Good logistics management enables the operators to receive goods, store them, prepare them and ship them safely and efficiently. To help them achieve this aim, operators will use a variety of technologies. Below is a look at some of the top logistics trends, plus a discussion of what logistics technology is and why it’s important for operators to keep up with developments in logistics technology.

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what is logistics technology, and why is it important?

Logistics technology is a major part of many businesses and is essential for the success of the company and for customer satisfaction. Together, supply chain and logistics technology manage the flow of materials and services, through to their conversion into finished products and later to their distribution centre to the customer.

Logistics technology matters because demands have changed. The on-demand fulfilment of orders has disrupted the e-commerce marketplace. The convenience benefit of on-demand e-commerce is now what defines e-commerce. Retailers who own the logistics, customer relationships and inventory are partnering up with on-demand apps, even though this may eat into their profit margins.

The story doesn’t end there, however; now, e-commerce is going even further and entering the world of instant commerce, in which orders are going to micro fulfilment centres and reaching the doors of the customers in as little as 15 minutes. The rapid pace of instant commerce is requiring the replenishment of these micro fulfilment centres (MFCs) more than once a day; in fact, it’s requiring this replenishment several times per day in some cases.

That’s why logistics technology has become so important. Customers want their goods at the right time for the right price. Old-world logistics are unable to cope with the new demands of e-commerce. Good logistics management will secure customer satisfaction, improve efficiency and deliver the goods without any trouble, or with as little as possible. It’s also fundamental for a successful supply chain.

Falling behind with technology is no longer an option. Logistics technology is the only way businesses can fulfil demands. If they don’t follow the trends, they won’t survive in the long run.

what are the logistics technology trends to watch out for?

Of course, technology is evolving constantly as tech companies strive to make life easier for consumers and businesses in different sectors. Below are some of the main logistics trends to watch out for 2022:

1.  internet of things (IoT)

The world is consuming goods and services faster and faster; so much so that retailers and manufacturers are having a harder time monitoring all the different processes across different smart devices and digital technologies. The connectivity of the internet of things (IOT) is helping operators to boost their efficiency. The constant flow of data between the devices and logistics providers helps supply chains to monitor and maintain themselves. Meanwhile, in warehouses, smart sensors can notify robots of any replenishment needs and alert them to orders for picking and packing.

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2.  automation

Even before the pandemic sent the logistics industry and many other industries into a spin, operators were making major changes as a result of the rise in on-demand deliveries. The arrival of COVID-19 pushed them to implement changes faster as companies raced to find ways to avoid face-to-face interactions.

Automation in distribution centres and warehouses can relate to anything from physical to process automation. Automation of warehouse processes may include the digitalisation of manual processes, autonomous mobile robots working inside the warehouses and pick-to-light systems with operators using barcodes to scan and LED lights indicating the amounts of items to pick up and their destination.

3.  autonomous trucks and logistics

Companies are rushing to produce self-driving vehicles, and the logistics industry could see a much heavier presence of autonomous trucks in the future. The growth of e-commerce is placing immense pressure on the traditional logistics industry, and operators are also feeling the pressure of increasing levels of competition. They feel autonomous trucks could bolster their efficiency as well as help them cope easier with the demand. Whereas truck drivers can only spend a limited amount of time behind the wheel, autonomous trucks will be able to stay out on the road for much longer.

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have already begun developing self-driving features such as cruise control, lane departure avoidance systems, emergency braking and collision avoidance systems for trucks. They’re also experimenting with platoon systems for trucks driven by humans, with fully autonomous trucks for limited geography and with semi-autonomous trucks for motorways.

4.  transportation management systems (TMSs)

You’ll sometimes see TMSs also referred to as ‘transport management solutions’ or ‘transport management software. TMSs help businesses and logistics operators plan and execute the movement of goods, both incoming and outgoing and streamline processes and manage and optimise transportation by land, sea or air. The TMS can help the operator ensure the shipment is compliant and that proper documentation is available. These systems often form part of a larger supply chain management system and allow operators to also lower freight expenses, increase transparency, improve overall customer satisfaction scores and ensure the timely delivery of goods.

