Businesses are keeping up with the changing digital environment to stay competitive. The situation is more “prevail or perish” since everything is digital now. The supply chain and logistics industries have undergone the most transformations.
The IoT, automation, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI) are being interwoven into the entire landscape of the shipping and logistics industry digitally. Since the pandemic, the shift to logistics 4.0 has been accelerating thanks to efficiency and sustainability in the industry.
What is Logistics 4.0?
Logistics 4.0 is the amalgamation of technology with supply chain management. In an ecosystem where information and data play significant roles in streamlining operations and processes of supply chain management, blockchain, cloud, and other technologies help secure the exchange of data and keep the sector decentralized and fluid in a very convenient manner.
AI is one of the core pillars of Logistics 4.0 that helps achieve high efficiency for the supply chain links. Sales forecasting, demand forecasting, congestion at ports during the festive season, etc. are predicted using big data and machine learning. Automated management systems for warehouses and container docks help build smart, smooth management for better service delivery.
Smart tracking and GPS technology have proven to be paramount to the supply chain sector, especially during the Covid crisis and Suez Canal (Egypt) blockage. The tracking helped the industry trace the real-time status and location of goods. Thus, reducing risks, allowing route optimization, and increasing cargo control for quick action. The tracking allows users to access the status via any smart device, such as a phone, tablet, or smartwatch.
Adoption of Logistics 4.0
The initial applications of Smart Logistics or Logistics 4.0 were seen in the production and manufacturing sectors. Later, the 4.0 philosophy was carried forward in DaaS; however, positive and efficient results started showing at the beginning of the adoption.
At a later stage, shippers integrated logistics service providers into their digital processes via mobile order management. This was possible by creating a network that electronically connected drivers through mobile terminals, which, in turn, prolonged the digital supply chain up to the last-mile delivery agent. Furthermore, this requires no advanced technology; the smartphones and tablets needed for this operation are standard models readily available in sturdy variants.
Additionally, the usage of an internal logistics platform by the shipper that is appropriate for mobile ordering and outfitted with a corresponding interface is a must for this upgrade. Mobile terminals only need to be equipped with an app linked to this platform that forwards digital freight documents to the drivers.
Customers later sign directly on the display while the papers are automatically archived in the shipper’s system. At the same time, the GPS function of mobile devices can be used to locate the position of the transport vehicle in real time. More efficient handling of goods also leads to an improvement in production.
Additionally, the wide array of data improves the traceability of each element. This proves to be safe, thus, reducing the risk of litigation with customers. Ultimately, the sum of all these benefits leads to a significant cost reduction.
Stakeholders must use smart technologies to create an interconnected value chain, which will be essential for bringing about a variety of benefits, right from transparency to better forecasting.
Solutions for Logistics 4.0 are equally focused on internal and external processes. To coordinate information flows from one stakeholder to another, dynamic supply chain management strategies are needed for complex links in the network chain.
At the end of the day, the traditional methods and operations in logistics and supply chain management are meant to be disrupted. While the industries are not yet at a stage where they can completely operate on Logistics 4.0, most organizations and logistics companies are beginning to explore the infinities of smart and automated supply chain management.