To tackle unanticipated disruptions head-on and build a resilient supply chain network, you must stay ahead of various advancements in the industry. Today, a spate of state-of-the-art technologies are setting new trends in the supply chain field, and their adoption is bound to accelerate in the years to come.
Most of these technological innovations have come to be due to several start-ups that are budding in this space. These startups are all set to revolutionise the industry with their innovative ideas and solutions.
Let’s look at the top 9 logistics industry trends that have dominated the industry in 2020 and are here to stay in years to come:
1. Internet of Things
The application of the Internet of Things technology has gained quite a popularity in the logistics and supply chain space thanks to the convenience it has brought along. The Internet of Things or IoT refers to a connection of physical devices that transfer data via the internet without then need for human intervention. Several systems are now available in the market that use IoT technology to enhance supply chain visibility and improve Logistics Resource Management. These systems have managed to transform the way companies monitor their supply chains, manage their inventories, track shipments and more.
- Fleetroot – Fleet Management:
This United Arab Emirates-based startup offers an IoT platform that enables companies to monitor, control and manage their fleet efficiently. The fuel management solution provided by the company offers fuel consumption and wastage reports to fleet managers. Besides, the system also facilitates easy monitoring of vehicle performance via sensors and devices embedded in the vehicles.
The user can then analyse this data, compare it with historical data and plan the maintenance of their fleet accordingly. Other solutions offered by Fleetroot include route optimisation and delivery solutions that aid in the transportation of goods.
- Ambrosus – Real-Time Supply Chain Visibility
Belizean startup Ambrosus offers an end-to-end IoT network based on blockchains that helps food and pharma supply chains gain unprecedented visibility. The solution provides systems that analyse the data transferred from various ledgers and sensors and allow the user to make informed data-driven decisions.
The platform also leverages blockchain technology to track the movement of shipments and ensure that the goods remain in sound condition.
2. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence or AI is yet another technology that has been witnessing rapid adoption in various forms in the supply chain space. AI-based solutions have made it possible to make the logistics management team more efficient in several ways. For instance, AI-based demand forecasting solutions allow supply chain managers to plan better and reduce operating costs. AI-technology has also enabled automation in the delivery service process. Besides, AI-based solutions are capable of automating administrative tasks as well, making way for fool-proof work.
- Adiona – Process Optimization
Adiona- an Australian startup offers a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution that enables companies to improve their logistics resource management process and drive down costs. Via its FlexpOps API, the user can optimise delivery routes by efficiently planning vehicle routing. Moreover, the system deploys machine learning techniques to help decision-makers make sound decisions regarding their fleet w.r.t weather, demand, traffic, etc.
- Insite – Demand Forecasting
Insite, a New Zealand based startup, offers AI-based price prediction and demand forecasting software. The system helps optimise flows and processes and is made, especially for consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retail industries.
The startup also offers modules for risk assessment which allow the user to automate process decisions and monitor and control operating conditions more effectively. The platform is also designed to capture and analyse data in real-time and provide actionable insights.
The emergence of Robotics technology in the logistics space has facilitated increased speed and accuracy in carrying out various tasks. The technology is helping teams improve their productivity and minimise the scope for error. Picking and transportation of goods in storage facilities have become incredibly easy and straightforward with physical robots, such as collaborative robots (“co-bots”) and autonomous mobile robots (AMR). Besides, software robots take care of mundane, time-consuming tasks and enable human workers to focus on more important work at hand.
- Canonical Robots – Collaborative Robots
Canonical Robots, a Spanish startup, create collaborative robots which are robots that work collaboratively with human workers, offering assistance wherever necessary. They help facilitate the smooth functioning of supply chain processes.
These robots have six-axle joints that enable them to carry out a range of functions such as packaging, palletising, picking and moving goods, etc.
- Actimai – Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
RPA solution offered by Philippino startup Actimai offers automation of low-level mundane, repetitive tasks and eliminates the scope for error. These robots leverage AI and big data to optimise processes, provide actionable insights and suggest improvements.
4. Warehouse Automation
Technology enabling warehouse automation has proved to be game-changer in terms of managing the warehouse efficiently with minimum human intervention. Automated guided vehicles to pick and place goods, integrated platforms to monitor the goods stored in the warehouse, and solutions alike have come a long way in reducing the costs and efforts involved in warehouse management.
- Addverb Technologies – Automated Guided Vehicles
Indian startup Addverb Technologies offers Automated Guided Vehicles which enable the transport of a variety of loads in the warehouse. The startup provides solutions with various guidance systems such as wire, magnetic tape, laser and inertial. The AGV is engineered to substitute human labour and can successfully execute picking and placing operations in a storage facility.
- Exotec – Automated Storage & Retrieval System
Exotec is a French startup known for its automated robot named Skypod which optimises e-commerce warehouses. The technology assists in the management of goods and improves floor space utilisation, thus driving overall cost savings. Skypod is known to increase storage space by making vertical storage of goods possible to reduce the floor space required.
