The Future of Logistics – Driven by Technology

Get a front row seat to all the technological developments in the logistics industry 

What’s in store for the future of logistics? Drones? Hover cars? Or better yet, instant delivery and distribution via teleportation? Could be. According to Industry Week, the global logistics market is estimated to be worth about $4 trillion a year, which represents a whopping 10% of the global GDP. The global transportation services market is also one of the fastest growing sectors, with an annual growth of 7% since 2011.

You can forgive mankind for its appetite for improving logistics with greater efficiency – as it’s a pursuit that makes the future very bright. The scope for technological advancement is virtually limitless. Read on to see what’s on the horizon and how technology will revolutionise logistics in the near future.

Why all the technological development in logistics?

Ambition has driven technological development. Similarly, though, it has been spurred on by a host of other factors, including:

  • Flexibility

With consumers relocating and increasingly mobile, meeting their requirements at multiple locations calls for improved flexibility.

  • Multi-channel shoring

From the physical store to e-commerce, consumers are sourcing their goods in a variety of new ways that need to be supported by improved supply chain management.

  • Sustainability

Today’s consumer is more environmentally conscious and prefers goods sourced in an environmentally friendly way. They are increasingly calling for sustainable resolutions that reduce the wastage of resources and negative impacts on the environment.

  • Efficiency

Superior efficiency remains a primary source of competitive advantage with leading logistic companies, reducing the risk of delays while still securing speed to market.

As for the future, the supply chain will be trimmed to optimum efficiency and almost completely autonomous. Some of the developments we can look forward to include:

  • 3D printing

Production will take place much closer to the consumer, facilitated by 3D printing. Instead of the manufacturing process happening thousands of kilometres away, goods will be printed at local production sites shortening the distance for delivery and cutting down on costs. Even goods that are needed periodically by a group of consumers, like replacement parts, can be printed as and when required.

  • Machine-to-machine integration

Machine to machine (M2M) refers to any technology that enables networked devices to exchange information and perform actions without the manual assistance of humans. This technology will allow a greater understanding of what is occurring at any given moment in terms of the performance of machines, energy consumption, inventory levels and distribution. Management will then adjust accordingly to optimize efficiency.

  • Drone delivery

Drones have been used for picturesque aerial photography, mapping and surveying, but the future could see them decongesting traffic on the roads and delivering goods across the skies. While the loads they will be able to carry will be limited, it would be an ideal support system for first and last mile logistics.

  • Driverless vehicles

Yes, Self-Driving Vehicles (SDV) are fast becoming a reality and the implications for the logistics industry are nothing short of huge. It will usher in the era of the autonomous fleet. Benefits of this include massive cost savings on fuel and labour, and will result in less delays and accidents, reducing overall shipping costs in the process.

  • Robotic warehouse management

When human effort is exerted, there is invariably an opportunity for automated improvements to be implemented. The future could see the widespread adoption of mobile warehouse robots that manage inventory loading, unloading and transporting goods. They will be able to do so up to four times more efficiently than a human could. Amazon has already been making use of this technology through its team of Kiva robots that feature intelligent navigation to fulfil orders, and has reaped the benefits.

Third-party logistic providers (3PLs) and other logistics entities are awaiting the rollout of these new technologies, not only to increase their profit margins but to improve the customer experience. The distance between the consumer market and the goods they demand is closing fast, while the convenience factor is fast increasing.

AMCAP is an innovative logistics company with a passion for superior service delivery and technological advancements. We take great pride in providing effective solutions for the commercial and industrial auto sectors, contact AMCAP Distributors today.