1. Inventory and network optimization tools
From trip planning to inventory optimization; the software supports all kinds of processes in the logistics chain. In addition to faster and easier administration of data, the software is increasingly helping to automate processes. For example, the sending and delivery of goods are increasingly coordinated by linking various data and using self-learning systems.
2. Predictive analytics
Devices are increasingly recording valuable information for data analysis. The focus is not on the analysis afterward but in the future. In the transport world, too, companies are increasingly making predictions based on large amounts of data. For example, the trip planning can be adjusted to traffic congestion and weather using these so-called predictive analytics.
3. Sensors and automatic identification
Sensors provide real-time insight into inventory levels and goods flows. For example, the sensors can indicate in time when a certain product needs to be replenished, so that companies can better anticipate demand. But with sensors, you can also control your staffing more effectively, for example.
4. Cloud computing and storage
More and more inventory management systems are available as web services. This gives all authorized users access to the digitized files. Of course, they can access the necessary information from any device and – where necessary – also share it more easily. Moreover, everyone always has access to the most up-to-date information via the internet.
5. Robots and automation
Robots are getting cheaper, faster, and smarter. They can do more than just repeating one task. The use of robots in order picking and packing and sorting of different items should reduce margins of error and reduce personnel costs.
6. Portable and mobile technology
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are increasingly used in the transport and logistics sector. Not only do employees therefore always have access to the most up-to-date documents (see heading cloud), they can also register the freight with integrated scanners, for example.
In order to pick, companies experiment with portable devices such as smart glasses and smartwatches. The order picker does not receive his next order via his headset, but the smart glass shows this information in the field of vision of the employee. And with a smartwatch, the head office can use GPS to see which employee is closest to a certain address and thus determine who can deliver the fastest.
In addition to order picking, these mobile devices will also increasingly be used for other processes. Think of repairing products, handling returns, or checking incoming goods.
7. 3D printing
The rise of printing products with 3D printers can have a major impact on the transport sector. Goods, new parts, and other products can then be printed from home. This means that in the long run, far fewer goods need to be transported.
8. Unmanned vehicles and drones
Unmanned vehicles, also known as AGVs (automated guided vehicles), are already used in warehouses and distribution centers. What is new is that these unmanned vehicles will soon also be driving on public roads.
Whether that adoption will proceed quickly and has an impact on the sector is partly determined by laws and regulations. That still stands in the way of large-scale adoption. The question of who is responsible for unmanned vehicles, in particular, is a complex legal issue.
Drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) are sparsely used in logistics and transport. There are numerous pilot projects. However, laws and regulations have so far kept the airspace free from parcel delivery unmanned aircraft. Nevertheless, parties such as Amazon and DHL are busy optimizing drones in the logistics process.