Technological advances are having a significant impact on businesses all around the world and Grace Overseas is no exception. Having operated in the freight forwarding sector for over three decades, we’ve adapted to changes with the implementation of new technologies which have dramatically altered the way we work.
Speed, information, and accuracy are key to success in logistics and as such the sector is often at the forefront of implementing changes and capitalising on the efficiencies that technological advances, including automation, virtual reality, and AI (artificial intelligence), can bring.
Here we take a look at just some of the ways in which tech is changing or could change the logistics sector in the future:
The digitalisation of information and cloud-based data
The digitisation of processes in the logistics sector isn’t new but it has continued to improve. This has led to greater efficiencies, reduced paperwork, more automation, and better customer experiences.
At Grace Overseas, using barcode scanning technology is just one way we keep track of stock stored in our facility. Our Mintsoft scanning system means our customers can access information about their current inventory any time they need to. Having this information at their fingertips is key to planning and managing stock levels.
The availability of real-time information combined with cloud-based technology means that data about the route, location, and estimated delivery time of specific freight and shipments can be made available to suppliers and customers, including the ability to track the exact location of a shipment at any moment in time.
It is also now possible to monitor everything from humidity to light exposure or even if a package has been dropped. This sensor-based technology has huge potential for improving the shipping of sensitive or vulnerable freight.
This valuable information can be key to managing expectations and improving customer experience. Delays or errors are sometimes inevitable, but when accurate information is readily available, it can help customers with a clear picture and understanding of the situation.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The possibilities for AI in logistics and freight forwarding include demand forecasting, planning routes, and scheduling shipments – all of which will save time and improve efficiency. Machine learning capabilities will be used to analyse historical data such as weather patterns, market trends, and busy or slow shipping seasons – information which is crucial to shipping and could be used to help inform vital decisions and plans.
Automation and robotics
Combined with the power of AI, automation and the use of robotics could change the way fulfilment works beyond recognition.
Technology exists for robotics to be used to pick and pack shipments as well as photographing and labelling packages. This reduces time spent on manual labour, freeing staff to focus on other tasks.
Drones could, and in some cases are already, being used for deliveries. And why stop there? Autonomous or driverless vehicles are another way in which automation could lead to huge changes in the sector.
Harnessed in the right way technology has the potential to make supply chains smarter, more resilient, and more environmentally-friendly – and that’s just the beginning. The potential for change in the way freight forwarding and supply chains work is significant, but any new processes will need to be carefully managed by responsible professionals in the industry, most importantly those with experience and an in-depth understanding of legislation, compliance, best practice and how the industry operates.
At Grace Overseas, we are committed to ensuring that our freight forwarding and logistics services embrace new technologies and industry innovations where they will bring benefits to our customers, our team, and the environment. Follow us for more industry insights on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.