Trends and innovations

  The logistics industry trends are dependent on significant changes that are driven by the implementation of technology-driven innovations in the business processes. The next-generation logistics management solutions are moving towards making the global supply chains more customer-centric and sustainable. Automation in logistics processes brings out a significant increase in productivity and efficiency in the workflow. The improvement of transparency and traceability of the supply chain is vital to maintain a flexible and dynamic relationship between the various stakeholders.

Impact Of Logistics Industry Trends
    The internet of things (IoT) plays a major role in the sector from establishing automated warehouses to tracking couriers and packages. Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled platforms and solutions continuously learn several tedious logistics processes in order to start automating traditionally manual tasks. The easing of regulations around drones, and their usage, is set to boost not only lastmile delivery but also robotic applications for the industry as a whole.

Internet of Things
    The Internet of Things is a connection of physical devices that monitor and transfer data via the internet and without human intervention. IoT in logistics enhances visibility in every step of the supply chain and improves the efficiency of inventory management. Integrating IoT technology into the logistics and supply chain industries improves and enables efficiency, transparency, real-time visibility of goods, condition monitoring, and fleet management.
    Offering an IoT platform for companies to control and manage their fleet. Fuel management solutions to fleet managers by providing fuel consumption and wastage reports. The platform helps monitor the performance of a vehicle and sends critical alerts to the system using sensors and devices embedded in the vehicle. The data is then analyzed along with the historical data in order to predict and plan the maintenance of fleets. Fleetroot also offers route optimization and delivery solutions for the transportation of goods. 

Artificial Intelligence
    AI algorithms combined with machine learning support companies to be proactive in dealing with demand fluctuations. For example, AI-based forecasting solutions allow managers to plan supply chain processes and find ways to reduce operating costs. Self-driving AI and smart road technologies are affecting a positive shift towards delivery service automation. In addition, AI-based cognitive automation technology brings intelligence to automate administrative tasks and speeds up information-intensive operations.
    Developing AI-based Optimisation Software-as-a-Service (OSaaS) that allows companies to improve their logistics processes and reduce costs. Adiona’s FlexpOps API optimises static and dynamic delivery routes by solving vehicle routing and related challenges. In addition, the software supports the decision making of fleets over time by predicting conditions such as demand, weather, and traffic by employing machine learning techniques. The solution also optimises the workforce requirement and automates redeployment.

    Integrating robotics into logistics increases the speed and accuracy of supply chain processes and reduces human error. Robots offer more uptime and increase productivity when compared to human workers. Robots, however, do not take up the jobs of humans but rather work collaboratively alongside them to increase efficiency. Physical robots, such as collaborative robots (“co-bots”) and autonomous mobile robots (AMR), are used to pick and transport goods in warehouses and storage facilities. Moreover, software robots perform repetitive and mundane tasks that free up time for human workers.
    RPA offers automation of low-level repetitive tasks, eliminates human error, and reduces overhead costs. For example, RPA software performs operations including invoice processing, automatic storing of information in audit trails, and automates the input of a purchase order. Actimai, designs, deploys, manages, and optimises RPA solutions by leveraging AI and big data. The platform optimises software robotic processes in order to deliver insights and analytics for process improvement.

Last-Mile Delivery
    The last step of the supply chain, from the warehouse or distribution center to the customer, is often inefficient and also comprises a major portion of the total cost to move goods. Last-mile delivery is the most important part of logistics as it is directly related to customer satisfaction. However, last-mile delivery faces various problems including delays due to traffic congestion, customer nuances, government regulation, and delivery density.
    Delivery of goods by drones resolves the problem of traffic congestion in the last mile. Drones have the capability to reach remote areas, thus reducing the delivery time and cost.  Manna offers drone delivery as a service to restaurant chains with its aviation-grade fleet of delivery drones. Manna’s drones are capable of flying at an altitude of 80 meters with a speed of 80 km/h.

