New technologies are impacting every sector and industry in the economy, but perhaps no sector has more to gain from these technologies than the logistics industry. This is because this sector is often overburdened with manual processes and outdated data management. And with the current trade uncertainties such as the introduction of the USMCA and tensions between China and the US, those with more nimble supply chain strategies and technologies may find themselves with a huge advantage over the competition.
This year, there are a number of supply chain and logistics trends that businesses will want to keep an eye on and perhaps adopt for themselves.
1. Artificial intelligence.
AI has been evolving within the logistics industry for several years now with solutions such as intelligent transportation and demand planning. But this is just a start. New technologies such as last-mile delivery robots and automated picking systems for warehouses are going to be increasingly popular this year and in years to come.
2. Digital twins
Another exciting development that you can expect to see more of in 2020 is digital twins. In the past, digital models could never quite replicate the physical object, and there were often unknowns such as when a part or component would wear out or how a customer might modify a physical object to suit their own needs. With digital twins, however, it is possible to interact with a digital model in the same way that you could interact with the physical object, and test things like layout, packaging, delivery times, etc. in a risk-free environment.
3. Real-time supply chain visibility
Supply chain visibility (SCV) will become even more essential for logistics companies this year. With real-time SCV, companies can respond immediately to ever-changing data such as weather, traffic and road and port conditions. This will allow these companies to optimize routes like never before. Additionally, though the use of IoT sensor technology, companies will be able to track individual packages, shipments and vehicles through real-time monitoring.
Blockchain has received a lot of hype in recent years and as a result, there has also been some fatigue around the term. But the blockchain concept has some definite advantages in the supply chain and logistics industry and the technology being developed has huge potential for the industry in the future.
Blockchain is simply an open ledger within a given network. This creates transparency of transactions since everyone in the network has access to the ledger and it eliminates the need for third-party involvement. Blockchain has the potential to make information sharing between companies and their shippers much easier as well as facilitate joint ventures between companies.
5. Data standardization
One of the traditional problems within the logistics industry is that data has often been stored in different ways and in different places, making any kind of standardization very difficult if not impossible. With new data standardization methods, however, these data silos will soon become a thing of the past. Thanks to organizations like the Digital Container Shipping Association (DSCA), we are beginning to see a much higher level of data standardization.
At Royal Supply Chain, we like to keep our finger on the pulse of the industry and aim to adopt new technologies when we believe they will be of benefit to our customers. If you would like to learn more about how RSC is adopting trends that can help your business, contact us today.