2020 was a difficult year for the logistics sector, which was affected by the global pandemic (Covid-19). Companies who work in the essential goods field such as food, medical or pharmaceutical were obliged to ensure the continuous sourcing of these products, generating the evolvement of the e-commerce logistics.
An accelerated digital transformation of the logistics took a place thanks to that. Companies started relying on technologies more often in their now automated warehouses in order to optimize the operations and offer their clients more efficient services.
The pandemic did damage the economy, but it did also offer it various advantages, such as this one, allowing companies to modernize their logistics. Here are the different trends and opportunities in the logistics field for 2021.
Big data and the importance of data analysis
Automating processes made it a lot easier for companies to move forward with their businesses. Thanks to Big Data and data analyses, they are capable of detecting, analysing, measuring, fixing and even examining everything that is happening in their warehouses.
This can happen through the process of analysing a large amount of data along with analysing the operations' performance, identifying what should be improved and adapting to strategic measures to ensure continuous improvement.
There exist several programs that would help you manage your automated warehouses, transform large quantities of data generated by them such as the ratio of orders prepared, the number of receptions per hour or the percentage of occupancy of each location, among other logistics KPIs.
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Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
For the last decades, AI and machine learning left an impact on the transportation sector. They helped improve the operation's functionality and detect all possible problems to provide the best solution. Implementing AI to create a new transport technology was influential in the pandemic, as many people in management positions started to work remotely. These two technologies enabled businesses to predict the market's behaviour and contemplate the changes.
Companies that rely on AI and machine learning are distinguishable from their competitors due to the continuous evolvement of these technologies.
They allow them to predict future consumption trends, optimize the delivery routes and transfers, but also have better authority over the processes to deliver enhancements.
5G and the internet of things
To most people, the 5G technology is all about a better internet navigation while using a smartphone, but what you didn’t know is that this technology has more to offer.
Its advantages are represented in the role this technology plays as an interconnection of numerous devices with a high speed that could reach 10 gigabits per second with low latency.
This makes her more efficient for the collection and processing of data related to IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) and its evolved version, AIoT (artificial intelligence with IoT).
Here, we talk about both self-sufficient vehicles (forklifts, trucks, etc.) and drones, piloted using artificial intelligence algorithms. Such devices provide interesting opportunities in warehouses, such as to decrease the duration of inventories thanks to drones which photograph and identify products in stock.
There are numerous opportunities to improve productivity and cut back the costs by adding autonomous vehicles to as part of your logistics solutions. We might not be witnessing them on the streets but, autonomous trucks are already in operation at airports, seaports and container bases. Autonomous forklifts and robotic arms are also being widely used in modern warehouses to function as flexible ‘conveyor belts’.
The world is now starting to worry about the planet’s well-being and the future of the humanity. That is what encouraged companies to move toward the Green logistics or rather say the durable logistics.
Eager to reduce the air, water and soil pollution caused mainly by the logistics activities such as transport, some measures took place in order to respect the environment;
- Switching to electrical cars.
- Utilizing sustainable raw materials.
- Biodegradable packaging.
- Using recyclable or energy savings materials.
The benefit of automated warehouses is that they make better use of building space than the traditional ones, that is why in order to succeed in the go green strategy, businesses have to explore all of their resources.
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The last mile delivery
The e-commerce has been witnessing some remarkable changes in 2020. People started relying more on purchasing their products online, which resulted in the decrease of the urban traffic due to the mobility restrictions. This did generate a better use of the last mile delivery.
It's the final step in the delivery process, which starts at the distribution center and ends when the delivery is successfully accomplished and when a package is moved from a transportation hub to its final destination. The last mile delivery is both the most expensive and time-consuming thing about the shipping process.
Now that things are slowly going back to normal, we can notice how the traffic is still an important issue in cities, making it difficult to limit the physical contact with the consumers to avoid the virus.
2021 is the year when companies have to force the acceleration of their last-mine logistics along with the flexibility. The best way to successfully manage this is through the micro-fulfillment of the warehouses through the small logistics facilities installed in the urban areas to make the product more accessible for the consumers.
Companies are relying on Blockchain now for a more agile and secure exchange of information. This technology makes the communication much easier with different links of the logistic chains granting the elimination of errors.
It helps bring transparency to the entire logistics process, allowing for quicker approval and clearance by reducing the processing time at checkpoints.
Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the world was going through a dark war full of challenges and hopes. The humanity’s well-being was set as everyone’s priority and so was the fluid, flexibility and the ability to adapt to changes.
We cannot neglect the truth that the evolution of these technologies in every existing sector is promising of a world ruled by them to facilitate the lives and help us do more.
FAQ | LOGISTICS TRENDS AND OPPORTUNITIES IN 2021
How to improve traceability through the last-mile?
Making sure the package isn’t lost or tracking it if it ever gets lost is a very important part to be taken care of. You can count on the new developed ways offered for smartphones to track your shipment, with a solution like Onfleet providing GPS functionality, enabling people to monitor the accurate location of their package and how far the driver is from reaching their home.
Will AI replace the role of operators and managers?
AI, on the contrary of what most people believe, will not replace management decision-making. The machine learning tools provide input to management planning rather than automating those functions. They provide an alternative method for predicting labour requirements without the detailed process modelling and engineering required in a system using ELS.
How do I make sure my shipment will be delivered on time?
A faster delivery time is granted if you count on the 3PL services when the warehouses are located closest to your customers. That is why you should leave this for the DocShipper experts to deal with it. Having a warehouse in Europe allows for much faster and less expensive delivery.
Why is Green Logistics important?
Green logistics policies represent a strategic advantage over the competition. Not only do they revalue your brand and set it apart, but they also prepare your company for the future, which inevitably must be sustainable. Energy saving measures are an effective strategy for coping with rising supply costs. They ensure that a company is prepared to comply with environmental regulations.
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