The smart device or computer that you’re reading this on. The cup of coffee at your elbow. Even the car that you drive and the house that you live in.
All of them, have been made possible by logistics. To put things into perspective, logistics is defined as the flow of goods or services from one point to the other. Without logistics, businesses around the world would grind to a halt as would the economy.
With such a vital role to play in the world around us, logistics and supply chain management represent the future of all business.
For starters, increased globalization and e-commerce has made it all the more vital for goods and services to be moved around the world. Hence, we now take a look at what the future holds for logistics.
1. An increased focus on greener operations
From super bulk carriers to the van that delivers your packages, the logistics industry contributes 7 percent of all global emissions. With such a sizeable carbon footprint, it’s no surprise that immense pressure is being placed on the logistics industry to significantly cut down on their emissions.
This has given rise to the term green logistics which is defined as the process of reducing the effect of one’s operations on the environment. Here, we’ve seen companies make the switch to electric vehicles for reduced carbon emissions and streamlined packaging designs that improve delivery efficiency.
Just like the Kentucky Derby has its own preparation races, logistics will also start to need some planning and testing ahead, to measure the impact of its operations.
2. The implementation of autonomous solutions
Artificial Intelligence and robots are some of the most exciting developments to come along in recent times. Robots and machine learning eliminate the need for a human operator to continually perform monotonous and repetitive tasks.
This lessens mistakes made by humans along the supply chain and also allows for more efficient use of storage space. With artificial intelligence, we can even expect to see fully-automated warehouses changing the nature of employment for many workers.
Robotic pickers may in the near future eliminate the need for human intervention entirely thus speeding up the delivery fulfilment process. From a business perspective, logistics service providers will need to start upskilling themselves and looking into the integration of technology at the workplace.
3. Instantaneous deliveries
The internet has connected humanity on a scale like never before and has opened the gateways for commerce to be performed on a global level. With the rise of e-commerce, companies such as Amazon and Alibaba have become giants in their own rights.
Where in the past many of us would balk at the thought of handing over our personal information on the internet, in just under a decade, online shopping has become the new norm.
In turn this has given rise to term instant gratification which is the desire to immediately experience pleasure or receive something.
For many of us who enjoy shopping online, the thrill of buying something is often muted by the prospect of waiting weeks or even months to receive our purchases. This is why companies like Amazon have begun offering in-car and same-day delivery options for customers who are unwilling to wait.
As we move forwards into the future, logistics providers will likely begin exploring ways to cut down on their customers waiting time in an effort to stand out.
4. A shift towards providing agile logistics services
From trucks to warehouses and even ships, assets in the logistics industry are bulky and expensive. However, in recent times technology has allowed for a greater degree of agility for both customers and service providers.
For example, just as Uber revolutionized the taxi business, e-hailing services for trucks has taken off in a big way all across the world. Zinka Logistics; a Bangalore-based startup developed BlackBuck; an app that connects customers with logistics service providers as a means of streamlining India’s logistics industry.
This flexibility has opened the door for independent truck operators looking to get a foothold in the business. In the future, we may even begin to see apps that bring together warehouses, planes and even ships thus lending greater agility to the logistics industry.
The future holds much promise for the logistics industry and it’s players. With the advent of new and advanced tech solutions, the face of logistics as we know it will be changed irrevocably.