“Change is the only constant in life”, said Greek philosopher Heraclitus 2,500 years ago, before we had a hectic world of endless supply chain and logistic processes. And he couldn’t be more right. In the last decade, companies worldwide have seen their traditional business models turned upside down, tossed aside and rendered irrelevant by the progress of technology. This progress imposed change to those who wanted to survive. And it will continue to reshape our world, in every single aspect.
How to Survive Change? Adopt New Technologies
There is no crash course for survival in today’s supply chain and logistics world. Merchandize is in demand all over the world and customers want to receive it fast, safely and at reasonable prices. Prices which, of course, include transportation costs…
For manufacturing and distributing companies, the main rule of the game is optimization: of manufacturing costs, of storage and delivery time and fees, of handling speed. The more phases they can eliminate from the journey of their product from the end of the production line to the customer’s doorstep, the greater their chance to run a successful business.
Adopting new technologies, or at least starting to prepare your organization and its operations for them is the only way to stay in the fast paced and demanding supply chain and logistics business. These are the top technologies which we believe are already reshaping our business world:
1. Automated Machines
Warehouse operations involve moving heavy packages, containers and pallets loaded with products from one place to another. From manual labor to driven vehicles was a huge step for speeding up these operations. Now things are moving forward with the introduction of self-driving vehicles which can follow a predetermined route and perform repetitive operations without human intervention.
These vehicles help organize warehouse space by defining clear lanes for their traffic, reduce the need for workforce in handling merchandize and help companies distribute their employees more efficiently and assign them other tasks.
2. The Internet Of Things
This is probably one of the new technologies with the greatest impact in our entire world, not just in the supply chain and logistics business. The internet of things consists of various pieces of equipment which can collect data, communicate with each other, deliver data to a central processing unit and execute orders relayed by remote wireless transmission.
From the simplest form of IoT consisting of RFID labels applied on containers or pallets to monitor merchandize in transit to wearable augmented reality devices which transmit real time data from the warehouse to the central office without any human intervention, this type of new technology is here to help managers make better sense of what is going on in and around their business at any given moment.
3. 3D Printing
While it has not made a significant impact in the supply chain and logistics world yet, 3D printing will certainly leave its mark on this industry as well. Creating customized handling and packaging solutions at the last minute, fixing broken machines and packages with a 3D printed part are not simple rambles of imagination – but an actual possibility in the very near future.
We have already covered the potential impact of drones in the world of logistics in an earlier article. The evolution of the general opinion of logistics and transportation experts on this issue shows that there is a clear drive towards finding a way to develop drones specifically for the supply chain industry.
The best way to end this article is by issuing a reminder: these are presumptions based on what we observe around us in the supply chain and logistics industry. The reality, as always, will be far more exciting.