The COVID-19 pandemic and the on-demand deliveries that were there even before the pandemic are forcing businesses to resort to automation as a way of ensuring continuity of operations. With automation, businesses found ways to minimize face-to-face interactions. Automation in warehouses and distribution centers involves almost everything starting with the process to physical automation. Some automation in warehouses includes digitization of manual processes, and the use of autonomous mobile robots, among others. As technology evolves, businesses will continue to automate most of their processes at different speeds depending on the size of the warehouses or distribution centers.
Blockchain is one of the fast-evolving technologies whose applications go beyond digital currency. Although most people know this technology due to its use in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, it has many other areas of application that include supply chain and logistics. The decentralized ledger technology provided by blockchain improves consumer transparency and allows items to be tracked from source to destination. Furthermore, it makes auditing more transparent and improves security. It reveals attempted frauds and manipulations in the systems. A smart contract enables a company to automate all its procurement processes and remove human error. Furthermore, it saves costs and time while eliminating manual paperwork.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Artificial intelligence is undoubtedly one of the technologies discussed frequently in tech circles. This technology, like machine learning, has played a critical role and has shown immense potential if adopted and implemented appropriately in the logistics sector. With vast data coming from the supply chain, machine learning and artificial intelligence are becoming useful in analyzing and spotting trends in the industry so that companies can make changes that will be useful to operations.
With these new technologies, demand prediction is increased because the systems will use data to generate insights based on past experiences. AI will also compile the possible prognosis faster and with ease, unlike human experts who are bound to make errors and waste time. AI and ML ease supplier selection, workforce planning and processes and offer visible results that help solve some of the most pressing and complex issues.
Internet of things (IoT)
This critical technology is becoming increasingly adopted to ease processes and enhance efficiency. In the logistics landscape, the expansion of IoT leads to growth in the connection between products being transported, vehicles, packaging and transportation hubs. Sensors offer data that helps predict aspects such as vehicles, assets, and forecast traffic. IoT offers data that is useful in forecasting congestion and eases cargo handling. When combined with blockchain technology, it offers end-to-end visibility, which is one of the leading areas of concentration in transport and logistics these days.
Transport management systems (TMS)
TMS is gaining traction among logistics firms because of its usefulness in managing carriers and route optimization. Considering most technological tools require proper organization and management in a common centralized place, TMS is rightly popular. TMS helps track delivery drivers in real-time, and its adoption will help lower freight expenses, increase transparency and improve customer satisfaction. With almost every industry going through a phase of digital transformation faster than anticipated, most companies are bracing themselves for proper management in the new era.