The underrated backbone of the entire business industry is the logistics industry. Ever since the dawn of man, various modes of transporting goods, albeit simplistic compared to what we have now, have been thought of just to solve logistical problems. Transporting goods from one place to another has been the perennial problem of businesses. Supply chains from another business to the customer depend on logistical solutions to get the job done. Without logistics providers, you wouldn’t even get to taste coffee beans from Columbia or milk from New Zealand. The entire capitalist structure of the world is entirely dependent on logistics.
Our entire way of life and how we move products has shifted because of COVID-19. While the service industry has now shifted to the digital realm, most businesses have retained traditional business methods. Obviously, you can’t transport physical goods through the internet.
Most still have to be shipped via plane, trucks, rail, or boats. Almost 63.1 million metric tons of goods are expected to be transported via plane in 2021. Most are still dependent on road transports, such as rail and trucks. International shipping through huge ships is still taking a lion’s share of the goods. Admittedly, until we become a fully advanced civilization, logistics will not advance any further from these methods.
We can only improve roads, ships, and planes through the years. However, this will only enhance the lower limits of logistics. It's impossible to transport goods instantaneously until we find groundbreaking technology that would allow it. Hence, we can only poke some holes in some parts of the process and improve on them.
What, then, are the recent trends and improvements in the logistics industry?
The logistics industry has provided us with the prosperity that would be the envy of past civilizations. What does the logistics industry have in store for us for the future?
More efficient software is being coded every year to improve and speed up various processes along the supply line. For example, new software updates are added to various sorting programs for shipping companies every year to classify different products for shipping properly. GPS app for businesses are also widely available and utilized by travel applications and software to ensure that shipping lines and truck routes are planned ahead of time in order to maximize a company's time and resources.
Returns software programs are becoming more efficient in the refunds and integration back to the main inventory. Supply chain management software is becoming much more detailed, especially regarding whom and when certain items are passed, received, or delivered. Warehouse management systems are also optimized properly, depending on the preferred method of accounting.
Whether it is first-in, first-out, or last-in, first-out, the series of commands within a certain company is much more organized. Thanks to hardworking software developers, we are approaching the fastest, most efficient, and most economical series of software commercially available.
Logistics robots have already automated many parts and processes within the supply chain in the logistics industry. You cannot properly say that you are a modern logistics company if you do not have a touch of robotics in your processes. Storing and moving have never been easier. While logistics was a nightmare to deal with before, robotics has standardized the way items move through the entire chain.
Amazon is famous for automating a huge part of logistics — especially in sorting items. It is even taking business-to-customer delivery to the next level by automating delivery robots during the pandemic. A fleet of totally automatic, GPS-enabled robots is delivering items to Amazon customers automatically. These are even equipped with face recognition technology to reduce the number of delivery errors and theft. Meanwhile, DHL is using scanning robots to sort and organize delivery items within their warehouses rapidly. Robotics has changed the way logistics companies have done business. The barrier to entry in business in logistics has upped and increased to new heights.
Blockchain technology has made internal logistics within companies even more secure. Blockchain technology has increased the security in logistics transfers by enabling a decentralized public ledger system. Electronic contracts are making some of these logistics companies reduce the need for more middlemen. Bills of lading and other traditional contracts are scrapped entirely for blockchain technology.
The shipping industry is highly populated by middlemen trying to make a living out of the processes. Blockchain enables the transaction to be encrypted and more secure against theft and alteration. It also allows the owner to secure the physical goods by not allowing the transporter to have an excessive look inside the trailer. Blockchain safeguards transfers of data from traditional hacking or illegal interception. While it is not yet mature and is not used by most logistics programs, it is ripe for the taking for those who will courageously venture forth.
These innovative logistics solutions have allowed numerous businesses to make great leaps in their processes. With the rise of new software, robotics, and blockchain technology, the way we exchange goods, services, and even information will surely allow industries to continue growing.