In today’s fast-paced global markets, warehousing and distribution companies, like in all other industries, are being disrupted by the relentless march of technology – all are eager to gain the competitive edge by optimising, mechanising and automating the supply chain in order to cut warehousing and distribution costs and increase efficiency. The supply chain of the future will be very different from the one in which warehousing and distribution companies
operate today. Here are some key changes taking place in the field of logistics, warehousing and distribution:
Tracking and Reporting
Making decisions based on out-dated information and vague estimations is soon to become a thing of the past in any business, including warehousing and distribution companies. With satellite and other forms of tracking being utilised in all stages of the warehousing and distribution supply chain, real-time tracking of cargo from origin to destination is bound to become commonplace in the future.
These technologies include RFIDs, GPS tracking, geo-fencing, zone control and smart meters. With the abundance of new information available, the supply chain manager has far more intelligence upon which to base his decision, leading to a smoother experience overall, as well as lower costs and increased speed of delivery.
In school, we all learned how the first industrial revolution, immortalised by Henry Ford’s Model T production line, was the birth of large scale mass production as we know it. Many forecast that an equally ground-breaking industrial revolution is taking place today.
Robotics, 3D printing and other incredible technologies are achieving feats of production never before imagined, and are being used more and more commonly in the manufacturing industry around the world.
The cost and time it takes to prototype and produce a product can essentially be halved by injecting a little technology into the process. Manufacturing is also become more and more competitively priced as these technologies become more mainstream.
This will doubtless have a huge impact on the supply chain in the near future – after all, if a robot can be shipped overseas and produce a perfect product anywhere you care to plug it in, what need is there for large scale shipping at all?
The world economy and the Earth’s ecology are both under severe strain, but technology is a shining light of hope on the horizon – able to reduce man’s harmful effects on the planet, and drive savings for warehousing and distribution companies at the same time.
Many factories and warehouses now run either partially or entirely on green technologies such as solar power, and the possibility of fleets of electric trucks transporting the word’s cargo is fast becoming a reality.
Many governments also offer attractive incentives to businesses who commit to reducing their carbon emissions. These days, green technologies are being looked at more favourably than ever, not just because they reduce a company’s carbon footprint, but because they also improve the bottom line.