5.  artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning

AI and machine learning are playing an increasingly significant role in logistics. Businesses are now using the massive flow of data from the supply chain to identify trends so logistics operators can make any necessary adjustments. The use of AI in the supply chain will reduce human errors, and in the management of the warehouses, it will make planning easier as well as speed up analysis.

Then there’s the need for demand planning, which the AI accommodates in spite of past experiences and the need to take several influential factors into consideration. The last-mile logistics analysis, supplier selection and working force planning can all be driven by AI and are so in some cases.

6.  blockchain

Cryptocurrency may steal the show when it comes to blockchain technology, but the uses of blockchain go way beyond digital currencies. The decentralised ledger this technology entails creates greater transparency. Audits are more transparent, and if anyone commits any attempts at fraud, the technology will expose this.

Blockchain technology makes it possible for operators to track the flow of goods through the supply chain as they pass through different management systems. The flow of data through these different systems creates the potential for it to become lost or for the flow itself to become disrupted. Blockchain technology also provides operators who work together regularly with a reliable platform on which they can share data about current order volumes and future ones, and lets them incorporate this into their logistics planning.

The use of smart contracts in logistics cuts out a lot of bureaucracy. Distribution companies can minimise human errors and automate procurement. Using blockchain technology can lower administration costs. Logistics generates huge volumes of paperwork that are difficult to track and easy to misplace, which causes massive slowdowns in delivery and transportation because the information isn’t readily available.

7.  wearable technology

In warehouses, wearable technology is becoming more present as operators invest more and more in technology to deliver as much information to them as possible. These can be items such as wearable barcode scanners (on fingers or wrists), right through to devices that track employees’ movements as they work in the warehouse. Wearable technology enables businesses to see how their employees move around the warehouse when they need to take breaks, the routes they could take to reach shelves faster and more. They can then figure out how or where machines or automated vehicles might be able to step in.

8.  real-time supply chain visibility

In the world of logistics and supply chain management, real-time visibility is essential. This visibility covers the activities that allow operators to track and trace the movement of goods or packages from the suppliers, manufacturers, warehouses and hubs through to the final customer.

This real-time visibility makes the most of GPS tracking and complex software to plan, monitor and schedule their logistics at different points. The people managing the supply chain can track order receipts, the status of raw materials, shipping details, the status of the order and more. As a result of the better management of the process, businesses can improve their productivity, reduce transportation costs, achieve more customer satisfaction and, importantly, gain a competitive edge.

9.  the growing importance of industry newcomers

New industry players and emerging businesses are beginning to shape the future of logistics technology. New systems, which are often carried forward by startups, include elements of the sharing economy and are building a reputation fast. Since they don’t require lots of assets, these startups are focusing on the ‘asset light’ parts of the value chain, such as by transforming into digital freight forwarders. They’re flexible in their operations, which allows them to provide quotes faster and offer better pricing and transparency.

10. increasing investment into logistics startups from venture capitalists and businesses

VC funding in pioneering logistics tech start-ups is increasing. Extremely large logistics companies have invested millions into these businesses or even bought them. This allows the firms to leverage their skills and abilities, and to drive research and development through partnerships. Some companies are also expanding their technological portfolio in-house.

11. sustainability powered by technology

Sustainability is a cross-industry trend. The last-mile logistics has a reputation for consuming a lot of energy and a lot of time, and the time has come for new, more intelligent methods, for which last-mile logistics presents many opportunities. Companies are adopting lots of different technologies to soften their environmental impact. These range from using electrical vehicles to implementing AI software to calculate routes that will generate the lowest emissions.

Guide To Achieving Sustainable Transportation 01

a guide to achieving sustainable transportation

Transport carries multiple opportunities to exert a less harmful impact on the environment. In a world in which consumers are becoming more climate-conscious, anything the transportation world can do to protect the planet as human beings or businesses go about their activities is welcome.

