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THE CHANGING FACE OF LOGISTICS: WHAT CHANGES CAN WE EXPECT IN THE NEXT DECADE?

Marketing Manager
Anastasia Shevchuk

INTRODUCTION

Logistics has always been thought of as a conservative industry, and while many businesses have already implemented digitization, the logistics industry is only just starting to do so. There are still a lot of routine tasks, like copying information from an email and entering it into a system, generating and collecting invoices, typing booking information into carriers' websites, monitoring a portal, and updating records, which are are time and labor intensive and can result in significant inefficiencies, errors, and productivity losses for your business.

So, why not digitize them and make your life easier?

Let's take a look at the logistics industry trends enabling digitalization in logistics, such as digital supply chain management and vehicle tracking.

DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES IN LOGISTICS

We hear about technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation (RPA), and blockchain every day!

What solutions do they bring to the table?

1. Error reduction
2. Enhanced productivity
3. Shipment location tracking
4. Time and cost-efficiency

Let's look at how digitalization in logistics works in detail.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence already offers many effective solutions to a variety of industries, and can hugely benefit the traditionally conservative logistics sector. Artificial intelligence enables superior customer service. With the growth of e-commerce businesses like AliExpress or Amazon, consumers are relying on online orders more than ever. However, due to negative experiences with logistics companies on the Internet, trust in online shopping rapidly fell.

The implementation of digital solutions for logistics like AI helps solve these problems by offering digital solutions to customers like:

1. Package tracking
2. Vehicle tracking
3. Delivery time tracking
4. Filling in of invoices and web forms
5. Route optimization
6. Cost reduction

Furthermore, almost all logistics companies use cloud-based databases which allow them to access data about customers and orders within seconds. Digital logistics companies can now more effectively manage their day-to-day operations, including availability, costs, flow and resource monitoring, transportation processes, staffing, and suppliers, to ensure flawless processes and enhanced customer service.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) provides many benefits to digital supply chain management, such as:

1. Reduced costs.

Employers don't need to spend extra money on the hiring and training of new employees.

2. Reduction of human error.

People can easily burnout and start making mistakes while performing tedious and monotonous tasks.

3. Process acceleration.

Robots can perform time-consuming and repetitive tasks without becoming bored and exhausted like people do.

Safety is an incredibly important issue, and the introduction of RPA has had a significant impact on improving labor safety in the digital logistics industry. Robotic process automation reduces the risk of injury at the operational level in the supply chain warehouse by keeping workers safe from hazardous work procedures. For instance, a robot for packaging and stacking pallets can eliminate the risk of injury when performing industrial tasks like stacking heavy boxes on pallets.

Blockchain

When people hear about blockchain, the first thought that comes to their mind is cryptocurrency, coins, tokens, and mining, but the main idea is much wider and deeper. Multiple industries have adapted this technology to their needs ever since it appeared on the market, and the sight of blockchain in logistics is now quite common.

The main benefits of integrating blockchain in logistics are:

1. Elimination of data tampering. Once a document is entered once, such as a bill of lading, receipt, or certificate of conformity, it remains in the system in its original form forever

2. Elimination of unnecessary intermediaries

3. Prevention of illegal goods, mislabeling, and other fraud attempts

4. Time-effectiveness. Blockchain reduces the time for document management by an order of magnitude, quickly finding the link of transportation where a mistake was made to reduce business costs.



digital technologies in logistics

DIGITAL SOLUTIONS IN LOGISTICS

Fleet management systems

A Fleet Management System helps freight forwarders improve the efficiency of their fleet by analyzing operational data.

Fleet Management System services include:

1. Vehicle management solutions which diagnose potential problems in vehicles and enable companies to take advance action

2. Driver management solutions that monitor driving performance, ensure safety, and avoid unnecessary costs

3. Operations management solutions that focus on route planning optimization and mobile workforce management

4. Network solutions that support the integration of enterprise resource planning software for the elimination of redundancies and improvement of accuracy and productivity.

Digital signatures

A digital signature is a type of electronic signature that provides proof of origin, time, identity, and status of a digital document. A signature confirms that the data came solely from the signer and has not been tampered with during transit.

Benefits of using digital signatures in the logistics industry:

1. Cost-effectiveness.

Many companies see significant cost savings, with little or no expenses from ink, paper, printing, scanning, delivery, or travel. There are also savings in indirect costs like filing, data reuse, archiving, or tracking.

2. Better customer experience.

Digital signatures are time-efficient for signing important documents no matter where a customer is located. The customer has the freedom to engage with a company from anywhere, making services and businesses far more easy, quick, and user–friendly. Just click a button on your tablet, phone, or computer, and all the necessary documents and contracts are signed off.

It doesn't get more convenient than that!

GPS-tracking

GPS-tracking in logistics allows the implementation of a fleet management system for locating and tracking vehicles, planning and optimizing routes, and more, all in real time.

GPS-tracking offers a variety of benefits:

1. Reduction of operating expenses.

Logistics GPS trackers allow you to find the shortest routes for your vehicles, reduce fuel consumption, and avoid unnecessary overtime costs.

2. Resource optimization.

Logistics GPS trackers allow vehicle tracking, which provides detailed insights into fuel usage and driver behaviour in real time. With the data obtained from a fleet management system, you can utilize your resources effectively and identify key money-saving operational processes.

3. Reduced maintenance costs.

GPS tracking in logistics can be used to diagnose vehicles and indicate fuel levels. You can also monitor key aspects like engine oil and the overall health of your vehicle.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW HOW WE IMPLEMENTED A DIGITAL LOGISTICS PLATFORM AND REDUCED OPERATING COSTS?

TECHNOLOGY TRENDS IN THE LOGISTICS INDUSTRY

Let's take a look at some of the latest and greatest logistics industry trends!

1. Green logistics

A key point that often comes up when discussing supply chain trends is green logistics, which is a sustainable policy taken by the logistics industry to minimise the environmental impact on transportation processes, warehousing, and other logistical activities.

So, what do logistics companies have to undertake to become environmentally friendly?

1. Use eco-friendly and reusable packaging materials. A good example of this is using strong pallets to ensure long-term use

2. Packing items more efficiently. Packing the items so that more can fit in a single box

3. Load Optimization. Sending fully loaded tracks

4. Route Optimization. By choosing the shortest way, it is possible to minimize fuel consumption, consequently reducing the amount of CO2 emissions per journey

2. Improved customer service

Customer-centric service will also become a key focus for suppliers, manufacturers, drivers, and team members. Customer requirements change by season, bringing with them the need for digital supply chain management to be adaptable. Knowing customer needs and ensuring satisfaction from start to finish will certainly be one of the hottest trends in the digital logistics industry.

3. Order transportation from a mobile app.

Cargo owners want to keep the full transportation process under control from their mobile devices. Now customers can order transportation by filling in several fields on a logistics mobile app. The main steps are to choose the appropriate vehicle, the departure and destination point, time, and date. Make an order and monitor the whole transportation process via a mobile application.

SUMMARY

Although the logistics sector is often thought of as being conservative, it is now slowly but surely catching up with other companies that have already implemented digital technologies and automated routine tasks.

Now, digital capabilities and information excellence are paramount for closing existing gaps and providing better customer engagement. It is important for the logistics industry to introduce new business models in order to overcome the challenges facing them.
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