How Technology Continues to Change the Future of Logistics

The evolution of technology continues to push boundaries and changing how the world does business. Today, we’re accustomed to everything being online and having information right at our fingertips for immediate access. Improved technology has increased productivity in the supply chain, minimizing costs and errors. These advances benefit all areas of the logistics industry: trucking transportation, supply chain management, and shipment tracking. Here are five major technology advances that are changing the future of the logistics industry.

 

Shipment Tracking Systems

As recent as the early 2000’s, customers booked shipments, received an estimated delivery date, and then were left in the dark, unless they decided to make a phone call. Today, internet and software advances allow customers and shippers access to shipping and tracking systems 24/7. Not only does this enhance the user experience, but it saves time and money for the company as well. C.L. Services offers a shipment tracking system tailored for our customers which allows them to monitor and manage their shipments in real-time with over 99% accuracy. The insight offered by C.L. Services’ premier technology has ushered a new level of expectations, setting the example for 3PLs across the board.

 

Internet of Things (IoT) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

Today, many devices are made with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities and sensors, from cell phones and ceiling fans to cars – in fact, it’s almost rare to find technology nowadays that doesn’t have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capabilities. The easy access to internet and Wi-Fi connects everyone to everything, which is why it’s called Internet of Things. IoT has introduced countless opportunities for the supply chain, such as reducing costs and delays by avoiding risks. Companies install sensors into cabs, cargo ships, trains, etc., and connect to a receiving system or dispatcher which is monitoring and tracking. These sensors process and transmit the information to the crew, who then gains insight into potential risks and knowledge. Although IoT isn’t an entirely new technology, it continues to impact the future of logistics, allowing for a more accurate in-transit visibility and delivery of goods.

RFID technology, which has also been in use for a few years, is another popular automation companies can use to track their inventory. Essentially, a tag or sensor is placed on the product and radio waves are sent out. The data is then received and processed by the company, typically making this information available to the customers or shippers as well. The superior speed of information delivery and data processing of RFIDs is becoming more appealing to businesses, with the way technology is moving. Today, many companies are using RFID tags in their distribution warehouses to monitor containers.

 

Autonomous Trucks and Drones

A world where a computer drives you from Point A to Point B or you receive a package from a flying unmanned aerial vehicle sounds like something out of a movie, but that is where technology is headed. Autonomous cars are already a reality with trucks not too far behind. Embark and Uber have already made long hauls using autonomous trucks. This is a huge step in this breakthrough technology and has the potential to increase efficiency in the delivery process.

Autonomy doesn’t end with trucks; Amazon has announced the future of packages being delivered right to your doorstep by drones, called Amazon Prime Air. Drone deliveries are still a few years out due to the many regulatory measures, associated costs, and overall buy-in from the American people, but the thought of not having to sit around during a four-hour time span waiting for a package is pretty appealing to consumers.

 

Enhanced GPS Accuracy

Long gone are the days when you printed out directions from the computer before you left the house. Now almost everyone uses GPS, whether built-in on their vehicles or on their smart phones. The accuracy of these devices has drastically increased throughout the years, not only helping frustrated, lost drivers but also improving the supply chain. The advanced accuracy of GPS allows for increased productivity and satisfied customers, by tracking trucks’ locations and improving hauls through access to updated traffic data.

To remain competitive and enhance efficiency, keeping up with the latest technology is a must. The logistics industry is benefiting immensely from the latest technology and will continue to grow as more advances are made. The breakthroughs in technology will continue to push the boundaries for years to come.

 

Written by:
Tim Griffin
Director of Marketing & Media, C.L. Services

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