In the rapid digital advancement of the global economy, a time for change has finally come for the operating models of shipping and logistics providers.
A shift in the supply chain strategy needs to be made in order to cater to the high demand of same-day delivery purchases with a merchandise value expected to reach USD $4.03 Billion this year. New self-learning algorithms and collaboration within the shipping and logistics industry are key in this upcoming shift.
Logistics and Everything-as-a-Service
The subscription-based model is one of the many trends in the evolving digital transformation journey of many businesses today and is predicted to grow by more than 38% by 2020.
Everything-as-a-service is beneficial because the consumer receives continuous services and the producer gets a long term contract with the consumer. This model does not require the consumer to make a large investment in the beginning allowing for vertical and horizontal scaling.
Advanced transportation management software (TMS) can implement the model of software-as-a-service by automating global logistics for commodity traders, food producers, mining and metals, retail, manufacturing companies, and other large shippers. "In a system notorious for inefficiency, our solutions-focused TMS streamlines workloads, saving over 50,000 hours of human time thus far." says Jeff Wehner, COO and Co-Founder of Haven Inc. "Our tools unlock shipment data that otherwise gets buried or lost in emails and phone calls, and turns that information into actionable insights that make your work easier and more efficient. With Haven, you trade tedium and frustration for greater transparency and smoother collaboration".
Autonomous Mobile Robotics are Changing the Logistics Industry
The global logistics and warehouse robot market is forecasted to grow exponentially by the year 2021 reaching $14.43 Billion due to the increasing need for industry automation. Robots provide a cheaper source of labor for businesses, require less time to train than the human workforce and eliminate the amount of human error. They can perform more efficiently in tasks such as picking up and unloading containers, home deliveries, and sorting centers.
There are four leading types of Autonomous Mobile Robots with different warehouse uses:
1. Goods-to-person picking robots
These robots can be programmed to move through designated routes in the warehouse to move product from stations to workers or vise versa. This eliminates the significant time it takes for the human workforce to walk between areas in the warehouse. Due to upgrades in mobility, artificial intelligence, and sensors the robots can be used in almost any environment.
2. Self-driving forklifts
Forklifts possessing more complex navigation features, scanners, and audio and visual indicators can safely move about a warehouse while in the presence of the human workforce. They can detect an object and adjust their course accordingly. The ZF Innovator Forklift is one example of the driverless forklift that can locate goods in a warehouse and when they are scheduled to arrive. It will then optimize the loading process, create tasks, and update the ERP system of product placement and movement.
3. Autonomous inventory robots
Most companies will conduct an inventory sweep every month to every few months, taking a lengthy amount of time to do so. With autonomous inventory robots, companies can conduct inventory sweeps every couple hours keeping their data consistently up-to-date and allow for more efficient storage layout. Although these robots are costly, a customer can save up to a million a year in labor reduction, waste reduction and inventory optimization.
4. Unmanned aerial vehicles
Unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs) currently have RFID-scanning technology give companies real-time inventory visibility into their warehouse. Similar to the autonomous inventory robots, they can perform inventory sweeps then upload the results to any inventory management system. Sensors on the aerial vehicles prevent collision and enable them to fly in unique layouts.
Unlocking Transparency in Supply Chain via Blockchain
The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.
“The reason it’s exciting in this industry is because the industry is full of trading. Blockchain brings about the hope of truth, the hope that we can all still do that but then have a true system that we all agree that this is our general ledger,” says Matt Tillman, CEO and Co-Founder of Haven Inc. “What we have to do to make blockchain work is that a lot of companies have to agree that they want to use the same shared database.” Haven platform can be compatible to anyone using blockchain.
In a global economy that is continually evolving, new trends have emerged in the shipping and logistics industry. The demand for a more efficient strategy in the supply chain has resulted the utilization on the model of everything-as-a-service, autonomous mobile robots and adoption of advanced supply chain and logistics platforms. The digital world will command for constant advancements as the global sharing economy continues to grow.
By Jennifer Spence