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9 Disruptive Technologies Pushing Logistics into Adoption Era in 2024

“Machines (or 'Back to Humans'),” a track from Queen’s 1984 album The Works, encapsulates a vision of a world where machines are everywhere. Four decades later, the vision resonates more deeply than ever as technology impacts every aspect of our lives. The song’s final chorus questions our adaptability to this reality with its haunting refrain:

"Living in a new world. Thinking in the past.

Living in a new world. How you gonna last?

Machine world. It's a machine's world..."

The lyrics, "Living in a new world. How you gonna last?" echo in my mind, underscoring a crucial realization: for businesses today, technology adoption is not a nice-to-have or a fad, but a matter of survival.

9 disruptive technologies creating new opportunities in logistics

The logistics industry stands at a crossroads of both challenges and opportunities, particularly with the continuous growth of freight volume. Data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reveals a significant uptick in activity. In 2017, shipments weighed in at 19,786 million tons valued at $18,907 billion USD. By 2023, these figures had increased to 20,302 million tons valued at $20,328 billion USD in 2023. A World Bank study has identified 9 disruptive technologies, over which we'll provide some examples of their applications:

  1. Big Data & Analytics: Central to driving efficiencies, this encompasses technologies and mathematical methodologies for the storying, analysis, and cross-referencing of data. UPS exemplifies its application, utilizing diverse data sources (GPS tracking, weather data, traffic patterns) to optimize delivery routes dynamically, enhancing daily operational planning and territory coverage.
  2. Cloud Computing: This technology facilitates scalable, on-demand access to computing resources and data storage over the internet, often as a service. It's quickly becoming indispensable in logistics for centralizing data repositories and enabling real-time visibility. A notable case is Softtek’s collaboration with a major European airline, showcasing how cloud migration supports multi-region and multi-account scalability and greater operational availability.
  3. Drones/UAS (unmanned aerial systems): Revolutionizing last-mile delivery, companies like Amazon are pioneering drone delivery services to boost speed and efficiency, marking a leap toward futuristic logistics solutions.
  4. Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI and machine learning technologies are at the forefront of simulating human intelligence in machines, continuously improving from accumulated data. As reported by the economist, McKinsey estimates that the application of AI in supply chains and manufacturing firms could generate an economic value of $1.3 to $2 trillion per year, representing the most significant economic impact among AI’s use cases.
  5. Blockchain: As a secure, transparent, decentralized ledger system, blockchain technology enables enhanced traceability and reliability in transaction record-keeping, reducing fraud and errors. Walmart’s initiative for food traceability, which started in 2017, made it possible to trace all ingredients from a premade salad back to the farms from where they were harvested.
  6. Robotic Process Automation (RPA): RPA employs software robots or AI to automate business processes. A Softtek success story with a leading US airline highlights how RPA paired with a continuous improvement mindset drive IT budget savings through observability and self-healing.
  7. 3D printing: Additive manufacturing is reshaping production by building objects layer by layer from digital models, offering unparalleled customization and speed. It reduces inventory needs and simplifies supply chains by enabling on-demand manufacturing. This shift towards localized, on-demand production can decrease transportation costs and environmental footprint.
  8. The Internet of Things (IoT): IoT aims to interconnect physical devices to collect and exchange data, enabling real-time insights. The Microsoft Cloud YouTube channel highlights Maersk Line’s use of IoT for container tracking to monitor the location, temperature, and humidity of its containers in real time.
  9. Autonomous vehicles: Advances in autonomous trucking technologies suggest that self-driving trucks are poised to play a crucial role in modern logistics. According to CB Insights, these innovations not only address key vulnerabilities in the supply chain but also promise to revolutionize goods haulage and fleet management by enhancing efficiency and reducing costs. Beyond the vehicles themselves, an entire industry of supportive technologies has emerged, offering comprehensive solutions for logistics and haulage, marking strides toward a more autonomous and efficient supply chain.

Navigating digital transformation in logistics

The integration of cutting-edge technologies not only enhances efficiency, cost reduction, and visibility but also significantly improves customer service. By adopting these innovations, logistics companies are well-equipped to meet the dynamic demands of the modern supply chain. Softtek stands at the forefront of this revolution, with over a decade of experience in spearheading digital transformation projects. Our approach is methodically tailored from strategy definition to execution:

  1. Digital opportunities identification: Our experts pinpoint areas where digitalization can unlock new value, from process optimization to customer engagement.
  2. Digitization roadmap: We develop a strategic plan, in close collaboration, that outlines the path from current operations to a digitally transformed future state.
  3. Operation model evolution: Our team works to adapt and refine your operational framework to thrive in a digital landscape.
  4. Planning and design: We meticulously plan and design solutions that are both innovative and practical, ensuring they meet your specific needs.
  5. Digital transformation initiatives execution: With a clear plan in place, we execute the transformation, ensuring milestones are met and benefits are realized

Curious about how Softtek could help you propel your logistics operation forward? Visit our dedicated logistics page and connect with our experts. Discover how our tailored roadmaps, built on proven strategies, can keep you at the forefront.

"Keep yourself alive" - Queen

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