Transportation and logistics refer to the various processes used to move a company’s inventory through the supply chain as efficiently as possible. Whether via truck, boat or air the primary goal is to ensure that the movement of goods reaches their intended destination safely and on schedule.
The distribution of goods locally and abroad is a significant indicator of economic development. By 2027, the Australian market for the transportation and logistics industry is projected to reach USD$114 billion in value. With the government’s planned investment in infrastructure, the market is projected to increase in the coming years.
The tech in transport and logistics will play an even more critical role in the next few years.
What is the transportation industry?
The transport and logistics industry is an important industrial sector in our economy that deals with the movement of people and products. These include airlines, trucking companies, trains, shipping companies and logistics which provide an infrastructure.
According to the Australian Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics 2022, road freight has increased eight-fold from around 26 billion tonne kilometres in 1970-71 to 223 billion tonne kilometers in 2019-20.
Overall the freight volumes are projected to grow by approximately 26% between 2020 and 2050.
The key to the success of the transport industry is offering the most cost effective, flexible and efficient service and that is why shipping companies should turn towards the most recent transport trends and follow strategies that will help them future proof and out perform their competitors.
Top technological trends in the transport and logistics industry
The industry faces challenges from disruptive events, global sourcing and increasing client expectations. Fortunately, if the trends are any indication, the technology in logistics and transportation has much to offer, which could help businesses’ supply chain management.
Below are some of the top trends in the transport and logistics industry:
1. Cloud-Based Systems Adoption
One of the largest trends in the transport and logistics industry is the adoption of cloud based platforms. This provides businesses with unlimited opportunities to scale and innovate using digital resources and reach higher profitability. Companies can achieve cost savings across all business functions, including sales and marketing, finance, legal and more.
2. Integrated and Smooth Travel
The necessity to make travel more efficient has been a key trend of the transportation industry. Aimed at minimising stoppages or checkpoints, optimising infrastructure, creation of mobility hubs for multimodal transportation, building platforms for ticketless travel and introduction of the innovations in micromobility and last-mile connections.
Case Study: a reliable IT infrastructure empowered Melbourne freight company to go national
Secon realized in time that they had outgrown their IT infrastructure. The decision-makers in the company knew they needed a reliable platform that will help them grow the business nationally.
Blockchain is the ability to document and encrypt vast amounts of valuable data, track goods as they go through the delivery process and audits are also easier due to this transparency.
Same-day delivery has also become a part of customers’ increased expectations. Blockchain technology’s chronological order of storing data makes the delivery process more straightforward.
Moreover, tons of costly physical paperwork are eliminated, resulting in increased efficiency and transparency. Blockchain’s decentralized nature makes it possible to distribute critical information among the parties involved in the supply chain.
Minutiae involved in supply chain management, like contract verification, payments, etc., can be automated via smart contracts on the blockchain. It can facilitate faster acceptance and clearance of deliveries by reducing processing time at checkpoints.
Another one of the logistics technology trends is in robotics, which, for some companies, has been a game changer. Robotics increase speed and accuracy in logistic operations, eliminating human errors, especially in repetitive tasks. Consequently, the entire operation experience safer and more secure product deliveries.
Robotics are staples of many warehouses, ranging from Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR), rack or shelf-climbing robots, and collaborative robots (cobots). These robots significantly increase warehouse safety, productivity and efficiency.
Instead of replacing humans, these robots augment human skills, such as assisting in locating and picking inventories. Besides helping humans, robotics also monitors inventory levels, packs boxes, move heavy objects and does other logistic tasks.
5. Data analytics
Another top tech trend in transportation and logistics is data analytics. This tool of Big Data contributes significantly due to the amount of data the industry generates. The collected data can be used to overcome traditional challenges, such as performance management, efficiency and real-time data visibility.
The law of supply and demand can be dynamic—it constantly changes, and keeping track can be challenging. Data analytics, with its ability to glean insights from a large amount of data, can help companies navigate these challenges and improve their supply chain efficiency.
Insights from data analytics help streamline operations. These insights can also help businesses develop short and long-term contingency plans and dedicated tracking methods to assist their partners in reviewing real-time changes in the supply chain process.
Tracking location data connected with the data from weather and fleet schedules can provide crucial help in route and delivery preparation.
6. Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
AI and ML have become essential staples for many industries. In transport and logistics, their processing power and cognitive automation give the industry a big boost in terms of operation functionality and efficiency.
AI solutions can pinpoint the steps in the supply chain that can be improved to maximise profits. AI can also assist in managing carrier contracts and negotiating or finding advantageous rates in shipping and procurements. Conversion costs can also be reduced and workforce productivity is increased as a result of AI adoption.
7. Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT refers to the devices that can gather data and pass it to the internet without human supervision. These devices make it possible for the transport and logistics industry to track transport vehicles and monitor deliveries.
IoT’s integration significantly improved the industry’s overall efficiency, fleet management and real-time inventory visibility. IoT also revolutionised some elements of the industry, elevating their roles to become crucial mainstays of an interconnected ecosystem. These elements are:
- Location tracking
- Supply chain monitoring
- Communication system
- Cyber security
IoT devices made it possible to track goods in transit and delivery schedules accurately.
Recent worldwide events presented challenges to the transport and logistics industry. Some of these challenges are an increase in customer expectations and the growth of infrastructure investment.
With the increase in expenses of transportation, companies need to be vigilant in exploring new strategies to improve their efficiency and mobility. For the same purpose, they should go with the tides of modern transport industry technology trends, look ahead, and be ready to invest in equipping their fleet with smart devices and deploying modern technologies that facilitate deliveries.
Fortunately, the trends in technology for the transportation and logistics industry indicate that supply chain management can keep up with all the coming changes. Tech trends like AI, IoT, blockchain, robotics and data analytics can assist the industry in keeping abreast of market dynamics.