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What does the future hold for the logistics industry?

19th October 2021 Print

The logistics industry is changing rapidly. Technology, like the internet of things (IoT), has had a huge impact on how quickly products can be shipped and freighted around the world. Another major change that is happening in this industry is an increase in automation - machines are taking over work traditionally done by humans, whether it's driving trucks or sorting packages at distribution centers. This shift will have incredible impacts on the economy and our daily lives.

In this blog post, we will provide an overview of the changes that are happening in the shipping and freighting industry.

Route planners and GPS technology

Route planners are used to help transport companies determine the best route for drivers. This is achieved through GPS technology that can track vehicles' locations in real-time. The route planner takes this information and calculates the most efficient way to get from point A to point B.

Route planners are becoming more advanced as data becomes available on things like traffic delays, road conditions, and other obstacles along the way. The industry is starting to see route planners that combine multiple modes of transportation (e.g., trucking routes with train or airplane travel). Route planning technology can also be used to determine the best way for customers to organize their shipments from multiple suppliers. For example, take a look at Circuit’s routing app which you can try for free.

In addition, this technology allows organizations that have a global reach to know where all of their assets are at any given moment and respond accordingly. Trucks can be re-routed if they run into problems or need maintenance, drivers can receive updates on traffic conditions before they head out, and shipments can be re-routed to avoid any delays. This technology is very valuable when things go wrong - a problem in the supply chain will cause problems across all parts of an organization's operations.

Last-mile delivery and local courier startups

Last-mile delivery is the final leg of a package's journey that takes it to its destination. This is often done by an organization or local courier service and can be quite costly for companies with large distribution networks - especially when they ship items overseas.

One way last-mile services are helping logistics organizations is through crowdsource couriers. New startups, like Deliv and Shyp, are allowing people who already have cars to sign up as couriers for last-mile deliveries. These services benefit customers by providing same day delivery at a lower price than traditional couriers (since the crowdsource courier's only task is picking up the package from one location and delivering it).

Autonomous vehicles

Driverless trucks are no longer the stuff of science fiction. In fact, there are already self-driving vehicles on American roads today - they're just not in widespread use yet. However, companies like Daimler and Tesla have recently started testing driverless semis that can travel for hundreds of miles without a human inside them to take over if something goes wrong.

Driverless trucks have many benefits to the logistics industry - they could reduce costs for companies that run fleets of semis, increase safety on highways by reducing accidents caused by driver fatigue or distraction, and would allow drivers who are doing other work to focus their attention elsewhere. However, there are still several barriers preventing widespread use of this technology, such as the high cost of installing this hardware and software on existing trucks.

Another alternative to autonomous semis is using drones instead - Amazon has been testing drone delivery for years now, and UPS just announced a program that uses drones to carry packages from distribution centers in Florida to nearby mobile trailers . This type of technology allows companies with large fleet sizes and warehouses to use drones instead of trucks, which may be a more cost-effective option.

Data analytics

Companies are now using big data to make their transportation logistics more efficient such as how they track trucks, manage warehouse inventory and efficiently route shipments. Data analytics is allowing companies to get more accurate information on when traffic is at its lowest, or what routes are generating higher demand forecasts, which can help them understand how much space should be allocated for each product type. The biggest challenge ahead is integrating these new technologies into existing supply chains - this will require collaboration between large organizations and small startups, as well as a willingness in warehouses, the best time of day to make deliveries (e.g. to avoid traffic), or even how different weather conditions can affect the efficiency of their fleet.

The future holds great promise for logistics operations, despite all of the technological changes that are happening today.