How Technology Is Helping In Shaping The Policies Of The Logistics Sector

Mr. Srinivas Lingamuthu, CEO & Co-FounderMore than most non-core tech sectors, the logistics sector has been changed by technology. The movement of goods across distances has become more efficient, effective, reliable, and less time consuming than it was before the emergence of new technologies.

Since technologies like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), GPS, Data Analytics, and Blockchain were introduced; complex logistics operations have become simple. Businesses, both large and small, and individual strust supply chains because technology has made shipping easy, reliable, and trackable. It has never been easier for businesses and individuals to use the services of logistics providers. The reason behind this change is that the technology infrastructure behind logistics is very sophisticated. Rarely are shipped products lost or arrive late at their destination.

A few ways technology has impacted logistics and is shaping the policies of the sector are outlined below.

ERP Makes Processes Smooth
One of the biggest challenges faced by businesses that ship is they must label parcels with the receivers name and address. Labelling manually requires a largeworkforce and often leads to packages being mislabelled. ERP software eliminates much of the complexity faced by logistics providers. It automates labelling, so every box is shipped to the right address. Because the labelling process is automated, businesses save costs because they don’t need an army of workers to label packages.

Using ERP software has other vital advantages as well. When the software is integrated with supply chains, it can be used to automatically ship products when required. A single online or offline purchase at one end of the supply chain can trigger the software to shipa product to replace the one recently bought. Businesses that use ERP software have complete oversight of inventory and know how much product they have in offline and online stores. With such visibility, they can anticipate demand and thereby optimise production to lower costs.

In addition to giving oversight over supply chains, ERP software provides businesses with the luxury of hiring a small workforce to manage supply chains. In the absence of ERP software, workers must keep track of shipments using traditional tools like telephones. With ERP software; however, they can see the real-time status of every shipment. The status of thousands of loads is available at the press of a button making logistics processes smooth and easy to manage. Using ERP software, a business can handle thousands of shipments using a team of less than five logistics professionals. Without
such software, it would need several dozen and still struggle to make sure parcels reach the right destination on time.

GPS Gives Complete Visibility
For ERP software to work as it should, it must be paired with GPS technology. So while ERP lets four or five workers seated before workstations manage thousands of packages in real-time, GPS makes it possible to see the location of each parcel. GPS sheds light on supply chains. Businesses use the visibility made possible by GPS systems to share the location of purchases with buyers. Customers can see in real-time the whereabouts of their products, which builds trust between sellers and buyers.

Another advantage of GPS is it lets customers plan the receipt of purchases. For instance, when buyers know what time to expect a product, they can schedule to be at the appointed location to receive it.

For businesses, managing a fleet of delivery vehicles becomes effortless because of GPS. In case of a cancelled delivery, for instance, a driver can be informed automatically. With the new information, the driver can optimise his route such that other deliveries are completed on time. With vehicles equipped with GPS, route planning becomes cakewalk and routes can be planned to save time, money, fuel and effort.

AI &Data Analytics Facilitate Logistics
Technologies like AI and data analytics help get to the crux of a logistics operation. With inputs from AI, for example, a shipper can optimise shipping routes and ally with better partners along existing supply chains. An AI system can recommend suppliers whose partnerships are likely to be more fruitful than existing alliances.

The handful of employees manning workstations overseeing logistics can be prompted by AI when it anticipates that a buyer will reject a delivery. When prompted by AI, the team of workers take a call regarding whether a delivery to an address should be cancelled. Much of what AI does for logistics is automated as well. When it suspects that a buyer is sure to return a product, it can bar him or her from ordering in the future.

Analytics plays big in logistics as well. It can predict the demand scenario from existing supply chains. With predictive analytics, businesses can divert an appropriate number of resources to a supply chain.

The decision to act on the recommendations of AI lies squarely on personnel; AI increases the likelihood that the right decisions are made a majority of the time. Similarly, analytics can help businesses gather insights into complex, interwoven supply chains; the decision to act on such information lies solely with the managers.

Intuitive Apps and Blockchain
Apps are a massive plus for shippers. Powered by AI, ERP software, and GPS, they let customers see the status of their purchase in real-time. Because apps are easy to use, it provides the customers with a user friendly way to track their incoming packages.

Another area where Apps are playing big is data capturing about the customers and their purchases; something that gives businesses insights into their requirements and helps meet demand for different kinds of products. Apps are also being used to capture proof of deliveries. This minimizes the error and chances of frauds or wrong deliveries.

A supply chain is very complex; blockchain simplifies it. Every product along a logistics channel can be found with blockchain. Furthermore, should frauds occur, blockchain provides evidence of such wrongdoings. For businesses securing supply chains with blockchain makes logistics immutable to corruption and completely reliable.

The technologies mentioned above are at the heart of modern supply chains. Each is rapidly being deployed by businesses and logistics partners to simplify complex logistics processes. The leaders in logistics are already manoeuvring these techs that are disrupting the logistics industry. They have the edge over players who don't use these tools. Smaller players have much to gain when they incorporate some or all of these technologies.