There’s no doubt that the way in which we shop is changing, and this having a significant impact on both UK high streets and the burgeoning ecommerce market. There was a total of 1,772 store closures nationwide in 2017, for example, whilst online sales increased by a staggering 15.9% during the same 12-month period.
Clearly, consumers are eschewing traditional retail outlets and purchasing more goods online than ever before, but despite this they still demand the instantaneous gratification and flexibility of shopping in-person. This is creating a significant challenge for brands and the logistic industry on which they’ve come to rely, with technology playing a key role in driving fulfillment nationwide.
But how is technology impacting on the logistics sector, and how is this helping to meet the increasingly demanding nature of shoppers?
- The Rise of Smart Shipping
One way in which logistics firms are responding the challenge is by embracing the concept of smart shipping, which leverages the Internet of Things (IoT) to collate real-time data, process information and deliver live updates to stakeholders.
The IoT also underpins the concept of smart shipping, which utilises a number of intuitive sensors that collate live data at every stage of the delivery process. Including individual processes like route optimisation to the efficient tracking of goods, this enhances the supply chain considerably whilst also boosting the typical journey for online shoppers.
In many ways, this represents the evolution of GPS technology, which aided route optimisation but struggled to collate to deliver real-time updates. So, whether drivers were delivering a large parcel or carrying a huge international shipment, they were unable to operate as efficiently or cost-effectively as required.
In this respect, smart technology not creates opportunities for logistics firms to update and revolutionise their service, but it also establishes a foundation for innovative practices such as delivery sharing.
- The Emergence of Eco-friendly Ships
Transporting goods overseas often represents the first step of getting them from the warehouse to the consumer, particularly with so many firms continuing to outsource manufacturing as a way of reducing operational costs.
However, this aspect of logistics has come under scrutiny of late, as companies are required to comply with stringent environmental measures and find a more eco-friendly way of shipping their goods.
This is where eco-friendly ships come into play, especially those that are powered by sustainable energy like wind. These vessels leverage trade winds and natural ocean currents to ferry ships and their cargo from port-to-port, whilst offsetting potentially slower travel times by utilising lighter materials are considerably more aero-dynamic.
- Using Automated Trucks
On a similar note, we’ve also seen automation play an increasingly integral role in the global logistics market.
One prominent example of this exists in the form of automated trucks, which are increasingly being used to ship goods across the globe. Apple and Google both have autonomous vehicles (including ships and trucks) in development, as the concept of automation extends beyond production and container handling.
The use of such vehicles would dramatically cut operational costs for brands and haulers, optimising profitability and enabling firms to reinvest into the new technologies that underpin their venture.
This will also reduce the risk of human error, which can have a significant impact on bottom line profitability.