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Logistics Technology That Will Revolutionize Distribution Facilities

by | May 17, 2022 | Industry




With the increasing expansion of the international economy and trade, shift in consumer behavior, technological advancement, and all the crises the world is facing, international logistics is under the spotlight nowadays. 

Also, progress in cutting-edge technologies such as 5G, blockchain, big data, artificial intelligence and the internet of things are revolutionizing worldwide logistics services toward a more intelligent industry.

Logistics is a unique field of activity that operates 24 hours a day seven days a week to satisfy all its customers around the globe. The industry also has to deal with turbulent times like the climate crisis, growing world population, pandemics, and political and economic instability. So how the logistics industry is dealing with all this?

What is logistics?

Logistics are the processes used by businesses to transport and store goods. Usually, the process entails managing suppliers, inventory, transportation and costs. The main objective of logistics is to make sure that products and services available are in the right place, at the right time.

In most cases, this involves transporting raw materials, warehousing them and delivering them to the customer. Its process includes several aspects, including the planning and control of inventory flow. The movement of resources involves several factors, including initial conditions, environmental conditions and the objective function.

In addition, logistics is also an important part of quality management. The more efficiently raw materials are transported and stored, the more profits a business can earn. Additionally, by coordinating resources, manufacturers can ensure on-time delivery and maximize the use of materials. Various types of businesses rely on logistics to meet the needs of their customers.

A retail business may send its products to a fulfillment center to process the order and ship them to the end consumer. The goods are sent to the fulfillment center by the retailer after they are unitized by the manufacturer. These goods are then sorted according to the customer’s orders by a third-party logistics supply company.

It also helps businesses maintain their brand image. Having a delayed product can hurt customer satisfaction, bottom-line and long-term viability. Specialized logisticians manage inventory and transportation of goods. Their role is to orchestrate the entire process and coordinate the steps as inventory moves through the supply chain.

product on palette stack on metal racks in fulfilment center
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Importance of logistics

The logistics industry plays a crucial role in achieving a firm’s objectives. It contributes to the creation of time utilities in a product, maximizing value satisfaction for the consumer and ensuring timely deliveries. Additionally, it reduces the cost of material handling, transportation, and carrying inventory. Ultimately, the industry is the foundation from which a company can establish its manufacturing process.

Logistics is essential in retail. A retailer’s promise of competitive prices won’t mean much to a buyer if it is not delivered. A buyer’s focus is on delivery. In addition to fulfilling contractual obligations, delivery of goods according to schedule is essential for both legal and commercial reasons. Failure to meet a supplied deadline can lead to the forfeiture of the sale and legal penalties.

Organizations that want to sustain their competitive edge will have to implement logistics-oriented strategies. The distribution of resources is the defining variable in any business’s competitive edge. By focusing on cost-effective storage, organizations can increase their profit.

Further, the use of fixed assets such as delivery vehicles and storage warehousing can be leveraged to improve profit margins. A company that focuses on logistics can create a competitive advantage and become a top-tier company among its competitors. And if done well, it can create a higher level of customer satisfaction and reduce costs.

Proper supply chain management is also important for promoting a brand and a better delivery schedule. Online shoppers prioritize convenience when buying products, including secure payment options, great product reviews and overall customer satisfaction. The importance of logistics is vital to making this experience as easy as possible for them.

Consumers also demand clear communication from companies and want their orders delivered as soon as possible. Businesses that fail to meet these expectations will suffer a decline in customer satisfaction. Ultimately, enhancing distribution is the key to retaining a competitive edge and gaining a competitive edge globally.

Digitalization of the logistic industry

The world is changing rapidly. Incomes in developing countries will reach levels never seen before in history, with an estimated billion more people set to join the consuming class in the next decade. These changes will affect global supply chains in a variety of ways and logistic companies will need to stay ahead of the curve to thrive.

Traditionally, effective inventory management was paper-based. Now, technology makes it possible to track and monitor inventory at any given area of the supply chain. In addition, it gives retailers real-time data about the whereabouts of their products. This real-time information improves customer satisfaction and boosts sales.

The way that businesses move products has evolved dramatically and most firms are now offering their own logistics services. Startups have also seized the opportunity to fill in the gaps in the supply chain. As a result, logistics companies are constantly adapting to stay one step ahead of the ever-changing landscape of global trade.