We've put together A Guide to Achieving Sustainable Transportation to help you understand the importance of it.

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12. warehouse robotics

Now, more businesses are using robots than ever in their logistics, as automation has really come into its own in the 21st century. The use of robots can increase productivity and efficiency, safety and satisfaction in the workplace. Warehouses are implementing robots for a wide variety of tasks, including sorting, picking, transportation and replenishment. Different types of robots you’ll come across in the industry are:

Automated guide vehicles (AGVs)

These are mainly used for transporting stock or materials around the warehouse, often from section to section, or for transferring picked stock to a packaging area.

Autonomous mobile robots

These are sophisticated, multipurpose robots that can move around dynamic warehouse environments on their own and operate without any extra guidance. Warehouses call upon them for a number of tasks. They’re good for moving stock around the warehouse and for bringing it to pickers and packers. It’s even possible to program them to move ahead of the pickers to the next stop on the route. The advanced sensors on autonomous mobile robots can identify and process the information on packaging, which makes it possible to implement them for inventory checks, sorting and put-away tasks.

Automated storage and retrieval systems

These are computer-controlled robotic systems that can automate the shipping and put away of goods. These typically large-scale systems consist of a crane or shuttle on fixed tracks that pick items up or put them down via the aisles in a warehouse.

Robotic arms

These versatile robots take care of unsafe jobs for the workers. They consist of a multi-jointed limb that can pick up stock, move it or put it down. Often, warehouses will use them to manage pallets and heavy items for storage, picking and packing, and receiving and loading vehicles.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

People often refer to AUVs as ‘drones’, and this type of robot combines functionality and flight in logistics. Companies can equip them with cameras and scanners for accuracy and for stocktaking, as well as systems for lifting moving lightweight cargo.

13. virtual reality and digital twins

In the logistics industry, the simulation and digital twinning of physical assets are becoming more common. Companies are looking to test, monitor and control machinery and process virtually. Through virtual reality, they can create realistic digital settings and simulate dangerous environments safely for the training the employees in hazardous processes and enable immersive learning. The technology is also allowing them to visualise and test planned procedures and proposed layouts, which is then creating opportunities for them to reduce costs and flaws and streamline blueprints. Digital twinning from the IoT data allows managers, through VR, to test, operate and maintain physical assets.

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loading trailers safely with our automated loading solutions

We want you to be able to make light work of heavy loads safely and have produced some ideal automated loading solutions. These solutions reduce the need for forklift trucks to enter trailers during loading and unloading so logistics personnel can transfer loads to them and from them safely. This helps to keep loading areas safer. You’ll be able to shift the same number of pallets but with fewer people, trucks and forklift trucks. We provide three main options:

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Moving floor

The moving floor loading solution is safe, straightforward and efficient, and can help you load pallets of almost any size. All you have to do is set up the floor in your trailer and load your pallets or other loads onto the coils, which then transport them into the trailer (or out of it if the load is already inside).

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The slipchain loading solution is superb for addressing high volumes of loading and unloading. Just the push of a button will get things moving. The tracks on this modular design lift up and transfer your pallets or other loads from the slipchain dock to your trailer, or from it, as you wish. It’s a durable system, and you won’t have to modify any existing structures very much to set it up, You can also integrate it easily into your logistics facility or connect it to a production line conveyor.

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The trailerskate loading system serves operators in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), packing, food and drinks industries especially well, but it’s suitable for most businesses. They can boost productivity and efficiency, operating more safely all the while.

The skates on the system allow you to make light work of loading and unloading. These skates sit on a loading dock that links up to the trailer floor, and the system collects the pallets or other load. It then transfers these items to the skates, and they move them to the trailer or from it. If you have a high-volume logistics business and a large fleet, the trailerskate is ideal and keeps loading and unloading extremely safe.

You can load your trailers much more efficiently and easily by using our automated systems. If you’d like to know more about them, feel free to get in touch. Our helpful team will be happy to assist you and advise you on the best system for your needs.

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