Innovation in Logistics
Gone are the days when Logistics was a mere secondary consideration in the minds of large corporations. It is now an integral part of the supply chain and distribution system. Let's look into the significant innovations in the logistics industry.
Think back 20 years ago. Did you ever imagine that you'd be doing most of your shopping online? Or that you could order anything from glasses to furniture and have it delivered to your door in a matter of days?
With the growth of the e-commerce industry, more money and time is being invested in logistics research and development.
The latest logistic innovations, from self-driving carrier trucks to fulfillment robotics, are making it easier for online retailers to expand their business globally and meet customers' expectations for fast and affordable delivery.
Here's a rundown of the most recent digital transformations in Logistics that are sure to make a big splash in the industry.
Innovations in Logistics
Logistics innovation encompasses a wide range of concepts. New inventions, technologies, processes, and even roads! Over the years, there have been numerous innovative milestones, each of which has made the world more connected, everything from the development and implementation of new systems such as JIT shipping to the invention of reefer trailers.
"The global e-commerce logistics market was valued at over 368 billion euros in 2020. The eCommerce logistics market will grow to 557 billion euros by 2025, owing to increased online sales." - according to Statista.
There are always innovative ways of improving the supply chain's efficiency and effectiveness. Because of its impact on all businesses, there has always been a focus on logistics innovation. In some way, all goods are dependent on the supply chain. Furthermore, logistics and shipping are frequently the bottlenecks in the entire operation. So, when an innovation improves logistics, it also enhances a slew of other processes.
Top 5 Logistics Industry Trends 2022
As one of the most resistant to change industries, logistics has a lot of catching up to do. The top five most promising technologies driving logistics innovation are IoT, AI, warehouse automation, Blockchain, and cloud computing.
Internet of Things
It's a network of physical devices that monitor and transmit data over the internet without human intervention. IoT in logistics increases visibility at every step of the supply chain, which improves inventory management efficiency.
Integration of IoT technology into the logistics and supply chain boosts efficiency, transparency, real-time visibility of inventory, condition monitoring, and fleet management.
Companies can be proactive in dealing with demand fluctuations thanks to AI algorithms combined with machine learning.
For example, managers can use AI-based forecasting solutions to plan supply chain processes and find ways to cut operating costs.
Self-driving AI and innovative road technologies positively shift towards delivery service automation. Additionally, AI-based cognitive automation technology enhances administrative tasks and speeds up data-intensive operations.
Even though Blockchain is one of the most overhyped technologies, its practical application in the logistics industry can be highly beneficial. The Blockchain platform, if properly designed, can be used as a transaction ledger.
This system would allow different carriers to share sensitive data without fear of being leaked or corrupted in a company that uses several vendors or 3P services. Companies must, however, digitize, standardize, and clean their data to achieve this.
Pay-per-use models with low capital investment are possible with cloud-based SaaS solutions for logistics companies. This lowers the risk and cost of maintaining IT infrastructure. Cloud-based logistics solutions also address communication challenges by enabling businesses to collaborate and securely share data.
Furthermore, cloud integration enables the data collection from management systems to analyze overall logistic processes. Finally, cloud-integrated logistics provides universal access and is not limited by physical space.
By reducing human intervention, warehouse automation improves efficiency, speed, and productivity. Pick and place technologies like Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), robotic picking, Automated Storage and Retrieval (ASRS), and put wall picking reduce errors and boost warehouse productivity.
To control operational logistics costs, warehouses require a combination of efficient automation technologies.
Top 5 Startups Leveraging Technological Innovations in Logistics
"This fast-paced, new world of logistics change is occurring because of businesses and consumers demanding better (faster) service at a lower cost-to-serve. Now, more than ever before, technology and innovation are here to make it happen." - said Daniel Gagnon, Vice President of Marketing, Global Logistics, and Distribution.
The top 5 logistics companies that are leveraging technological innovations in the industry are listed below.
Ambrosus – Real-Time Supply Chain Visibility
Ambrosus, a Belizean startup, is developing a Blockchain-based end-to-end IoT network for the food and pharmaceutical supply chains. The network provides tools for analyzing data transferred between sensors, distributed ledgers, and databases for supply chain optimization.
Using blockchain technology, the platform provides accurate tracking of shipments throughout the supply chain, ensuring product quality and authenticity.
Adiona – Process Optimization
Adiona, an Australian startup, creates AI-based Optimization Software-as-a-Service (OSaaS) that enables businesses to improve their logistics processes while lowering costs. The FlexpOps API from Adiona optimizes static and dynamic delivery routes by addressing vehicle routing and related issues.
Furthermore, the software aids fleet decision-making over time by predicting demand, weather, and traffic conditions using machine learning techniques. Additionally, the solution optimizes workforce requirements and automates redeployment.
Steamchain – Smart Contracts
Steamchain, a startup based in the United States, provides a blockchain platform that simplifies payment processes through its World Trade Logistics (WTL) smart contract system.
WTL smart contracts facilitate B2B payments while also preventing fraud by maintaining an immutable record of all transactions. WTL smart contracts help to reduce currency fluctuation costs while also eliminating currency conversion costs.
Linker – Cloud Platform
Linker, a Polish startup, develops a B2B cloud fulfillment platform that offers logistics services to eCommerce companies and third-party logistics (3PL) providers.
The platform provides tools to improve product labeling and delivery services, as well as to digitize shipping. Linker offers fulfillment tools for warehouses and delivery facilities. This platform solution also works on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Exotec – Automated Storage and Retrieval System
ASRS aids in the management of product and material storage in automated warehouses, which increase floor space utilization and do not require manual labor to operate, lowering overall operational costs and improving safety.
Exotec, a French startup, created the automated robot Skypod to optimize eCommerce warehouses. The Skypod system optimizes storage space by utilizing vertical storage methods to increase warehouse height by 10 meters.
Importance of Innovation for Logistics Companies
So, we've gone over some examples of logistics innovation; the big question now is, "why?"
There are three main reasons logistics companies must focus on innovation every day. You may have additional reasons why innovation is essential to you and your business, but these are universal.
A unique process or new technology can help you stand out from the crowd and attract new customers. It can also be used in marketing and advertising, spreading your name further.
It would be best if you also used innovation to exemplify further the distinct values you already provide. So, if you are known as the 3PL that offers the best service, you should be looking for ways to innovate.
Introduce New Processes
A lot of logistics innovation is focused on process and operational improvements. The best innovations will improve the efficiency of your operations and make your team happier. In the end, your team is responsible for carrying out the actual processes.
Don't Want to be Left Behind
They say that if you aren't growing, you will die. So, if you are not innovating in logistics, you will quickly fall behind in your offerings.
Your competitors are out there looking for better offerings, and if you don't start innovating, you'll be worthless compared to the rest of the market. So, start looking for new and innovative ideas right away!
It's critical to stay updated on the latest logistic innovations, whether you're a new online business owner or a logistics expert. Today's quick and low-cost delivery demands are spurring more research and development in logistics and automation.
These technological advancements will assist the industry in overcoming some tough challenges while also bringing much-needed efficiency and the highest level of customer satisfaction. Overall, we will see a more robust and well-connected logistical service.