Logistics Automation: How to Adapt and Revive the Shipping Sector Post-pandemic
COVID-19 has caused lots of problems for the international shipping and logistics industry. Of course, the global lockdown slowed the spread of COVID-19, but it influenced the demand for logistics technology. According to a global survey, 73% of users of logistics services noticed that the pandemic affected the supply chain operators.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this question, analyze the logistics industry, and try to figure out how to revive the shipping sector.
The Current State of Logistics in the Shipping Sector
During the lockdown, logistics companies faced lots of difficulties. Lockdowns of cities caused massive disruptions for shippers. Delays at pickup or delivery points were created by limited labor supply at distribution centers. Therefore, to streamline all the processes, lots of companies turned to logistics automation. Automation means the use of special software or control systems to enable running the supply chain. The main goal of automation is to reduce human intervention.
Today, we are all used to living under the new rules. Only a few years ago, lots of warehouses didn’t know anything about automation processes. But today the situation has changed; lots of warehouses started using automation equipment that significantly enhanced the sanitation of warehouses. Moreover, there’s no need to disinfect the surface where humans don’t work. Automated guided vehicles, drones, mobile, and picking robots are new warehouse management systems that can streamline a variety of operations and significantly enhance the safety.
Overview of Current Trends in Logistics Industry
New technology-driven innovations in modern business processes are a game-changer for the shipping sector. We expect that, in the near future, the global supply chains will be more oriented to the needs of customers. Automation guarantees much better productivity and efficiency. As we can see, this sector is continually evolving, and here are the main industry trends for 2020 identified by the latest global logistics industry analysis:
- Internet of Things. IoT in logistics helps make inventory management more effective. Moreover, it can help make fleet management and condition monitoring faster and more transparent.
- Artificial Intelligence. AI-based software solutions can be used to forecast demand, predict prices, and optimize processes. According to statistics, we can see that the relevance of AI for logistics is very high.
- Robotics. It goes without saying that robots streamline a number of operations and improve productivity since can perform repetitive tasks faster than humans.
- Last-mile delivery. This stage is essential for the whole industry because it is directly related to customer satisfaction. But it usually causes lots of problems. Drone delivery can resolve this issue and make last-mile delivery faster.
- Automation of warehouses. This can help improve efficiency and productivity while at the same time reducing human labor. Automated robots and guided vehicles can significantly improve the productivity of warehouses and reduce the number of errors.
- The use of blockchain. Blockchain means better security. Moreover, it also guarantees transparency of transactions and reduces the processing time.
- Cloud computing. Cloud-based logistics solutions require low investment and allow better collaboration between companies.
Logistics Automation Solutions in the Shipping Sector
The main benefits of logistics automation are as follows:
- Automation minimizes human errors. When people input data or record certain items manually, they can make mistakes that can later lead to lots of issues. All of this usually results in a significant loss. Due to the automation of logistics, the number of manual operations will be reduced to the minimum and it will result in improved accuracy.
- Automation can reduce costs. When the number of human errors is reduced due to automation, shipping companies will avoid extra expenses. Not having to pay salaries to human employees is an obvious benefit, too.
- Better customer service. The main benefit of automated systems is the capability to provide customers with final shipping costs, and real-time information about the status of shipment. When customers can see where their packages are and how long it takes to deliver them, they will be glad to keep interacting with this brand.
- Availability of freight rates. The main benefit of logistics industry software is that it helps make transactions at any time and from any place. Moreover, it helps save money and reduce operational costs.
- Data analytics is always available. As a result, business owners can get access to the data at any moment and make relevant forecasts. Data analytics is a superb tool that helps strategically plan the budget.
Today, logistics automation is the main thing that can help make any logistics operation successful. It allows business owners to save on materials and costs. Moreover, automation increases the accuracy in the supply chain management processes.
The future dictates its rules. Automation means delivering faster and better services to customers. Therefore, the shipping sector should be focused on increasing automation as much as possible. Today, we are witnessing a transformation in the logistics area. It goes without saying that speed, efficiency, and accuracy are the main distinctive features of a logistics company that cares about its customers. If you want to enhance your logistics efficiency, it is time to invest in automation software.