6 Future Trends In Logistics
Since Henry Ford’s assembly line reduced vehicle production from 12 hours to just over an hour and a half, companies have taken logistics very seriously. What are some of the ongoing concerns faced by the logistics industry, and what is new on the horizon? Here are 6 trends to keep an eye on in 2015.
B2B networking automation
In today’s corporate world, many companies work together to produce a single product. As a logistics manager, you may have to track dozens of suppliers and manufacturers and coordinate deadlines and production goals between them all to make sure your people have what they need when they need it.
Increased networking between companies will go a long way in making inter-company collaboration more efficient. The goal is to get computer systems to interact with one another intelligently and work together.
The idea of an army of automated drone couriers may seem farfetched, but this is a concept that Amazon is actively investigating. If successful, drones could drastically cut transportation time. A small drone going to a single location is more efficient than a plane landing at a centralised warehouse, where products have to be loaded on trucks and shipped out.
The goal will be to drop a package at someone’s door within an hour or two of purchase. Drones would also cut delivery labour costs, because they can be programmed and controlled externally, so one worker could oversee many drone couriers.
In previous decades, the trend was towards delivery from massive central warehouses, but studies have shown these warehouses have negative environmental impacts. CO2 emissions are increased, along with overall average haul length for every trip.
In order for drones and other small delivery technologies to work, this trend will be reversed and many small, very lightly manned centres may become the new norm.
Customised products available through 3D printing have a minimal impact on overall customer demand today, but that will change in the coming years. As additive manufacturing becomes cheaper and more widespread, logistics requirements will shift.
Rather than final product distribution as part of the supply chain, the focus will be primarily on the front end. The delivery of raw materials for at-location manufacturing will become the primary focus of logistics. Right now the raw materials are mainly resins, but future 3D printing will include metals, fabrics, and bulk paper for custom books and magazines.
While Amazon is investing in drone technology, other companies such as Google have spent the past decade developing self-driving cars. Automating ground transportation will have a huge impact on the logistics industry by dramatically cutting costs and labour hours. This technology is still in the development stage, but has been proven successful by multiple universities and research institutes.
Advances in data analytics
Cloud driven big data has increased in importance across just about every industry in the last few years, and logistics is no exception. The ongoing challenge is to not just collect data, but to integrate the various streams.
Enormous data sets for tracking, routing, scheduling, and production data need to be integrated and analysed. The real goal of working with data is to measure and improve logistics and delivery systems. The next big step will be to draw conclusions and incorporate this available data into actionable plans.
Logistics is a strong industry that continues to change and implement environmental and technological advances.
For more information about how you can benefit from using Polythene UK products in your supply chain, get in touch today. Call 0845 643 1601 or contact us online.