Logistics is one of the sectors with the highest growth and consolidation in recent years. In the same way it is one of the sectors that major changes and transformations has been introduced, changes that will continue and we will see in the future, especially in the hand of technological applications.
Other challenges such as environmental impact or working conditions will be equally important and we will see how the sector faces them. In such a changing society where the transformations are made in questions of minutes or days, logistic cycles are increasingly shorter and with faster and faster operations.
We just have to look at the operations of electronic commerce that were made in 2009 and those that are made today 10 years later. The cycles of order, preparation and delivery of ecommerce purchases are increasingly shorter, today it is considered “standardized” that in 24 physical hours from the completion of the order is already in our hands delivered at home.
This means that if we analyze the sector and look to the future to see or anticipate the possible evolution of logistics we can see many opportunities that we try to analyze:
Technology as a driver of change
The arrival of technology has already generated many and varied changes in logistics through the transformation of operations. The introduction of barcode readers, goods positioning robots or SGA (control and logistics management programs) is the ABC in any logistics warehouse but this is only the beginning.
Possibly the most important aspect is the total connectivity in the logistics chain. By means of technology it will be possible to reduce errors and efficiency gaps, and with a correct information management, the logistics operator will be able to improve its procedures by reducing its production costs.
Another important aspect besides the connectivity will be the analysis of the generated data or what is commonly known as big data . Through the analysis of the data, logistics companies will be able to predict possible workflows by adapting the structures and allocating the right and necessary resources to be able to guarantee these operations but in an optimized way.
And to close the circle of connectivity, the future of the connection between client and logistics operator will be even greater than at present, producing a flow of information in real time vital for the good maintenance of the client’s business. Stock controls updated to the minute will be the usual tonic.
The customer as “center” of Logistics 4.0
The second important point for the logistics of the future besides technological advances will be to adapt chameleonically to the needs of the client. The customer will become the center of logistics and operations will only be the means to achieve adaptation to those needs.
The online channel grows in a brutal way, the immediacy that we previously recorded will be like a sword in the neck of logistics. The immediacy will be synonymous with satisfaction along with the personalization of the service and therefore the logistics sector will have to keep evolving in order to give a good response.
But not only immediacy will signal the day to day of logistics operations, other new demands appear in the future such as reverse logistics in a country like Spain which is the second country at EU level with a greater number of shipments returned with a figure close to 6%. Managing returns will be another fundamental role in which logistics must adapt its structures.
Not all the changes and improvements will be only those related to aspects such as technology, robots, connectivity or Big Data will be nothing without the proper management of the human team. The great change and transformation of the Logistica 4.0 will not only be technological but it will be human.
The incorporation of more technical profiles and the good training of the human teams are the key to logistics 4.0, we will not do anything having the best technology if we do not know how to use it, nor do we know how to direct this flow to the client. My recommendation is to form a good human team to form a good logistic partner.