Technologies That Will Transform Logistics by 2030
New technologies and innovation are constantly transforming the world of logistics and the global supply chain. Here are some trends that will help improve efficiency and customer experience.
Experts predict that 3D printing will contribute to decentralized production, with print centres opening in markets worldwide. This means that commodities can be printed at the customer request instead of being moved over long distances. Replacement parts will no longer need to be shipped and kept in warehouses. Instead virtual warehouses will print parts based on data models.
AI is expected to transform the shipping sector and to boost productivity by 20 percent. New technologies are constantly developed and implemented, including human-machine interface, truck platooning, and predictive maintenance. Human-machine interface solutions include software and hardware that enable communication between the driver and the vehicle and improve safety and situation awareness. Truck platooning is used for convoys and involves automated support systems and connectivity technologies. The main benefits are improved efficiency and safety and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. New regulations are already being implemented at the EU level. The goal is to offer incentives to freight forwarders that adopt platooning technologies. These include flexible driving times, carbon dioxide bonuses, and tax and toll incentives. Regulatory changes are already under discussion with regard to multi-brand data standardization and light, steering, and brake signal transmission.
Artificial intelligence can help with route optimization and improve efficiency by accounting for staff, vehicle, and traffic data and environmental factors. This will result in reduced CO2 emissions, improved fuel efficiency, and lower last mile costs.
Internet of Things
IoT helps managers to monitor the flow of raw materials, inventory, energy consumption and efficiency, conditions, and performance of machinery. IoT technologies help improve operational safety, monitoring, supply chain planning, and theft detection. Among the many benefits are employee safety monitoring, lower shipping costs, and reliable and efficient truck tracking. New tools help managers to monitor conditions during deliveries, indoor temperature in warehouses, and the number of items at any given time.
The use of drones for last mile, urban, and rural delivery can help reduce traffic jams in cities and improve connectivity for regions with limited access and poor infrastructure. In the near future, unmanned aerial vehicles or drones are expected to account for about 80 percent of deliveries, thus reducing shipping costs by half for last mile deliveries. Unmanned aircraft offers a number of benefits such as efficient commercial services, security, and environmental protection. The 2015 EU Aviation Strategy has been developed to account for issues such as insurance and liability, safety, and data protection and privacy.
Experts also expect that in the future, drones will be used to search for missing employees, identify high-risk locations, and track assets.
Barriers to the Adoption of New Technologies
The Digital Supply Chain Information Survey reveals that the main barriers to the adoption of new technologies are lack of tech skills, company culture, budget limitations, and legacy infrastructure. Over 60 percent of logistics operators are expected to work together with technology and other external providers when offering services.