The pandemic has slowed down many industries, but interestingly, it has caused a rise in e-commerce. It also resulted in huge growth in the logistics industry. In fact, statistics show that e-commerce logistics were estimated to have been valued at $233.7 billion in 2020. And at the rate it’s expanding, the value is expected to reach $861.4 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 20.5% within the timeframe. Logistics management companies will need to keep up to improve their sales revenue and growth — and they can do this by utilizing innovations that can make their processes better. Below are key trends to watch out for and consider adopting:
Warehousing tasks such as moving pallets and order picking can be repetitive. Fortunately, companies like Omron have been developing robots suitable for the different warehouse processes. For instance, pallet moving typically requires employees to drive forklifts, which are space-consuming vehicles that can also be dangerous to operate since the weight is unevenly distributed. However, pallet moving robots can safely transport heavy loads through narrow corridors thanks to a large payload capacity and great navigation software. It’s worth noting that robots aren’t meant to completely replace humans. Instead, robots are to only be assigned monotonous, labor-intensive tasks, leaving employees free to focus on higher-level tasks such as risk and innovation management.
One of the most important processes in logistics is order picking. It involves making sure that the customer’s correct order is retrieved from the warehouse. However, this task is prone to human error, especially when the number of orders overwhelms a limited number of people on site. Fortunately, smart glasses are a relatively new technology that helps lighten the load. These glasses contain printed circuit boards with rigid-flex designs, which can be shaped to fit any contour of a device without sacrificing function. One example is DHL’s AR-based vision picking program which utilizes Google’s smart glasses — which have an integrated display that overlays important parcel information, scans barcodes, and relays other instructions in real-time.
Cloud technology has boomed since the pandemic began, as it’s a cheaper and more efficient alternative to data infrastructure and other equipment that can manage operations and data. This also allows logistics companies to access more advanced software such as ERP and CRM. And since this software is operated with the help of cloud computing, a company can consolidate and easily track processes. Using cloud technology means it’s also easier to share information among teams inside the company, as well as outside (as is the case of those coordinating with 3PL and 4PL).
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) connects devices into a single ecosystem, allowing for a continuous exchange of information through the internet. This has numerous benefits, such as increasing operational efficiency and better visibility into assets (like the location and condition of cargo) — essentially allowing a company’s many moving parts to operate as a whole in real-time. Some important aspects of the IoT include radio frequency identification and wireless sensor network software and integration. These provide geospatial data that help monitor goods from production to warehouse, and finally the end customer. They also make system management more efficient and methodical.
Some of these trends have been in development for quite a time now, but the pandemic has been pushing their growth as they help improve logistics management. After all, better management means that a company can scale faster.
Written by Aimee Lorainne Coleman
Exclusive for easylogisticsmanagement.com