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Technologies Changing Logistics

Oct 11, 2018

Today we’re all surrounded by technology. It impacts our lives in many ways. Not only does it affect our personal lives, it’s transforming business as well and that includes logistics and freight shipping. Which technologies are changing logistics and how? 

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Internet of Things (IoT)

Wi-Fi and the internet connects everyone to almost everything. That’s why it’s called the Internet of Things (IoT). This technology offers many opportunities in the supply chain to reduce costs and avoid risks. Sensors and alarm systems allow better monitoring and better control as freight is transported from point of origin to destination.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

This time-saving technology improves the tracking of containers, shipments and materials throughout the supply chain and beyond. RFID involve sensors or tags emit radio waves to capture data that allows real-time access to tracking information. 


Autonomous Trucks and Drones

As previously discussed, these two technologies are changing rapidly and have the potential to impact how freight is being delivered in the not-too-distant future. Autonomous trucks and vehicles are already being used in such applications as these at ports and in agriculture today. Cargo drones have a bit farther to go before regulations are updated to allow freight to be delivered via these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

GPS

The use of GPS devices and technology is used by most everyone these days. Beyond personal use, this technology has become so accurate that it increases productivity and improves customer satisfaction. This is accomplished by tracking the movement of trucks moving shipments. It also makes life easier for truckers by proving traffic updates so they know which roads to avoid and when. 

Logistics Safety Technologies 

With the demand for faster turnaround times, logistics providers will continue to face increasing safety challenges. Fortunately, the addition of many new technologies in trucks and other freight-carrying vehicles will help counteract these issues. Options such as lane assist and backup cameras as well as in-cab cameras are just a few examples of these.

Cybersecurity Systems

Recent hacks of global companies and governments demonstrate how important it is to be prepared for such occurrences. As more logistics data and operations are stored in the cloud, cybersecurity risks increase throughout the logistics industry. Companies of all sizes must prepare for these potential attacks by proactively protecting their information with the appropriate software and services to ensure it’s secure. 

Mobile Apps

 With the rise of the IoT has come the increase of mobile app adoption in various aspects of logistics. There are apps to access information such as trucking miles driven, freight sent, freight waiting to be sent, inbound orders, marketing leads and customer service interactions. Others help with such processes as inventory management, barcode scanning, fleet management, shipment tracking and order management. All of these increase efficiency while some lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction. 

TMS 

Transportation Management Systems (TMS) have become increasingly popular. The resulting increased efficiencies and cost savings make them a no-brainer for any company that ships on a regular basis. Over the years the technology has improved significantly, so if you have an older system, it may be time to consider updating!

Big Data

This automated logistics technologies tell you what is happening and how it affects operation. This large-scale data analysis is used to reduce inconsistencies, generate reports for rapid decision-making and for customer service purposes. It is powered by devices connected to the Internet of Things and is further enhanced by cloud computing. In logistics, big data, increases productivity, better communication between carriers and shippers, better asset tracking and more.

Blockchain

Blockchain has the potential to have a huge impact on Logistics. Being more secure than the internet, and unalterable, it would result in improved record-keeping and tracking accuracy. If you missed our article about this exciting technology, you can read it by going here. 

Artificial Intelligence

AI has the potential to transform logistics and supply chain operations. Its ability to find patterns and predict future scenarios nearly automates decision-making processes. Applications employing AI often allow staff to avoid routine tasks and engage in more thought-provoking ones resulting in higher productivity and streamlined operations.

Robotics and Automation 

Robotics and automation technologies are advancing rapidly. It used to be that robots were ineffective since they were blind, clumsy and lacked intelligence. Today, they help with sorting, picking, packing, and more. It helps make up for staffing challenges in warehouses while freeing up humans to do more complex tasks. This will only continue to improve over time. 

Elastic Logistics

Although elastic logistics isn’t a technology itself, it involves the use of technologies to implement. It is the flexibility to expand and reduce capabilities to accommodate changing demands within the supply chain. This approach increases efficiency and visibility while allowing companies to quickly and efficiently scale shipping processes as needed. This is accomplished through technologies such as a transportation management systems (TMS) and automation while partnering with a 3PL. 

Chatbots (conversational systems) 

These voice-controlled systems interact with users to complete actions at various steps in the supply chain. Chatbots may be employed in picking, ordering and customer service, for example. More sophisticated chatbots are powered by AI to automate tasks while saving time and money.

As you can see, the logistics and freight shipping industries are being changed in many ways by technology. This is just an overview. Stay tuned as we dig deeper into many of these technologies. We’ll look at how they’re being used and the benefits that they offer. Need to learn more about how you may benefit from these technologies today in your logistics operations? Contact American Group.

American Group is a 3PL with decades of experience guiding businesses through the selection, preparation, and shipping of their freight. Contact us for assistance with your next shipment by phone at 866-553-6608 or by email at Info@ShipAG.com. We’re here to make Shipping.Simplified®.