Technological advances in logistics can change the way the world does business. Smartphone apps and GPS technologies have already removed the traditional barriers between factories and roads, transforming the future of logistics.
Sophisticated software has made it easier for companies to deliver shipments, manage schedules, plan routes and avoid delays in real time. The results see a faster, cheaper and more sustainable industry that has diminished international barriers and encouraged ample amounts of globalisation.
Many people working within logistics have benefited from the substantial breakthroughs that technology has brought the industry. Here, we take an in-depth look at the three biggest tech trends and how they are shaping the future of logistics technology.
The use of autonomous vehicles and drones
Over the past few years, the use of drones has increased dramatically. Companies like Amazon have implemented these automated technologies to increase the speed and accuracy of the logistics process, delivering products quicker than ever before. Consumers will soon be able to receive products within 30 minutes of ordering them, something that seemed out of reach in the past. Although this type of technology is still in testing phases by a handful of companies, there are great strides being made to bring it to the masses. Not only is this beneficial for consumers, but employees have claimed advantages from the autonomous nature of these deliveries. The packing and shipping system has become more reliant on technologies, with employees becoming well versed in the modernised practices of the industry.
As more and more companies become involved in this type of progression, both customers and the future of the logistics industry continues to benefit. For instance, in order for self-operating vehicles to operate most efficiently, they would need to communicate with one another, helping to identify traffic problems or road risks early on and improving traffic conditions.
“Uber-isation” of the trucking industry
Traditionally, the quickest, safest and most inexpensive method of freighting items across long distances was a truck. While this is still the case, technological advances have seen a growing number of trucking companies experiment with Uber-like apps and services. They have seen the benefits that ride sharing can have, hoping that it will translate into large-scale commercial shipping operations.
Apps such as LaneHoney, DashHaul, Transfix and Cargomatic are helping shippers to view the trucks that are nearby, providing convenient booking access through a direct click. The apps monitor online maps and GPS systems to position and update the shipper; they also provide exact arrival times, which eliminates paper, phones, faxes and the haggling of prices. This has also seen an influx of logistics jobs within this industry, with rising freight quantities driving up the demand for employees with experience in the field.
These technological platforms are forecasted to do to traditional truck brokers what Uber has done to taxi services. The convenience, transparency and automation have revolutionised the industry, making it one of the biggest trends that have shaped the future of logistics in recent years.
If you are unsure of how warehousing operations work, most big Internet companies rely on small armies of staff stock pickers. They walk miles each day through large-scale warehouses, gathering goods for shipping. During peak periods, the number of people employed will increase significantly, making this sector a prime target for automation.
Lately, the use of robotic systems and stock pickers has taken a lot of the legwork out of the picking process. They work to bring shelves to the pickers, fetching the products to reduce the physical workload of manually picking up items. Although no robot can pick and pack products with the speed and reliability of a human, the technology is developing quickly to help assist and streamline warehouse processes. The implementation of these technologies will see an increasing amount of employees trained in automated robotics. Universities and education providers will equip those studying to work within the logistics industry, heightening the subject matter and standard of education. Those entering the field will need to be well versed in these technologies, as all warehouses will have to be overseen by a staff trained in logistics.
How to get involved?
There has never been a more exciting time to be involved in the future of logistics industry. To stay at the forefront, there are many ways you can get involved. You’ll save yourself time and rejected-related heartache if you realistically set expectations for your career in logistics. While some entry level jobs require little to no training, the majority of positions will require some sort of qualification. From a Diplomas of Logistics to various adult education courses, there are numerous ways to get your food in the door. It is never too late to follow your passion so determine your skill set and educational needs before you begin applying for jobs.
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