The future of logistics and transportation
Looking back at the last decade and the changes we are facing, it is imminent that digitalization and mobilization have made huge strides in transforming every part of our society.
Add to that, the impact that the pandemic has had on our society in the last year, and we are faced with a future that is a bit uncertain, but will certainly bring about a transformation in our society; how we work and how we live.
In 10 years, when we get to 2030, and reflect on this decade, what will we be looking at?
Focus on Sustainability
The impact on the planet will be a major consideration when designing new products, new value chains, and new consumption patterns.
We need to change, and we need to do it quickly. Supply chains should and need to be more sustainable, more resource efficient, and more environmentally friendly.
During the last decade when sustainability has been something nice for most companies, the next one must have a more focused and sustainable way of working, both for customers and employees. Sustainability is not just emissions, but also the entire ecosystem that a company directly controls as well as influences.
Sustainability will become more and more part of companies’ goals – the “why” of their existence. This will become a key differentiator in attracting people, customers and investors.
In addition, it must be authentic and truly exude through the DNA of the organization. Supply Chain executives will evolve from “compliance” and “cost of sales” to the epicenter of sustainability.
Companies will compete for being “greener.” This is who they are and what defines everything they do, their “why”.
5G fleets and autonomous vehicles
While the implementation of fifth generation (5G) wireless connectivity may still take some time to roll out across the logistics industry, some of its applications are already being tested in the transportation sector. Autonomous vehicle start-ups are beginning to emerge and are increasingly becoming a popular investment opportunity for the industry.
In fact, it has been revealed that UPS has already been secretly using autonomous vehicles during their deliveries. While they currently use in-house computing capabilities, the large portion of 5G will catalyze the adoption of these autonomous fleets, which will only increase as this year and the next decade progresses.
Every business depends on data to function, and logistics companies handle even more data than most. The huge joining of various employee functions, delivery vehicles, material handling equipment, and facility control systems has always required fast connections with low latency and high uptime. 5G can deliver on that promise. Because of the much lower latency, companies will be able to distribute and exchange much larger amounts of data than ever before. They can process them closer to the source, rather than connecting to remote servers. The potential for collaboration alone to use 5G to keep multiple vendors and partners tuned to the same page, in real time, could change the game.
Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
The use of data in logistics planning and management will continue to be a key driver of innovation in the industry. Logistics and transportation companies are already integrating machine learning algorithms into their systems to improve routes and, to some extent, predict demand in specific markets. Beyond 2021, organizations will continue to increase their use of AI and “Big Data,” which has the capability for advanced geocoding capabilities, route optimization, demand forecasting, warehouse automation and more.
With this, supply chain companies can plan delivery routes and transportation networks efficiently, prepare for problems before they even occur, accelerate operations, and even plan activities for the future.
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