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December 23, 2019

Digitization & Automation Propelling the Logistics Industry into 2020

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Introduction

With the development of new technology, the way the world conducts business continues to change. Technology is ever present and continues to be an immense part of modern-day business. Technology and logistics go hand-in-hand as they each strive towards a common goal, increasing efficiencies and decreasing costs. As 2020 approaches, new technology will continue to be implemented into industries across the globe. According to Supply & Demand Chain Executive, “56% of companies spend over $100,000 on workplace software investments each year”. This demonstrates the prevalence of technology in modern business and the importance of remaining current with competitive technology software and systems.

Expectations within the Logistics Industry

The logistics sector is expected to provide fast-moving, precise businesses. This industry is the backbone of the economy, but at times can be overlooked by consumers. Individuals expect an item to arrive within a short amount of time in perfect condition, however, they may not consider the process behind receiving a given item. We live in an on-demand society where technology has grown to be a monumental factor of the success of the logistics supply chain. Customers expect transparency when they order an item, which increases consumer expectations. Companies are forced to supply the most up-to-date and accurate data, and in turn, must rely on the newest technology to ensure success. Front’s 2019 Logistics Tech Trends Report mentions that logistics companies are becoming more “digitized” with 77% of companies saying their operations involve technology. This reveals the adaptation of the logistics field to technology which improves the efficiencies of their business processes. As our society continues to request on-demand service, companies will be able to provide timely service to accommodate customer needs through their adaptation to modern-day business resources.

 Digitization

The use of technology is an effective tool which eases the stress logistics workers encounter due to high demand within the industry. Technology provides employees with an advantage, allowing for shorter job completion times and easier task fulfillment. According to Front’s 2019 Logistics Tech Trends Report, “67% of digitized companies say that they are able to fulfill or convert at least half of incoming customer requests, while their non-digitized counterparts said they only converted 30% on average”.  Strong, long-lasting relationships will be the long-term result which will yield a highly effective competitive advantage. Within the industry, the competition between rival companies continues to grow and becomes dependent on the most advanced and state-of-the-art technology on the market.

Technology in 2020

New technology will be implemented throughout the year as we transition into 2020. Easily accessible and thorough data, faster service, and improved communication can be expected. Although technology provides many more advantages, the three listed are crucial to success within the logistics industry. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to become a monumental trend this coming year. According to The Economist, AI is predicted to bring logistics costs down by at least 5%, which could generate additional profits of $25 Billon (USD) over the next 10 years. AI may become an altering factor in multiple sectors of the logistics industry. As a result, accurate forecasting and exceptional decision-making will be prevalent.

FreightWaves states that carriers and shippers are dependent on data analytics and technology to drive efficiency as they strive for the highest level of success. To ensure shippers and carriers experience success, freight brokerages and 3PL companies must provide the correct data at a rapid rate. DC Velocity states that the use of real-time freight visibility, IoT networks, and unit load devices are several ways that increase visibility for both ends. Logistics companies focus on creating phenomenal customer service which leads into strong relationships with customers and carriers. Technology is just one tool assisting logistics companies throughout this process.

Future Technology Outlook

Technology, software, and digital platforms will continue to change every year, thus forcing the logistics industry to adapt to these modifications. The implementation of big data and cloud technology will create an enormous advantage for the logistics industry. Although not yet utilized in all logistics companies, “98% of 3PLs said that improved data-driven decision-making is essential to the future success of supply chain activities and processes”” (Datapine). Without applying data-driven decision making, companies within the logistics industry will fall behind when measured to their competitors. Change may bring uncertainty to successful businesses, but as companies strive to remain relevant, applying new technology and staying up–to-date with industry trends is vital.