The world of logistics is an ever-changing landscape—and it can be hard to keep up with the latest trends and technological advancements. Everyone is looking for a competitive advantage, but it’s often difficult to tell which ideas are worth latching on to and which ones are simply pipe dreams.
We’ve all heard of some of the wildest supply chain visions and innovations, from robot-driven automation in the warehouse to trucks that drive themselves to the destination. But are these futuristic concepts actually realistic? And more importantly, what do they mean for your business’s bottom line?
Here, we’ll take a close look at three buzzworthy trends in supply chains and logistics, with an eye to whether they might impact your company’s revenues in the future.
- Robots and Automation
Automation can seem like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s led to growing fears that existing employees’ jobs will be replaced by state-of-the-art technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. At the same time, automation promises lower costs and greater efficiency, which can be exciting to owners and executives seeking to massage the bottom line.
Warehouse robots already exist, and recent technological advancements have led some to speculate that they may soon become advanced enough to replace much of the human labor in the warehouse. However, we haven’t seen anything quite like that yet—and it remains to be seen whether such technologies will be affordable to the majority of businesses.
- Driverless Trucks
Companies like Google and Uber have made headlines in recent years for their experiments with self-driving cars—and Uber recently added fuel to the fire with the acquisition of Otto, a team working on the development of driverless trucks.
Uber has already tested the technology in some areas, and it claims that self-driving commercial trucks represent the next frontier for the industry, with advantages that could include both improved efficiency and greater safety. That said, driverless trucks face many barriers, including existing laws and regulations, so it’s unlikely that they’ll become a major force in the next few years.
- Disrupting Supply Chains and Logistics
Speaking of Uber, the company’s name has become synonymous with the idea of “disrupting” an industry—and logistics is no exception. Lately, it seems that trend forecasters are obsessed with the idea of “Uberizing” their logistics and supply chains, though it’s often unclear exactly what they mean.
The term is frequently used in conjunction with the “sharing economy,” which generally refers to app-based services like ride sharing and startups like Airbnb. In the context of logistics, it can refer to services that offer things like additional warehouse space and short-term workers online, but these disruptions are still in their early stages.
At MCG, we recognize the importance of keeping a finger on the pulse of logistics trends—but we also live in the here and now, where advancements in tech have already revolutionized shipping. From managed services that automate processes and lead to measurable cost savings to business intelligence (BI) that promotes greater efficiency, MCG’s services leverage technology to help businesses boost their revenues today.
Perhaps most impressive of all, a transportation management system (TMS), like MCG’s Transtream, can automate and simplify a wide range of logistics and supply chain tasks—from finding the lowest-cost carrier every single time, to monitoring shipping KPIs, to reducing costly data entry errors.
Don’t get hung on robots and driverless trucks—the future is already here. Contact MCG to try our savings analysis at no cost!