TECHNOLOGY TRENDS APPLIED TO LOGISTICS28/02/2023
All the technology trends that are going to have an impact on logistics aim at digitalizing and automating warehouse management. In a fast-changing environment, supply chain needs new solutions that can improve resilience in order to face the challenges of logistics 4.0.
Here are the most significant trends for 2023:
- Warehouse simulation
Warehouse simulation uses a computer model to improve real warehousing systems. It is a virtual reality technology that enables an organization to reproduce its warehouse layout and flow of personnel and goods in a virtual environment. This virtual, 3D replica – called digital twin – provides a good opportunity to streamline blueprints, reduce flaws and costs while avoiding any potential danger.
- Logistics flexibility
Flexible logistics was crucial in 2022 and it is going to be just as important this year. Flexibility helps companies to remain competitive by allowing a better management of omnichannel logistics, product seasonality and returns. It also guarantees stock availability for end customers while limiting cost overruns in manufacturing, storage and transport. Companies opting for a flexible approach to logistics can easily adjust to unforeseen changes without altering their operations.
- Robotic process automation – RPA
RPA technology, which involves the use of software robots to interact with programs in an automated way, will be key in business processes also in 2023. Applied to automate repetitive tasks such as connecting to web apps, moving data and creating directories, robotic process automation can support product tracking and monitor order shipment status. RPA can also create and send automated delivery time notifications, delivery notes and alerts on possible delays.
- Data mining
Data mining techniques facilitate the processing of large volumes of data produced in a smart warehouse, identifying trends that can support the improvement of the decision-making process. In logistics 4.0, automatically detecting patterns in operations such as goods receipt, order preparation and returns management could optimize the forecast for stock demand and enhance inventory control.
- Cloud computing
Cloud computing has been reshaping business management for a while; now, it is becoming integral to supply chain management as well. A cloud-based warehouse management system involves the use of a warehouse management software (WMS) delivered in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model which grants access from any web-enabled device. A cloud-based WMS improves security in information management – as all the data have an automatic backup copy – and it reduces capital expense as it eliminates the need for long-term licensing, specialized tools and resources to maintain the system.
- Drones and logistics
Drones are due to consolidate their importance in the logistics industry this year. Google and Amazon have been experimenting delivery via drones for some time now: if this possibility becomes a reality, drone delivery would improve logistics by lowering costs, reducing shipment time and air pollution by decreasing road transport. Drones have also been successfully used in inventory management: they fly over the warehouse and scan stock-keeping units (SKU) or RFID tags, then automatically send information to the logistics software, thus improving stock management without the need of allocating dedicated resources to this task.
- Sustainable logistics
Also known as green logistics, it includes all those policies designed to reduce the environmental impact of businesses operating in the sector. Environmental consciousness is rapidly spreading and companies need to seek new ways to reduce their carbon footprint and waste production throughout all stages of the supply chain. More on this topic here.
In conclusion, if 2022 saw the confirmation of automation and digitalization as the pillars of a valid logistics strategy, 2023 is going to be the year for further investments: companies will have to work on new technologies in order to stay competitive, streamline processes and minimize mistakes. The common target is a flexible logistics management that can easily adapt to future changes.
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