The Present and Future of Logistics
The Logistics industry, like all others, is going through a huge technological transformation due to the increased necessity of remote work solutions. Cloud-based logistics, social media, Internet of things and other innovations are moving logistics in a new direction. Logistics is the industry that all others rely on to maintain a thriving business. Moreover, things like transportation plays a huge roll in the supply-chain and logistics as a whole.
New digital technology is changing the way industries operate on a fundamental level. Increased connectivity with one another has also increased customer demand, created new buying habits, and created an entirely new industry, ecommerce.
As more and more companies begin to rethink the way they use technology, cloud technology is becoming a serious and viable option. From entertainment companies like Netflix to banks like Capital One and others are adopting cloud technologies to gain an advantage over their competitors who are still skeptical or who decide to move to the cloud later on.
In the 21st century, data is the new gold. The amount of data generated around the world every day is vast and growing exponentially. In the US, the logistics of physical items involves integrating information, material handling, production, packaging, inventory, transportation, warehousing and even security. The data involved in the tracking of every process individually is staggering. Big data helps evaluate these large quantities of data to discover patterns, trends, competitor behavior, costumer preference and more in a way that is optimized for use.
The firms that can effectively use this data, analyze it and capitalize on the insights it gives will have a huge advantage over competitors. Currently, logistics companies are only using technology to get data from their database. But using that data to learn customer buying habits and competitive strategies is what will drive business.
That’s why logistics companies are working on projects that allow them to use this data. A shift to data-driven reports and operation makes fuel management, warehouse management and other processes easier.
Cloud-based logistics tech incorporates resources from the various stages in the logistics process in real time. The executives can then share this information throughout their teams and coordinate actions accordingly. The cloud simplifies the process by creating a checkpoint system that allows you to check, evaluate, confirm and approve each part of the operation. If any issues arise at any point, you can respond to them as they occur. It also works to schedule and organize deadlines.
The evolution of cloud computing software has changed the way industries work. Software-as-a-service features of cloud computing, specifically when it comes to cloud-based logistics, means smaller scale companies can use technology on a pay-per-use basis, cutting costs. This is a benefit featured in a public cloud however, rising security concerns are making private or hybrid clouds more practical for logistics companies as a whole.
Public cloud servers are, by their nature, public and visible to the internet. This opens public cloud providers to a remote scanning by hackers looking for a vulnerability. That is why private and hybrid clouds are becoming more popular since they lack the vulnerabilities associated with public clouds.
Nerds Support, for example, is a hybrid cloud provider that provides IT Support for Logistics firms. That means we store partners’ data on secure private servers like a private cloud would, but we still use internet features to provide updates and applications, using the best aspects of both private and public. That being said, cloud technology is continuing to improve warehouse management, labor management, route optimization and more. The supply chain quality of the cloud helps create a collaborative system of users. Data and information is shared in real time increasing response times and avoiding serious errors in the process.
Because cloud-based logistics uses applications and internal features to make in-real-time collaboration possible, resources are managed and distributed more easily. Separate hardware with different built-in apps are not necessary. All it takes is access to a single computer and an internet connection.
Cloud solutions changes and improves through time. On the cloud, a company can add new features and update applications for improved functionality. Cloud based logistics has a lot of practical tools to keep track of progress and organize future projects.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
This is an area where logistics stands out. Logistics companies were among the first to adopt and embrace an IoT strategy. Logistics companies that employ smart technology have reduced management complexities and faster ROI. Productivity is accelerating and IoT is opening up opportunities. Sensors are built into cargo ships, trains, trucks etc. , and connected to alarm systems that monitor and track the cargo. These sensors then transmit information to the crew, which allows them to assess risks and learn more about routes and hidden liabilities throughout the logistical process.
Radio Frequency Technology (RFID)
Like smart technology, RFID is not new but it’s still a popular and economical way companies are tracking their inventory. Tag sensors are placed on the product and radio waves are transmitted to and processed by the company. Now, logistics companies are using RIFD tags in their warehouses to monitor inventory. Like the cloud, its popularity has spread through other industries like theme parks and apparel companies.
Everyone checks some form of social media on a daily basis. Social media is becoming the easiest way for companies to connect with customers and clients. Sending urgent messages, sharing industry news, and receiving customer responses is what has made social media beneficial for logistics.
With increasingly useful and practical tools in development, new opportunities become available. All of this leads to shipment optimization, fleet specific planning, thorough, effective organization and financing, and increased cyber security measures. What’s more, these technologies keep improving. It would be wise to consider how these technologies could help your logistics company, if you aren’t already using them.