The logistics industry specializes in the safe and timely delivery of goods. Without a supply chain, the entire world would quite likely grind to a halt. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the logistics industry is moving ahead in leaps and bounds. Take a look at some of the most exciting developments to come along in recent years.

Author: Benjamin Lee

  1. Instantaneous order fulfilment

Sites like Amazon.com and E-Bay have changed the way we shop. Rather than visiting an actual physical store, you can shop for products in the comfort of your own home with e-commerce.

However, most orders are still fulfilled the traditional way i.e. transport by land, sea or air. With so many links along the supply chain, it can take days or even weeks for an order to be sent and delivered.

However, all this is set to change, thanks to developments in UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) development. Equipped with the latest navigational technology, Amazon’s delivery drones are able to autonomously deliver packages right to your home.

The mobility offered by these drones enables packages to be delivered in under 30 minutes, imagine placing an order online only to have it arrive within the hour. Of course, this technology needs to be perfected, because you don’t want your packages to be tossed to your lawn, like a NFL football thrown randomly.

While this is still under development due to these necessary tweaks, it is a major game-changer for the logistics industry. Not only does drone delivery speed up order fulfillment, but it also reduces congestion and carbon emissions. What was once a sci-fi fantasy is set to be our new reality.

  1. Automated warehousing

It can be said that order picking is the weakest link in any organization’s supply chain. This business function is laborious and time-consuming but is still absolutely critical. During the order fulfilment phase, order pickers retrieve and pack products ordered by the customer.

Every step of the way requires human intervention, consequently, this leaves room for mistakes to be made i.e. picking & packing the wrong product.

Also, the manual nature of the job raises the risk of goods becoming damaged or lost due to multiple handlings.

However, the future is changing with automated warehouse picking technology. With robot pickers assisting their human counterparts by retrieving goods stored in the warehouse, both the order time and percentage of mistakes made are set to drop dramatically.

  1. Autonomous Trucks

From groceries to dangerous chemicals, trucks transport a variety of products around the world. In the United States alone, nearly 70% of freight is sent by truck.

However, trucking is a demanding career all on its own with long hours on the road and high levels of stress. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the trucking industry has an astronomical turnover rate.

In an attempt to manage these issues, researchers and trucking companies have turned to automation technology for a solution. While we may be a long way off from self-driving trucks, automation technology is set to revolutionize the industry.

For example, newer trucks have been fitted with automated features such as adaptive cruise control. Adaptive cruise control tracks real-time conditions and adjusts the truck’s speed and braking automatically, thus reducing driver fatigue. This also improves fuel efficiency and cuts down on component wear and tear.

Another exciting development is known as Platooning. Platooning links two or more trucks together via a short-range wireless connection. Through this connection, the acceleration and braking of the non-leader trucks are synchronized with that of the leader.

This enables trucks to be driven closer together, which allows for better aerodynamics and thus better fuel efficiency. As both acceleration and braking are entirely automated, this has the benefit of helping to reduce driver fatigue. Automation technology is set to revolutionize the entire logistics industry.

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