Technology is here to make things easier. It provides a massive competitive advantage for companies and businesses that highly invest in it.
Logistics technologies are changing the game, it impact positivly on the productivity of warehousing and distribution companies. Here’s how it does that.
GPS and Sensors Freight Tracking
Product distributors & Freight carriers are only aware of risks which might happen to goods while they’re in transit. The good thing is, GPS and other technologies will continue to evolve and provide valueable functionsto help cover the bases.
Just some of the sectors of risk for freight in transit include:
- Impacts and vibrations.
- Thefts and political unrest.
- Failure of refrigeration systems for perishable goods.
- Errors during changes in custody.
- Exposure to moisture or other elements.
- Unexpected delays due to roadway incidents and weather.
GPS has been here for a long time. Trucking, freight, warehousing, and distribution businesses have long relied on it. this functionality for basic route planning and to calculate distance and times of arrival. Today, GPS provides many additional features — including making real-time and automatic route adjustments in the event of sudden changes in the weather or unusual traffic conditions.
Sensors are wide spreaded now than ever and provide useful features of their own. Sensors in product packaging or case packs now trigger alerts when they detect undesirable conditions, such as an impact that may have damaged the product.
Sensors connected to Internet of Things deployments (IOT) can also alert decision-makers right away if heat or moisture has come into contact with a product. Alternatively, these systems can help speed up inspections or indicate when additional inspections may be needed.
Ride apps like Uber are under pressure in SAudi Arabia and elsewhere to raise the standard of living for their employees. One thing nobody argues about is the effectiveness of their business model, however. These aren’t taxi businesses — they’re technology portals that connect people with cars to people who need rides.
Freight-sharing apps take a page from the Uber playbook. They offer a convenient and inexpensive way for distributors & manufacturers to find trucks and partial loads nearby. Previously, these companies had to do business with freight brokers or absorb the cost of sending out priority freight as LTL freight shipments.
Some of the companies in this have become bigger now, Their platforms make use of GPS and online portals to efficiently match the distributors with freight carriers without the need to negotiate prices or engage in long exchanges over phone or fax.
The human factor has always been the productivity and accuracy bottleneck in warehouses. Some estimates place the financial cost of fulfillment errors at between $30 and $60 apiece. Depending on the product, the losses could be much higher sometimes.
Human order pickers are one source of error and a key area where autonomous robots are pulling more than their weight. Receiving freight and stowing it appropriately are two other skill areas slowly moving toward industrywide automation.
Incoming packages and cartons may contain RFID tags or bar codes that can be scanned immediately by stationary scanners and then sorted and diverted to the right location by robotic arms or automatic conveyors.
Warehouse automation is a powerful ally in warehousing and distribution safety campaigns as well. Robotic pallet trucks (also called automatic guided vehicles or AGVs) can move bulk or palletized goods through high-traffic areas efficiently and safely thanks to improved navigation and spatial awareness.
Autonomous passenger vehicles gained a lot of attention and anticipation in the recent years, automotive warehousing and distribution companies are moving full steam to autonomous trucks. Governments throughout the world and the United States, have already started to test these vehicles on some public roads.
Daimler (parent company of Mercedes-Benz), Uber (after acquiring Otto Motors), Waymo, Volvo, Tesla, TuSimple, and several other companies all have “horses” in this race.
Why? a fleet of driverless trucks would be able to distribute a considerable amount of products with far less employees at the wheel. And a smaller team of dispatchers and engineers would be able to oversee even large and complex warehousing and distribution territories.
Analysts made an estimate that autonomous trucks could deliver gross annual savings of $300 billion in the U.S. The savings come from discarding some jobs, saving fuel, eliminating idling and improving logistics automation and intelligence. Of course, other jobs and expenses will replace the old discarded jobs in the process, including maintenance and troubleshooting on the autonomous systems.
Artificial Intelligence and Other Advanced Tech for Warehousing and Distribution
If the recent movements of technological advancement is any indication, the future will see even more impressive breakthroughs in logistics warehousing and distribution technology.
Artificial intelligence will further streamline stowing and picking operations by choosing optimal warehouse locations and routes. It’s also a powerful ally in what is perhaps the last frontier in logistics tech: anticipatory shipping. Amazon and other companies dream of a day when products are already en route to consumers by the time they click “buy.”
In the meantime, companies in this field already have lots of opportunities in front of them. Companies that drag their feet when it comes to logistics technology may quickly find themselves unable to compete with their leaner and more advanced rivals.