly driven vehicles if they are developed and tested properly. As a result, costs are down, traffic is reduced, and drivers may advance in their careers.
2.2 Real Time Analytics
Managers and business executives now have access to more accurate real-time analytics and tracking than ever before because of RFID chips and other cutting-edge technology. They know exactly where the items are and how long it will take for clients to obtain them. They have the ability to foresee and recognize issues (and resolve them faster). They are able to identify any areas of low efficiency or production, which is a huge step toward building the ideal business from the ground up.
2.3 3D Printing
It would appear that only manufacturers can benefit from 3D printing, but in reality, major logistics companies are beginning to use this innovative technology. If a product can be printed on demand using a networked 3D printer, there’s no reason to spend a week shipping it across the nation. Because of 3D printing, the supply chain will soon be considerably faster and more tightly integrated, and logistics businesses will have to adjust accordingly.
Sustainable supply chain logistics have been under scrutiny for some years, and this trend is only expected to continue in 2022. Companies in the logistics industry are increasingly recognizing the need to strike a balance between rapid financial expansion and minimal negative impact on the environment.
Using IT resources cut down on travel time, which in turn decreased CO2 emissions. At the same time, electric delivery trucks and cars began to replace their fossil fuel-powered predecessors. Many nations are lending a hand by mandating eco-friendly practices in the private sector.
3.1 Carbon Reporting
Carbon reporting is an effective method for cutting down on emissions, and it will grow in popularity in the years to come. Carbon reporting allows businesses to disclose their CO2 and pollutant emissions, which in turn improves the visibility of their supply chains. Companies are encouraged to minimize their environmental effect by being held accountable for their emissions levels. After all, a company’s competitive edge is enhanced and its capacity to attract corporate partners is influenced by its commitment to sustainability.
3.2 Hydrogen Technology
Hydrogen is touted as a viable option for the switch to environmentally friendly transportation fuels, but its future as a source of energy is uncertain. The fate of our energy transformation rests on the allocation of European monies.