Global

Technologies Driving Change in the Transport & Logistics Industry

July 13 2021

Updated: April 26, 2022

Part of our mobility, transportation & logistics thought leadership series

4th Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 (nn.) The industrial revolution characterised by the influence and integration of digital solutions to essential business operations. Here, digital technology and intelligent use of data become integral to producing goods or providing services that are up to current customer expectations, more efficient, and more productive across the value chain.  The new commercial era brought forth by a fusion of digital and technological advances such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation, the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and the like.

With the 4th Industrial Revolution, companies in the transportation and logistics sector are aligning processes and operations to Industry 4.0 standards and have created a new era for the sector – now called Logistics 4.0. 

Logistics 4.0 (nn.) The networking and integration of logistics processes. It is basically the effects of Industry 4.0 on logistics i.e. the networking and interlocking of customers, objects, processes and supply chain partners through information and communication technologies to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of a company. As defined by SaloodoTransportation Tech Trends

This is translating into a widespread shift towards end to end digitisation and an overall larger appetite for digital amongst stakeholders. With objectives to simplify processes, increase efficiency, and secure and connect global supply chains for the aforementioned alignment [1], the sector employs the following technologies.

Data Analytics

Speedily creating actionable insights out of massive volumes of data, big data analytics continues to improve market and consumer understanding at a much higher level and greater scope. Businesses in the industry are utilising big data analyses to more efficiently plan operational processes, strategies, and services that are more accurate and aligned to emerging consumer needs [2]. By deeply understanding large collections of consumer, market, and process data, this software becomes essential to creating grounded, rewarding user experiences.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning

Now becoming staples across numerous industries, AI and Machine Learning have also successfully dominated the top of the transportation tech food chain. Significantly improving operation functionality, and subsequently, efficiency, these implementations are boosting incredible new levels of productivity and speed for businesses in the industry [3]. 

Besides working hand in hand with big data analytics in collecting and processing data, these two technologies are also vital for ensuring the consistent quality of service – enabling the efficient transport of goods by designing optimal transit routes and networks, improving public safety by predictive risk calculation and elimination, and even making sure that consumers are supported quickly and efficiently through engagement channels. All that being said, it looks like this trend is one worth hopping in on.

Near-Field Communication (NFC)

With transport networks increasingly becoming interlinked – given that multimodal travel and transit network connectedness emerging as a trend, consumers are seeking more seamless travel experiences. NFC or Near-Field Communication is making that possible [4]. 

By creating inclusive ticketing schemes supporting various modes of public transport, this allows travellers to enjoy a smoother, more organised journey. Enabling millions of smart devices in the marketplace to act as contactless tickets or transport cards working seamlessly with Public Transport Operators (PTO) and Mobile Network Operators (MNO), this innovative integration is revolutionising both the serviceability of technology and the overall travel experience.

Cargo & Freight Tech Trends

Autonomous Vehicles

The combination of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Automation  have created a powerful means for the cargo & freight industries to give convenience a new meaning. Capable of almost completely independent transportation of goods, the use of self-driving or autonomous vehicles for delivery is no longer just a vision but a reality. 

With the pandemic pushing for safer operations, rapid development of contactless solutions became an urgent proceeding for many manufacturers. Here came the realisation of mass-produced automated vehicles. And since its dawn, more and more companies are understanding the potential and necessity of utilising autonomous vehicles. From reduced labour and uninterrupted delivery times, to optimised route planning and operational precision, businesses across the sector are all eyes on the benefits of this integration [2].

Blockchain

Blockchain has also increased in popularity within the industry in the last few years. Ensuring operational safety and transparency with its ability to record and encrypt large amounts of valuable information, this digital transaction ledger system continues to safekeep logistics operations. Most successfully employed by Dutch companies like DHL, this trend helps prevent documentation frauds, data system hacking, and even product heists. All whilst keeping the records organised and pristine [5]. 

Automated Warehousing Solutions

As rudimentary work grows progressively recurrent in warehouse operations, more companies are focusing on the automation of manual workload. More and more companies are looking towards automation for day to day processes to increase savings in manual labour, as well as to improve monitoring, receiving and dispatching products in the warehouse..

Some excellent examples of applications are found in German logistics giant, DHL. Using automated machinery to manage the freight – effectively reducing normative work duration to half its size, and having built more than a hundred automated logistics bases for fast parcel handling and sorting in Germany, DHL illustrates how this technology proves indispensable for fast-growing cargo and freight companies [2].

Though trends continue to emerge and evolve in the industry, these six technologies and their transformative uses offer promising rewards and the prospect to flourish under Industry 4.0 instead of being in fear of it. Leverage these innovations and position yourself for success in the market in these fast-changing times.

Read more insights and see some of our works on the mobility, transport & logistics vertical here.

Endnotes:

[1] DHL Freight, “Logistics Trends 2022: The Future of Logistics Is Digital and Sustainable”, 2022
[2] Supply and Demand Chain Executive, “Top 6 Global Logistic Technology Trends in 2021”, 2021
[3] McKinsey, “Global AI Survey: AI proves its worth, but few scale impact”, 2019
[4] BusinessWire, “Global Transit NFC Mobile Ticketing Report 2021-2030: Spotlight on Contactless Payments Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic”, 2021
[5] HBS Digital Initiative, “DHL: Cracking Logistics with the help of Machine Learning”, 2018

Author

Andrea Nalupa

Andrea Nalupa

Marketing Manager

Andrea is a Marketing Manager at Monstarlab, specialising in research and content focused on technical and business insights across various sectors.

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