Have Operations Changed For the Better?
In today’s era, technology is the driving force behind almost everything. We use it to keep in touch with our loved ones, run our businesses, and get around. Popular tools, such as Bluetooth, AI, and GPS, are constantly advancing to help streamline everything from communication to travel, which means businesses have to stay on top of these changes to adapt.
For Logistics companies, as well as exporters and importers, this means taking in a lot of new information and adjusting your internal structures. When properly introduced and utilized, many of these new advances in technology can mean great strides for shipping companies and consumers alike!
Technology in Supply Chain Logistics
Over the years, great progress has been accomplished in the type of technology we have readily available to us today. Incredible things like cloud-based services and softwares allow us to remotely access information from anywhere, as long as there is internet access! GPS advancements have provided us with real-time updates of our deliveries so we can track their arrival down to the minute.
In the last 25 years we have seen huge changes to the way importing and exporting is done. Technology has had a huge influence on our tools and the services we provide, and some might say it has completely changed the way we work. Some of the most influential advancements include:
Tracking Software and GPS
GPS (Global Positioning System) is not a particularly new technology, but the application it has today was something unimaginable at the time of its birth. For example, trucks can be outfitted with new tracking devices that allow fleet managers to consistently stay on top of all of their vehicles, no matter where they are located.
Additionally, some GPS technology allows you to set up a geo-fence, which is a remote geographical perimeter that can detect when your fleets are nearing or in the area, and send you or your clients’ notifications to keep them updated.
The GPS along with GIS (Geographic Information System) and GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) has impacted how cargo is moved in a big way. With these tools trucking companies can design more efficient distribution routes, check real-time traffic, and weather, as well as obtain data from the vehicles regarding fuel efficiency, idle time of the vehicle and much more.
Internet of Things (IoT) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
IoT, RFID – acronyms are common in logistics, but these are new terms that you may not be familiar with. The Internet of Things, or IoT, is the driving force behind technology like GPS, Bluetooth, AI, and more. It is an extension of telematics, which is a brand of information technology that is responsible for processes and transmitting information stored in computers and on the cloud. It powers telecommunications, car-tronics, and similar services that are all important factors in the logistics field. Advances in this type of technology are allowing smart machines to order products, request maintenance, and deliver relevant information to business heads without human interference – which can mean streamlined service and fewer mistakes on the line.
Below some of the top applications of the IoT in logistics are:
- Location management systems (as we mentioned before when talking about the GPS, GSM and GIS technologies)
- Inventory Tracking and Warehousing
The simple placement of small inexpensive sensors allows companies to easily track inventory items, know their level status, check their position, therefor creating a smart warehouse. In addition, this application helps preventing losses and enhances the efficiency by locating items fast.
- Drone deliveries (read below)
- IoT and blockchain for supply chain management
Tracking products in general from origin to the delivery in the hands of the customer is very important, but it is crucial for some products, such as produce, perishable products, certain chemicals, etc. Here is where RFID comes in handy.
RFID stands for radio frequency identification. This technology along with sensors will allow you to monitor things such as product temperature, humidity at different stages of the transportation process.
- Self Driving Vehicles (read below)
It might sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but auto-driving trucks and drone-delivered parcels are well on their way to becoming a reality. With companies like Google and Tesla unveiling self-driving cars, the technology is quickly extending into the way shipping companies handle logistics.
With cars and trucks that operate themselves, the potential for covering more ground is increased, helping deliveries arrive faster and more efficiently. Drones delivering packages, on the other hand, is still a few years from being ready to debut, but companies like Amazon are working diligently to sort out the logistics to cut down shipping times and potentially save on fuel and vehicle maintenance costs.
What Does This Mean For the Future of Logistics?
Just like in other aspects of our lives, technology has the capability of providing users with a level of convenience, ease, and accessibility that helps promote efficiency. Just like smartphones and portable devices, advancements in shipping technology can help companies stay connected with their trucks. It can also promote better vehicle efficiency and route planning when you can receive real updates regarding potential delays, and clear notifications from your machines when it is time to replace or repair a part.
Robotics, artificial intelligence, and similar tools are all making their way into the supply chain, aiding in inventory management, overseeing operations, and streamlining customer service. It helps provide greater transparency between exporter, importers, and consumers.
Promptus Stays Ahead of the Curb
Staying on top of advancements in the fields of information technology and supply chain logistics is an important part of our freight forwarding responsibilities at Promptus LLC. Our team of experts has over 15 years of experience in the field, and we believe that you can never stop learning.
We strive to stay educated on new technology by attending seminars, training sessions, and informative classes as well as integrating new tools and services. Contact us today to get a free quote for our services.