Internet of Things, 3D printing, sensors, self-driving vehicles, electronic logs: if there's one thing that stays the same in shipping and logistics, it's that everything changes. One big change in logistics that will reshape how we do business is the impact digitization will have on our industry. But even though it's a huge buzzword right now, many people in logistics don't know what digitization will mean to our industry. Here's a brief overview to help get you started.
How is digitization impacting the logistics, supply chain and shipping industries?
A recent study featured in Fleet Owner found that 80% of executives in logistics felt that the digital supply chain was the business model to watch out for in the future, with 16% of respondents having already gone digital. Among the areas where digitization has already begun taking effect is in sensors and automated identification of goods, warehouse and plant robotics, predictive analytics, 3D printing of on-demand items, mobile technology, automated fulfillment and the optimization of inventory and networks.
But where does shipping fall into this process? Here's a quick glimpse into what we may see in the future. When a business inventory for a particular product or supply dips below a critical level, the company's system contacts the supplier and places an order to refill the supplies. Using predictive analytics, the system may be able to determine whether an additional amount of that item should be procured because of expected upswings in demand around certain events or dates. The systems are able to work together to find the optimum shipping time for the item in question, arranging for the best possible route and rate to get it from point A to point B.
At this point, an automated report may be sent to the contact person for that company, whether it's an invoice to accounting or a shipping notice to the operations manager. On the other hand, it may be that the operations manager is only contacted if the shipment can't take place in a timely manner for some reason, a process referred to as exception handling. As this type of technology creates a seamless customer experience, the individual in question can have their time freed up to pursue more important issues rather than chasing paperwork, schedules and shipments all day long.
There's no doubt that digitization will lead to sweeping changes in how logistics are handled both now and in the future. However, these changes also mean great opportunities. At Road Scholar Transport, we know it's important to stay on top of the latest trends in our industry to ensure that our customers’ expectations are not only met, but exceeded. Are you ready to discover what we can do to handle your special logistics needs? If so, please feel free to contact us today to learn more.