Warehouse Automation
    Warehouse automation increases efficiency, speed, and productivity by reducing human interventions. Pick and place technologies such as automated guided vehicles (AGVs), robotic picking, automated storage and retrieval (ASRS), and put-wall picking reduce error rates and increases warehouse productivity. Warehouses require a combination of efficient automation technologies in order to control their operational logistics costs.
    ASRS assists in the management of product and material storage in automated warehouses and improves floor space utilization and does not require manual labor to operate, thus reducing the overall operational cost and increasing safety. Exotec's automated robot Skypod optimises eCommerce warehouses. The Skypod system optimises storage space by employing vertical storage methods in order to increase the height in warehouses by up to 10 meters.

    Blockchain offers security through an irrefutable decentralised ledger system and addresses pressing traceability and related challenges. This brings transparency of transactions to the entire logistics process. Moreover, smart contracts based on blockchain technology allow for quicker approval and clearance by reducing the processing time at checkpoints.
    ShipChain a logistics platform that leverages blockchain technology to support the end-toend shipping process. The platform allows all stakeholders to track shipment locations at every step of its journey. The platform also updates information regarding the estimated delivery times using encrypted public ledgers. The photocopies of documents are uploaded into the platform after the delivery is complete, thus increasing visibility and transparency of goods in transit.

Big Data & Data Analytics
    Data analytics provide actionable insights for the improvement of warehouse productivity, performance management, and optimal utilization of logistical resources. The data obtained from monitoring position and weather along with fleet schedules help optimise routes and delivery planning. The analysis of market data supports the further optimisation of supplier pricing, inventory levels, and generation of risk management reports. Moreover, advanced analytics provide insights that help identify anomalies and offer predictive maintenance solutions.
    A SaaS platform that provides predictive analytics solutions for the food and beverage industries. FACTIC leverages data mining and AI techniques to analyse the data from internal and external sources to predict future sales. The platform predicts deviation in demand and makes data-driven decisions to automate procurement. The platform also provides tools for optimization of stock by employing auto-replenishment.

Cloud Computing
    Cloud-based SaaS solutions for logistics companies allow for pay-per-use models that require low capital investment. This minimises the risk and cost of maintaining the IT infrastructure. Cloud-based logistics solutions also address communication hurdles and allow companies to collaborate and share data in a secure way. In addition, cloud-integration allows data collection from management systems to analyse overall logistic processes.     Finally, cloud-integrated logistics offers universal accessibility and is not confined to any physical space.
    A cloud-based SaaS Inet transportation management systems for end-to-end transportation needs. The software solution enables communication in real-time between manufacturers and a broad network of logistics providers. The Inet TMS automates logistics processes and consolidates transport demands into a single system. The software solution also provides the tracking of the shipments through a mobile application. The cloud platform allows Alpega to release upgraded software to the customers on a quarterly basis, in contrast to on-premise software that follows a yearly upgrade cycle.

Autonomous Vehicles
    Autonomous vehicles improve vehicle safety and deliver goods safely by eliminating human errors while driving. They increase the efficiency in the first and last-mile delivery as they are designed to work all day and all night. Moreover, autonomous vehicles improve fuel efficiency by using platooning techniques for long haul routes, reduce traffic jams, and optimise travel routes by taking advantage of AI-enhanced technology.
    Spring X1, an autonomous utility vehicle fleet for transporting goods with predictable, intelligent systems. Spring’s autonomous vehicles are equippe with modular trailers designed for multiple applications. These modules are customisable depending on their applications such as mobile lockers, food, and cargo delivery.

Elastic Logistics
    Elastic logistics enables companies to handle supply chain operations with more efficiency during periods of fluctuation in demand. It helps upscale or downscale the supply chain operations, as required, according to the market demand. Elastic logistics thereby tackle the challenges facing supply chain companies including underutilisation of vessels, constraints on warehousing, and overstocking.
    Shorages is a B2B on-demand warehousing marketplace serving small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Shorages helps companies find short-term warehousing requirements from a wide network. On one hand, the platform allows owners to rent out unused space in their warehouses to meet short-term needs. On the other, they offer pay-per-use and on-demand storage and fulfillment services for their customers.