The Digital Supply Chain. Doing Away With The Paper Trail

Posted by Land Link Traffic Systems on Apr 13, 2021 10:44:34 AM

We have written about the emerging technologies affecting worldwide business and financial transactions for years now. Increasing technology innovations are making big waves across industries. Logistics and the supply chain may be one of the most impacted sectors. Notorious for its heavy use of manual processes and large amounts of data stored in different ways and in different places, the logistics industry has perhaps the most to gain from implementing new technologies and following the most innovative Supply Chain and Logistics technology trends. Enter the digital supply chain.

Technology Trends

Over the past several years, the logistics industry has started to integrate Artificial Intelligence solutions including intelligent transportation, route planning, and demand planning in their operations but this is only just the beginning. From last-mile delivery robots and sustainability solutions, to warehouse automated picking systems and predictive optimization software, AI is already making a huge difference in logistics. Shippers, carriers, suppliers, and consumers can all expect to benefit from these logistics technology trends continuing in 2021 and beyond.

Along with AI, Augmented Intelligence is also expected to spike in use. Augmented intelligence combines human intelligence with AI automated processes. For example, in logistics planning, using Augmented Intelligence can even be superior to using AI alone, since it can combine inputs from human planners (experience, responsibility, customer service, flexibility, common sense, etc.) together with AI technology which is left doing the repetitive and tedious work. According to Gartner, augmented intelligence is on path to create $2.9 trillion of business value and lead to an increase of 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity globally by the end of this year. Logistics companies can be expected to implement more Augmented Intelligence solutions, which ultimately allow logistics professionals to do their job more quickly while reducing mistakes and creating cost savings.

Logistics Managers Need To Know This Stuff

It’s no longer a question of when. The digital supply chain is here.

Logistics professionals from both sides need to become fluent in this new digital language of the transportation industry. The increased visibility, accountability and financial security will dictate the coming industry transformation.

Blockchain Technology

Block chain is perhaps the leading digital technology to transform the logistics industry. It is, in it’s most basic sense, a secure record of a transaction which cannot be tampered with and is visible by all parties to the transaction. The advanced security not only manages the individual shipment but the related financial transaction as well. So, all parties know exactly, in real time, departure time, shipment location and ETA. Equally important is the financial aspects of all shipments are virtually guaranteed.

The Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) represents more than 300 members of the global transportation business community that see blockchain as the foundation to a new kind of freight industry. As a BiTA spokesperson explained, “Over the next five years, we envision the massive adoption of several digital technologies, including blockchain, that will provide for the nearly seamless transportation of goods from origin to destination.”

The Internet of Things (IOT)

I wish they would have come up with a different name for IOT. I find it confusing to understand just from the name. Simply described, IOT refers to all things which can be connected to the internet. The idea is to, through connectivity, have all components of a process communicating with each other. On an assembly line, for example, this communication will alert operators of any anomaly in the production line long before anyone could physically notice it. The intent of all these technologies is to increase productivity by minimizing, and eventually, eliminating human involvement.

Trucks and other vehicles are extensions of the industrial IoT in freight too. Electronic data loggers for trucks help eliminate unnecessary idling, identify more expedient routes and deliver data in close to real-time about vehicle and operator performance. Route optimization software may even incorporate weather and traffic data to provide new suggestions in real-time.

If you children are looking for a career in manufacturing send them instead to get a technology or engineering degree in automated computer systems.

The Green Initiative Is Taking Hold

Ups, Fed Ex and Amazon, to name a few have signed on to carbon free initiatives in the coming decades. One of the biggest freight carriers, Maersk, has signaled that it intends to go carbon-neutral by the year 2050. A pledge made with the knowledge that oceangoing freight represents 90% of global trading, and so has an outsized environmental and climate change impact. Although this initiative affects mostly carriers and private fleets, Logistics managers should be aware of how this may potentially affect operations.

Stay Safe Everyone.

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Michael Gaughan
Technology Officer
Land Link Traffic Systems



Topics: Third Party Logistics, Freight Bill Auditing, Logistics News