Technology is reforming as a driving force metamorphosing highly interconnected supply chains, and permitting capital intensive businesses to link and cooperate on management, storage, and transportation of goods and services across borders.
Businesses have been enabled to improve the quality of their services through technological innovations in the transportation and logistics industry. Global companies and international trade are highly dependent on transportation services to stir the flow of goods within the economy. From clothes to electronic devices, every commodity is brought from various spots across the globe.
Recent technological advancements offer logistics companies looking to streamline their operations and, in turn, gain efficiencies a great opportunity. From winning keen, real-time information from data is received from different sources to automate the business process of material handling in warehouses. Technology is fueling transformation in the logistics and transportation industry.
In 2018, According to PwC CEO Survey, “68% of transport and logistics CEOs surveyed anticipate changes in technologies of production and services will be ingenious to their business while 65% transport and logistics CEOs surveyed expect changes in the distribution channels to impact their business.”
There is no doubt that a remarkable transformation is ongoing in the transport and logistic sector as new technological solutions driven by market trends come into everyday use. Such a significant degree of economic, political, social, environmental, legal, and technical changes influencing this segment of the economy has been witnessed, at no point in recent history.
With the growth of complexity of modern transport and logistics, what should be short term vs. long term focus and what to invest in is more difficult to understand. The more reason why an attempt has been made to identify some of the most impactful technology trends driving the logistics and transportation industry.
Digitalization is already a thing, visible in business processes ranging from operations, through administration to contracting. Digitalization today is no longer about Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Information and Communication Technologies(ICT) in workplaces, but about fabricating utterly new business models and processes and integrations across the value chain. It is more about taking advantage of moving essential elements such as point of purchase, amongst others related to the provision of service into the digital environment.
According to PwC Global Digital IQ Survey 2017, 54% of surveyed companies expect digitalization to increase their revenues. Businesses can also use digitalization to:
- Reduce the impact of talent gaps,
- Redesign their business models, services and products,
- Simplify their processes.
The way consumers interact with businesses can be expected to be reshaped by digitalization. It is visible in the mobile, and online ordering of transport, ranging from taxi services, through car-sharing and public transport ticketing, to personal transport services would soon cease to be viewed as innovative.
Shifts In International Trade
These shifts are already visible, for example, in the rapidly growing number of train trips from China to the EU and vice versa. Acting as an alternative that’s cheaper than air freight and faster than ocean freight, new investments along land transport and trade routes will likely reshape international logistics in Eurasia. The opening of new trade routes and expansion of the existing ones will follow as emerging economies get connected to the global economy.
The shifts in international trade are driven by:
- The emergence of barriers to trade and trade wars resulting from regulations,
- Globalization of transport businesses,
- Infrastructural development,
- Establishment of free trade agreements.
Modernization of highways, telecommunications, railways, and other facilities along emerging trade routes such as hubs will undoubtedly benefit the logistics and transportation industry. These developments will lead to a lowered cost of transport and the creation of new services. These investments can be referred to as “New Trade Route Solutions.”
Software-Driven Process Changes
These process changes are expected to dynamically grow and generate more substantial benefits for business over the next few years but currently need to find their way into the mainstream. The evolution of base technologies, such as Big Data Analytics or Blockchains/DLTs, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and the pressure on businesses effectiveness they create, bring about a favorable environment for the development of the solutions.
Solutions expected to reshape the logistic and transportation industry as software-driven process changes include:
- Robotic Process Automation
- Intelligent Transportation System
- Blockchain and all Distributed Ledger Technologies
- Predictive solutions (for maintenance and deliveries)
- AI solutions
Companies are envisaged to implement them to create quality and price advantage, likewise enabling consumers to experience the comfort and stay connected and informed about transport services.
Substantial Changes In Markets’ Domestic Commerce:
Over the next few years, substantial changes in markets domestic commerce can be expected, fueled by the development of eCommerce markets, optimistic economic growth forecasts, and the increasing Mergers and Acquisition (M&A) activity and sharing economy in the logistic and transportation segment. Changes in consumer expectations and an aging society are what drive solutions in this area. They will also create a push for new services and different value-chain integration amongst producers.
There are new solutions that can be explored due to these changes to provide affordable and innovative services to consumers, enabling convenience in online shopping, and sharing resources for everyday use:
- eCommerce business in logistics
- Logistics consolidations
- Sharing economy
- Leading brands looking towards opportunities for growing online sales
- CEP companies are designing tailor-made eCommerce solutions.
Machine Driven Process Changes:
These changes can be expected to increase the efficiency of logistics and transportation services, among other benefits. Solutions in this area require investments in new technologies and implementation.
In the longer term, machine-driven processes will be enabled by including evolution in electromobility and the development of base technology and changing regulations. The emerging focus on environmental sustainability also shapes those changes.
The following machine technology solutions can help logistics and transportation companies benefit from increased work efficiency with more extensive applications:
- High Speed Rail (HSR)
- Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality devices
- Last Mile Optimization
These changes will mean less interaction with people and more with machines in the future but will ultimately result in greater availability of flexible services to employees and consumers.
Joydeep Singha is the Founder at AskDataEntry – India’s leading online virtual administration services provider for businesses and individuals. He is a seasoned marketing professional who is an expert in digital marketing and entrepreneurship.