Blockchain addresses visibility and related challenges and provides security through a decentralised ledger system. The technology is known to bring transparency in transactions to the entire logistics management process. It makes the processes faster by reducing processing times and checkpoints.
- Steamchain – Smart Contracts
Steamchain, a US-based startup provides a blockchain platform that simplifies payment processes. Its World Trade Logistics (WTL) smart contract system enables B2B payments and eliminates the scope for frauds via immutable transaction records. The solution helps in minimising currency fluctuation and eliminating currency conversion costs.
- ShipChain – Freight Tracking
ShipChain, a US-based startup, offers a platform that leverages blockchain to optimise the shipping process. The solution makes it possible for the stakeholders to track the location of their shipment at every stage of its journey, ensuring visibility over shipment journey.
6. Big Data & Data Analytics
Supply chains generate a large amount of data regularly. The availability of systems that have simplified the analysis of this data has made way for data-driven supply chain management. Accurate data analysis can help companies optimise their resources and make informed decisions irrespective of the circumstances. Several platforms can even offer instant actionable insights based on in-depth analysis of vast amounts of data.
These systems can tell you within a click who is your best service provider, which routes are the most suited for your shipment and more.
- Nautilus – Performance Management
Nautilus Labs is a US-based company that makes it possible for maritime companies to reduce their fuel consumption and increase operational efficiency via their AI-based solutions.
Their cloud-based software analyses voyage data and predict the optimal fuel consumption and speed. It also records data related to vessel performance which in return helps optimise fuel costs.
- FACTIC – Prescriptive Analytics
FACTIC is a SaaS platform that offers predictive analytics solutions mainly for the food and beverage industries. The startup leverages data mining and AI technology to do the number-crunching from internal and external sources. The system then predicts future sales based on the analysis.
The software can also predict deviation in demand and automate procurement via data-driven decisions.
7. Cloud Computing
Cloud-based SaaS solutions have become the most preferred systems in the industry due to their scalability and ability to integrate with existing systems easily. These platforms have automated shipment tracking, RFQ management, invoice reconciliation process and more, enabling process improvements and driving cost savings for companies.
Linker – Cloud Platform
Polish startup Linker offers a B2B logistics management cloud platform for eCommerce companies and third-party logistics (3PLs) players.
The platform offers digital solutions that help enhance product labelling and delivery services. Linker also provides tools for fulfilment in warehouses and delivery facilities.
GoComet – Cloud TMS/LRM
GoComet Logistics Resource Management platform offers a range of intelligent digital solutions that automate RFQ management, shipment tracking and invoice reconciliation. The platform is known for capturing all the transactions on a single dashboard and offering instant actionable insights based on real-time analytics. GoComet also provides a free online container tracking tool.
8. Autonomous Vehicles
Autonomous vehicles play a remarkable role in improving vehicle safety and delivering goods by eliminating the scope for human errors while driving. Designed to work 24×7, these vehicles increase the efficiency in the first and last-mile delivery.
Besides, autonomous vehicles optimise fuel usage and travel routes by leveraging AI-enhanced technology.
- Spring – Autonomous Vehicle Fleet
Spring, a German startup offers an autonomous utility vehicle fleet namedSpring X1 for transporting goods. The vehicles are equipped with modular trailers designed for a series of applications. The user can customise them depending on their applications.
- Mars Auto – Autonomous Vehicle Software
South Korean startup Mars Auto builds self-driving vehicle software to offer driverless shipment transportation. Their AI-based software provides multiple tools to map the concerned areas and guide vehicles. The software enables shipping companies to deliver the cargo efficiently without a human driver’s intervention.
9. Elastic Logistics
Elastic logistics facilitates efficient supply chain operations at times when there are constant fluctuations in demand. It helps upscale or downscale the logistics operations to suit the needs of the market. This helps companies address challenges related to underutilisation of vessels, warehousing facilities, overstocking and more.
- Shorages – On-Demand Warehousing
United Arab Emirates-based startup Shorages is an on-demand B2B warehousing marketplace mainly meant for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It helps companies meet their short-term warehousing requirements. The platform makes it possible for owners to rent out the unused space in their warehouses while they provide pay-per-use and on-demand storage services to their customers.
- GlassWing – On-Demand Delivery Vehicles
Indian startup GlassWing offers a variety of commercial vehicles for on-demand freight transportation. The platform forms a service network that connects freight owners with transportation service providers. Glasswing also provides solutions such as real-time tracking, customised reporting, route optimisation, and more.
What do these developments mean to you as a shipper?
As technological progress continues to transform the supply chain industry, it is essential that you do your research, adopt technologies that help optimise your business and gain a competitive edge over your competitors.
Remember, it’s never too late to adopt solutions that will undoubtedly go a long way in boosting your business.
If you would like to know more about how GoComet’s innovative, intelligent solutions can help you drive savings and optimise your supply chain, reach us here.