The digital audio tape of the 1980s. Google Glass of the 2010s. Sometimes, new technology generates a whole lot of hype before ultimately sinking into obsolescence and obscurity. For logistics leaders already facing tight budgets and immense pressure to deliver results, this can make determining the right time to invest in emerging logistics tech seem like an impossible task. How can you be sure you’re not sinking huge amounts of money and staff time into a tool that will never live up to its promise?
The short answer is, you can’t. The only certainties in life are death and taxes. But by keeping up to date with the rapidly evolving logistics tech landscape and seeing how other companies are starting to put new tools into play, you can make better decisions about when and where to invest.
With that in mind, here are three logistics tech trends that are worth keeping on your radar this year.
Technology that allows for real-time visibility and data-driven decision-making
The Internet of Things (IoT) has made the whole world more connected. For shippers, the ubiquity of sensors and other IoT technology is cause for excitement because it brings real-time visibility in the supply chain within reach.
While logistics experts have been talking about this trend for years, the technology has only recently reached a level of both maturity and accessibility to make the dream of real-time visibility a reality. To take full advantage of it, though, shippers also need analytics capabilities that will enable them to rapidly make sense of all the data that their operations generate every day and extract actionable insights. That’s why at CTSI-Global, we partner with Sisense to provide shippers with business intelligence tools that empower true data-driven decision-making on a daily basis.
Technology that will make shippers more efficient and less prone to error
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been getting a lot of buzz in recent years. Still, without a robust data science team and the resources to invest in a multi-year program, it’s unlikely that many companies will unlock the full potential of AI in the supply chain for some time. The same is true of machine learning (ML); while it may one-day power revolutionary logistics tech, it takes time for the system to learn and grow enough to be helpful—time which many companies simply can’t commit to.
However, another trend that’s often mentioned in the same breath as AI and ML is much more accessible today: robotic process automation.
Robotic process automation isn’t about replacing humans. It’s about figuring out which touchpoints benefit from human input and which are better handled by automated tools. This can not only reduce errors and increase efficiency but can also minimize the amount of time employees have to spend on tedious, repetitive tasks that aren’t a good use of their skills—allowing them to focus on more strategic, business-critical work.
Technology that will enable greater business continuity in the face of future disruptions
In the wake of the pandemic, many companies are recognizing that they need to do more to ensure greater business continuity in the event of unprecedented disruptions. Just-in-time manufacturing and distribution models were especially hard hit by the global health crisis, exposing vulnerabilities and putting pressure on supply chain leaders to figure out how they can future-proof their operations.
There are no easy answers, but the pandemic may speed up the adoption of autonomous vehicles, drone delivery systems, robotic fulfillment centers, and other supply chain technologies that rely on minimal human contact. That’s not to say that companies need to rush out and invest in expensive robots and self-driving trucks right away, but keep an eye on this trend as it develops.
Discover next-level logistics tech
At CTSI-Global, we believe in equipping shippers with the tools they need to succeed today while also investing in innovation to help them succeed tomorrow. We built our proprietary logistics solutions from the ground up and work tirelessly to elevate them continuously. At the same time, we’re constantly evaluating the logistics tech landscape and forging new partnerships to benefit our clients, giving them access to more integrations that can help them optimize their operations.
The future might be murky, but the right choice today is clear. Contact us to get started.