Logistics industry researchers have estimated that the supply chain management software market will grow by $2.92 billion from 2021 to 2025. Moreover, software solutions will change not only in quantity but also in quality. Applications for warehouse, freight transportation, and transport management will enter the market. They will be improved with the help of new logistics technologies. In this article, we’ll consider the trends that are changing logistics software development.
Private 5G/LTE networks
Private mobile networks are the main technology supporting other logistics innovations. An organization can buy a cellular network and operate it the way it uses a Wi-Fi network. The network is available to transport along the supply chain, it is possible to connect to the Internet in the open air, in ports, or on the railway. 5G/LTE support computer vision applications, autonomous vehicles, surveillance cameras, and voice and video communication devices. Without a mobile network, platforms that require Internet access and connect the carrier with managers in the office will not be able to function.
AR and VR
The number of logistics companies investing in AR and VR technologies is gradually growing. In 2017, 8% of companies were interested in AR and VR, in 2019 their number quadrupled.
Organizations use AR and VR to improve:
- warehouse operations. These technologies suggest how to store boxes to efficiently use room;
- loading goods. An AR app indicates where the cargo is ready for shipment, or where it should be placed in the trailer;
- traffic. A driver uses AR glasses for navigation so as not to get distracted on the road;
- safety training for warehouse workers, and other operations.
This technology provides the supply chain with a missing element which is visibility. IoT devices allow you to see what is happening on the road and remotely control logistics operations. Therefore, it is not surprising that the technology market will triple between 2019 and 2030.
IoT devices help to:
- control the movement of goods through the supply chain. Sensors attached to containers and boxes report the location of the cargo and its condition.
- assess the condition of the transport. Sensors record mileage, idle hours, idling, hard braking and send alerts when a truck needs to be repaired.
- comply with the inventory storage conditions. Sensors record the product storage temperature, air humidity, illumination, and other important conditions. They inform a manager when these parameters are violated at a particular section of the track.
AI algorithms are well applicable to work with large amounts of data generated by the logistics industry. AI simplifies and automates many processes in the supply chain.
- An AI algorithm indicates the location of goods in the warehouse and suggests how to efficiently arrange the incoming cargo, considering the conditions of storage and subsequent transportation.
- AI gathers information about warehouse operations, predicts demand for the next season, and suggests which goods need to be laid in stock;
- It helps to manage the warehouse staff. The system gives workers voice instructions thus ensuring a step-by-step execution of tasks. For example, where to get the goods, in what quantity, and where to take the order prepared for shipment.
- AI-powered warehouse robots can work around the clock and perform operations faster. They load and unload pallets, transport goods around the warehouse, and carry out other tasks.
By 2035, Artificial Intelligence will increase profits by 38% in 16 industries, including supply chains.
Blockchain, a distributed database technology, ideally fits chain processes. Logistics is the very industry where goods are transported from a manufacturer to a customer in turn. But there are several problems:
- Chain participants do not trust each other, that’s why they turn to intermediaries who issue letters of credit. As a result, shipping costs are higher when third parties are involved.
- Carriers, shippers, and customers do not see how the product is delivered, whether the cargo storage conditions are met, whether the driver manages to deliver the goods, or why part of the cargo is lost on the way.
Blockchain is a digital distributed ledger to which network participants are connected. Operations that take place between the initiators are recorded in blocks. A transaction can be performed only if the rest of the supply chain participants confirm its validity. A verified block is encrypted and recorded. It is impossible to change or fake data in blocks, so fraud is excluded.
Thanks to blockchain, participants in the supply chain can interact directly, without intermediaries because the conditions for fulfilling obligations are regulated by smart contracts. Members of a blockchain network can also track where goods are sent from, where they are at a specific time, how many products leave the warehouse, and other data. That’s why 40% of logistics companies are willing to invest in blockchain.
In the digitalized world, it is impossible to beat competitors without information technology. Innovations speed up performing tasks, help to save money, and automate workflows. That is why logistics companies are looking for promising cost-effective technologies which will modernize their business model. If you are looking for logistics technology, contact a logistics software development company. Your IT partner will suggest which software solution will help to cope with business problems and which technology should be the basis of the future program.