Electronic logs. Electric semis. Autonomous vehicles. As the supply chain industry moves forward, the technology we use is quickly gaining ground, making big changes in how we do business. But with 2018 knocking at the door, it's time to take a quick look back to see what the hottest trends were in 2017 for supply chain technology.
The Road Behind: A Look at 2017's Hottest Supply Chain Tech
- Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence: With the convergence of several technologies in the digitization process, machine learning is becoming a possibility and is expected to lead to artificial intelligence advancements. Starting from automating systems, more tasks can be assigned using machine learning until only exception handling will need human intervention.
- Autonomous Warehouse Robots: The path to Amazon's use of autonomous robots in their warehouse began in 2012, when the company purchased Kiva Systems. Though the use of autonomous warehouse robots has not yet become common, Amazon's use of the technology shows a solid ROI for the business.
- 3D Printing of Parts/Products: Whether it's a rare broken part for a machine or producing customized products for customers, additive manufacturing opens a range of possibilities. Beyond simple plastics modeling, 3D printers now handle a large number of materials for your needs.
- Big Data: This year saw great gains in the use of data from social media, weather, news and events to optimize operations, improved estimates of asset movement, response to potential issues and risk detection. The pervasiveness of the Internet of Things in industry has allowed for better use of analytics in determining business direction.
- Autonomous Vehicles: Though the truly autonomous vehicle is still probably well over a decade away, the continued development of driver support systems in trucks is bringing some of the technology onto the road. These systems include lane departure monitoring, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and similar options that keep the roads and freight safer.
- Sharing Economy: With the success of sharing economy companies such as Uber and AirBnB, the growth of this type of business model has reached logistics. Both Uber and Amazon are starting to work with the options this type of operation provides, typically for items that are unusual, difficult to shi,p or that are going to unusual locations that would make the cost prohibitive for a regular shipping company.
Though technology continues to march forward, the next year will show which of these hot techs will keep on going down the road and which ones will be left behind. At Road Scholar Transport, we apply the best of these technologies to ensure that your freight has the best possible transportation from point A to point B. If you'd like to see what we can do for your special freight needs, please feel free to contact us today for more information.