5 Ways Technology is Disrupting Logistics

February 12, 2020

When you stop and think about just how much technology has grown over the past century or even the last decade, it’s easy to imagine how much it has changed every industry. We rely on logistics to transport goods from businesses to consumers quickly and while efficiently managing data. From placing a focus on the advantage of space and labor, to creating digital processes that save time and lower operation costs, the evolution of logistics at the hand of technology has been monumental. Let’s take a step back in time:

  • 1940s – The focus of logistics was on mechanization and how to take better advantage of space and labor-intensive work and the concept of a pallet life is born.
  • Mid 1950s – Intermodal containers were developed so that ships, trains, and trucks could handle the same containers (keep in mind all transactions and record-keeping was done manually still).
  • 1952 – Barcodes are patented! Can you imagine life today without them?
  • 1975 – FedEx launches changing the way logistics is done for everyone.
  • 1983 – JCPenney installs the first real-time warehouse management system thanks to IBM’s first computerized inventory management system back in 1967.
  • 2019 – Amazon generates $280.52 billion in revenue (Digital Commerce 360).

It’s clear we’re living in an exciting age where technology and customer demand are shaping logistics operations for the better. Now more than ever, digital logistics are necessary to increase your bottom line, improve internal processes, and help your business grow.

Why are Digital Logistics Important for my Business?

Digital logistics technology disrupts the way organizations of all sizes operate structurally and systematically on a daily basis. 

At its core, digital logistics technology does the following:

  1. Lower costs
  2. Improve customer service
  3. Save your employees time
  4. Improve the odds of long-term survival

Digital logistics accomplishes what traditional logistics cannot — a tightly integrated supply chain operation and technology strategy that uses applications to enable efficient, customer-focused process models, transparency throughout the supply chain cycle, and reduced operating costs.

“At BuildThis, we leverage the technology to visualize and manage your data, while maintaining a fast and user-friendly experience.” – Russell Mstowski, Application Developer

Types of Technology-Transforming Logistics

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Intelligent & Automated Warehousing

We’ve got smart TVs and smart homes, so it’s not surprising that smart warehousing is also transforming the logistics industry. By interconnecting technologies within a warehouse, they’re able to better work together to improve productivity and efficiency. Every day, repetitive tasks can be automated which improves accuracy, decreases cost, and allows workers to focus their attention and efforts on other tasks instead.

Predictive Capabilities of Lead Times

Predictive analytics offers many benefits including optimization in transportation management systems. Supply chains rely on fixed lead times and by using predictive analytics, many uncertainties and disruptions can be more easily predicted or eliminated altogether.

RFID Technology

Wireless Scanning and Real-Time Updates of Goods

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology allows communication and the transmission of data to custom applications. In logistics specifically, RFID allows the tagging goods and pallets as they make their journey through the supply chain.

Here are some examples of RFID technology across multiple industries:

  • Tolls
  • Passports
  • Libraries & Museums
  • Timing of athletes in sports events
  • Tagging animals in farming
  • Hospitals use RFID technology to track inventory, tools, and even patients

The collected RFID data is exported stored in a database that is used by a back-end system that your company already uses. Usually, you must create an API.

Enhanced GPS Accuracy

Cargo Is Constantly Tracked

Not unlike a helicopter parent, GPS tracking allows constant and real-time updates of where precious products are. Companies can track the temperature and humidity factor of goods, identification of bottlenecks, whether or not excess inventory is needed, and reduces the possibility of human error.

Advanced Customer Service

Real-time updates of the whereabouts of products help create transparency and trust between businesses and their buyers. Enhanced GPS provides a way to have control over what is reported to customers, and ensure that they are getting their shipment as fast as possible.

Improved Driver Behavior

Fuel costs are expensive for companies, and having the ability to track where a vehicle has been can help prevent misuse of vehicles, loss of goods, or driver mistakes. 

Bluetooth Technologies

Faster Communication

As we know too well, outages are common in the technology industry! Downtime across networks due to unforeseen issues cost time and money. Bluetooth-enabled technology works on a device-to-device basis which completely removes connectivity concerns. Additionally, this saves on cost for businesses because the need for Internet data to connect devices is eliminated.

Increased Privacy and Security

Bluetooth technologies offer logistics and supply chain companies a secure environment that is not connected to the Internet to transfer proprietary information as needed.

Autonomous Trucks

Efficient Last Mile Delivery

“Last mile delivery” is the transportation of goods from a hub to the final delivery destination, which is typically a personal residence. Last mile logistics focuses on getting the product to the end user as quickly and as efficiently as possible because customer satisfaction is key to all businesses and in many cases a key differentiator.

While fully-autonomous trucks are not on the road yet, major players like Volvo, Tesla, and Daimler are working on their own versions of self-driving trucks that save businesses time and money as they deliver their products.

Start Your Logistics Application Project

Your company has unique needs and goals that cannot be crammed into an already existing application. Work with our strategists at BuildThis to develop a custom software solution for your business that consolidates your internal tools, maximizes efficiency, and creates transparency throughout your company and with your customers. Our BuildThis application team will analyze your existing processes and systems and work alongside you to create a mobile app, custom software, or custom application that accomplishes your business’s operation goals. Contact us today to get started!

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