Logistics Tech Trends

Posted on March 12, 2013

“I'm excited about the opportunities with mobile phones and being able to receive information on the go and relevant to what I'm doing at that moment in time.” Quoted by: Susan Wojcicki, Senior Vice President of product management and engineering at Google.

Some of the technologies that will have the biggest impact on logistics and supply chain management in the coming year are: mobile computing, analytics software, and social media. These factors are increasingly becoming primary impact variables in the logistics and supply chain arena. Mobile computing devices, such as smart phones or tablets, could have a more far-reaching impact on logistics than anyone ever imagined.

The appeal of these devices lies largely in their flexibility. With a tablet or smart phone in hand, managers no longer need to return to their desks to obtain essential operating data; they can pull up the information wherever they are. The computing power of cell phones could soon equal or exceed that of desktop computers. With the emergence of analytics software, companies are developing applications that can sift through mountains of data to identify subtle patterns and trends that can provide new insight into the operations field. Mobile devices are becoming imperative to helping managers and their colleagues compete in the fast paced and ever-changing business world. While there are many different types of analytics software, there are two that are particularly critical to logistics operations: "prescriptive" and "predictive" analytics. Prescriptive analytics informs managers what's going on in his/her supply chain now.

This information can be used by the manager to take any actions needed immediately to keep the operation running smoothly. Predictive analytics, on the other hand, help managers assess future risks and comes up with a wide range of options. For example, if there was a jump in oil prices; analytics would educate one on the pros and cons of alternative responses and also what your supply chain would look like with oil at $70 a barrel versus $150 a barrel. Also, there is Transportation Management Systems (TMS), which offer great benefits for shipment management, trading partner collaboration, and freight payment.

Finally, the ever changing and collaborative platform of Social media: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These platforms are changing the way information is exchanged in the logistics community. It is becoming common for companies to use social media to find and recruit younger supply chain professionals. Improving technology equals improved visibility in logistics. Some of the benefits that this new technology brings to logistics are: improving customer service, increased productivity, and increased profitability, which then leads to customer satisfaction. This new technology also impacts customer service with faster updates, improved transit times, and more accurate dates on shipments. In addition, these growing logistic trends help decrease time spent tracking down shipments and streamline the logistics process. A prime example of this is the new FedEx’s Shipment Watch Monitoring Service.

This product allows you to keep track of the temperature, humidity, and light exposure to determine if your shipment has been opened at all. Shipment Watch can be used for both approved air carriers and on any ground shipments in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom. Advanced technologies enhance the efficiency in the logistics and supply chain management community overall. Organizations are now being challenged to quickly understand new technologies, sorting out what best fits their business, and quickly integrating these new solutions. Now more than ever, companies must be ready to implement new technologies in order to outsmart the competition and get to customers first!

 

Contributors: Nicole Lang and John Law, Allyn Logistics Specialists in Ft. Myers, FL.

Allyn’s IT team has over 15 years of experience developing solutions for the logistics market. Let us create a customized solution for you! AllynLogisticsConsulting@allynintl.com