Logistics trends in 2019
Stepping into the new year, we see a number of technology trends in 2019 that will influence logistics and supply chain management. Here's the top five technology trends to keep an eye on.
1. Warehouse robotics
Warehouse robots have become more important to logistics in the past few years. Amazon has more than 80,000 robots in use in fulfillment centers. Due to improved efficiency, these fulfillment centers have been able to reduce operational costs by 20%.
On the delivery side, China’s second largest e-commerce company, JD.com, has been delivering items with robots. Each robot is equipped with up to 30 boxes and can travel a maximum of 15 km/h. These robots can automatically avoid road barriers, passing vehicles, and pedestrians, and can autonomously stop at delivery points.
2. Autonomous vehicles
While autonomous vehicle development has been progressing over the last couple years, it still looks like it will take some time before autonomous vehicles are in widespread use.
Driverless vehicles will reduce the cost of transport and improve last-mile delivery once all the legal, safety, and social acceptance issues are overcome. Given that labor represents more than 40% of the cost of road freight haulage, the potential overall cost savings of autonomous vehicle are considerable, and will also help transport companies address issues with driver shortages.
SaaS, also known as software as a service, has been widely applied across different industries. In 2019, we'll continue to see more logistics companies offering SaaS solutions. As a SaaS company in logistics, Crux Systems provides a cost-effective platform to help customers track and manage all their containers in one place. With our dashboard, customers can easily share real-time data with their teams and partners.
Since our last blog post on blockchain when we mentioned TradeLens, the joint blockchain solution being developed by IMB and Maersk, other blockchain initiatives have been announced. CargoSmart has since launched a blockchain initiative with Oracle for shipment documentation, and Kuehne + Nagel announced another blockchain initiative working with Accenture and others.
Some in the industry are questioning how much traction any one of these blockchain initiatives will ultimately gain in the logistics industry, but the one thing that is certain is that we will continue to see more focus on blockchain in the coming year.
5. Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) will become more prevalent in logistics as the cost of sensors and other devices decreases. These sensors are currently being used to collect temperature, humidity, and other data points on perishable goods like food and pharmaceuticals. Other uses of IoT are in areas related to equipment monitoring and tracking goods as they move through the supply chain.
What trends do you see having the biggest impact on your business this year?