In addition, the industry is faced with a rise in e-commerce activity and consumers demand increasingly more personalized and convenient experiences. Many consumers now expect their orders to be processed as quickly as possible, at low prices and with complete transparency.

crane unloading big shipping container at night
Image by Niklas9416 from Pixabay

As a result, companies have responded to the new demands of consumers by providing a more consumer-like experience. Successful companies take advantage of the latest trends and incorporate them into their operations. With digital advances, distribution companies can respond to demands much more quickly than ever.

We already see many examples of new technologies that have radically changed the way we do business. Technological advancements are changing the logistics industry. 3D printing and automation are just two examples of new technologies that will revolutionize the industry.

3D printing has entered the industry as a solution. For instance, 3D printing enables manufacturers to produce customized goods quickly. Increasingly, manufacturers can now produce more products, reducing waste and improving production efficiency. And 3D printing means that the logistics industry will be more efficient. It also gives consumers a say in how products are manufactured.

Almost 40% of manufacturers and retailers expect their 3PL providers to be familiar with 3D printing. Another significant technological advancement is IoT (internet of things) and automation, which reduce errors, waste and increase speed. The introduction of IoT technology in the industry has a variety of benefits. It will enable warehouse management, real-time delivery and route planning.

It also enables smart devices connected to the internet, which can collect data about the location of cargo and improve efficiency. In addition, the Internet of Things helps companies manage their warehouses better and tell them when to replenish stock. For instance, smart devices connected to the cloud will be able to track how long it takes to deliver a package.

While IoT doesn’t constitute a new technology, it continues to impact logistics. In the past, it was only accessible to a select few. But now, thanks to the increase in smart devices, it can provide real value to end consumers. This technology makes warehouse management more efficient and even helps companies know when they need to restock their supplies.

The advent of connected goods and the automation of operations have allowed logistics entities to make better use of technology. With connected goods that can communicate information on their status, where they are going and what consumers need, companies can improve their services.

Further, these innovations also enable companies to better plan their operations, which will benefit their customers. Moreover, new technologies will ensure more efficient delivery processes and better handling of goods in transit. Previously, supply chain and logistics were largely taken for granted. Now, companies are discussing the role of retailers, manufacturers and warehouses in the supply chain.

Managing the critical data of partners and customers has also become an increasingly important part of the role of logistics companies. The rise of social media is also changing the way distribution companies operate. In the future, logisticians will not simply look at previous sales numbers to predict consumer demand.

They will also use big data analytics and social media trends to predict consumer demand and prepare for changes earlier than ever before. Another significant trend is the rise of robotics. With these new technologies, robots will be able to take on more tasks in the supply chain.

Furthermore, with more people living in densely populated areas, logistics will continue to change. Increasingly, companies will need to provide a greater variety of products in smaller quantities. Automated vehicles will simplify delivery processes by reducing the need for humans. Driverless vehicles will help cut labor and fuel costs.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices will enable smart warehouse management. The IoT will also make the supply chain visible. A smart city will make every aspect of logistics more efficient and streamlined. You may also expect to see drones and unmanned vehicles delivering goods as soon. Furthermore, new wearable technology will be utilized in warehouses.

Blockchain is the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and other digital currencies. It’s also making strides in proving its business value. Blockchain can improve logistics costs by strengthening security, onboarding new suppliers and tracking moving cargo. The use of blockchain technology in logistics can also significantly increase trust with the use of smart contracts.

Blockchain can help distribution companies manage their inventory, track deliveries and provide real-time notifications of sold-out products. Blockchain technology is also useful for facilitating customs clearance and increasing transparency. The technology is poised to make the supply chain process even smoother and more secure.

The logistics industry will be largely digitalized in the next decade, with artificial intelligence replacing pen-and-paper workers. Machine learning will likely take over data processing to optimize loads, routes, timing and orders. As such, everyone from drivers to receiving agents will be replaced by intelligent computers. The entire process will be automated.

Furthermore, with mass customization and omnichannel order fulfillment becoming the norm, logistics will become more efficient and cost-effective. The focus on automation will shift from simple tasks to full-scale coordinated automation. In the long run, collaborative robots will be working alongside humans and learning to take on more responsibility.

In the near future, automated warehousing and autonomous trucks will streamline the logistics process and increase safety. They will also improve transportation efficiency. Ultimately, the future of logistics is about embracing technology to make the supply chain work smarter.

Logistics companies must keep up with new regulations and technologies to stay ahead of the competition. This way, they can remain relevant in the changing landscape. Keeping abreast of new trends and technologies is critical to remaining competitive. The future of logistics is not as far away as it seems.