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THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: A glimpse of what’s next for tech-powered logistics

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First came the IT revolution that changed the way businesses operated. Then came the smartphones, and brought all businesses to the palm of your hands. Then social media gave voice to businesses, and made them accessible. E-commerce arrived and forever revolutionized the way sales were done.

With each step, technology evolved and took a new form, and so did the businesses around it. For technology has trickled its way down the market, and has become an integral part of all business verticals. Including logistics.

For indeed, logistics is the next link in the chain that can reap the benefits of an evolving technology. It’s already in the middle of its own ‘big bang’ – a rapid expansion owing to the increased emphasis on the manufacturing industries. Being a labour-intensive industry naturally creates a big opportunity for tech-driven processes to step in and help remove the hassles associated with excessive manpower.

The following are some technology-powered solutions that can summarize the entire ‘first mile’ to ‘last mile’ processes in logistics operations. They help firms make maximum utilization of assets and control wastage of resources. Let’s take a look:

IoT-Internet of Things
A process started to combat the challenges of a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) market has branched into a new revolutionary technology. Using the power of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), information is distributed across various stages of the supply chain, all in real time.
Things like inventory management, reduction in theft, loss of stock in transit and a lot of warehouse activities can be monitored with IoT. The future of logistics starts here!

Cloud Technology
Every business is piggy-backing on cloud technology, and so can logistics too. How? Fleet management systems can be deployed on the cloud, making fleet capacity available to small & large businesses through a pay-per-use model. Cloud storage will also cut down costs incurred in the installation and maintenance of warehouse management systems.

Analytics
The thing about numbers is that they never lie! Market trends and consumer insights can be tapped by the uncovering of hidden patterns in the humongous data available. Analytics incorporated into supply chain management systems can dynamically create supply chain for incoming orders, improve demand forecasting and predict upcoming trends.

EDI
Sometimes the differences between the processes of two businesses can offset the entire supply chain. That’s where EDI steps in. Electronic Data Interchange technology allows sharing of information in a structured format between two computer systems. This ensures transparency and visibility for seamless logistics operations. JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) can also be combined with the existing EDI communication to facilitate real-time data transmission.
Drones
Drones are leading the automation drive in businesses. The use of 800-gram drones can replace processes which require long man hours and heavy machines. For example, these can be used for barcode scanning in inventory management replacing the use of heavy forklift machinery and labour using handheld scanners. By replacing traditional heavy machinery, drones contribute to effective area management in the warehouses.

To survive in the competitive economy of the 21st century, businesses don’t just have to stay with the times, they must stay one step ahead of them. They should be ever ready to embrace the evolving technology space. For the road to success is paved with innovation, and those who are willing to follow it will lead the market. However, effective and smooth implementation of such tech-driven innovations is a nuance all supply chain professionals need to keep an eye out for. A smarter logistics solutions partner for intra-city trucking demands like Instavans can help out in several technology-oriented aspects and may just be the push towards the new age that your traditional business is looking for.

References:
DreamOrbit
Industry Week
Cerasis

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