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Logistics and Industry 4.0: the changes taking place

Posted by SI-LOG on 02/08/2018

Logistics and Industry 4.0: the changes taking place

SI-LOG 02/08/2018 pubblicato in english, transport

A strong and in-depth evolution new technologies is influencing positively the Transport and Logistics Industry. IoT (Internet of Things), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence: technologies traditionally used by the Industry 4.0 mean that the major economic players of the industry feel the necessary for digital transformation, since the needs of their clients are rapidly changing. 

Major investments mainly concern 4 key areas of Industry 4.0. What are they? Continue reading the article to find out. 


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Introduction to new client-oriented services.
In a general context of strong change, where clients are modifying their buying habits, Logistics Providers have to adapt and modify their services, introducing new ones. The modularization of logistic services linked to client demands mean that suppliers logistic services go from a primarily cost reduction approach to one based on actual customer request and need. 

While there are a number of new technologies that will affect the transportation and logistics industry, here are some critical ones to keep on your radar: 


1. Models of Sharing Economy.

Sharing Economy, is an economic model often defined as a peer-to-peer (P2P) based activity of acquiring, providing or sharing access to goods and services that are facilitated by a community based on-line platform, which substitutes ownership of goods, sharing access amongst more players, also benefits Logistics providers. According to a study carried out by DHL, logistics solutions of sharing economy are:

  •  Truly shared warehousing mean that warehouses are multi-customer warehouses. In other words, the logistics sector owner makes available empty-space rental-time in big warehouses.
  • Urban discreet warehousing: the concept of urban discreet warehousing is the sharing of personal storage space in urban homes (for example basements, garages, unused space in homes, back offices and vacant domestic properties, etc.); such as Makespace. Their service, via mobile phone and a web platform, includes picking up, storage and retrieval on demand.
  • Community goods on-demand, a great opportunity for logistics providers to offer on-demand pick-up and delivery networks, thanks to the launch of a sharing platforms (a service through which one can rent household items nearby, with delivery and pick up at a time and place which suits the client (small appliances, hardware appliances, etc.) such as Omni and Peerby. Clearly there is much scope for logistics providers to offer their unique knowledge, along with their storage, packing and transport facilities, to make services like these, work more efficiently. The involvement of a logistics company with a good reputation can also bring platform users a greater feeling of trust when exchanging items, which greatly enhances the experience for them.
  • Logistics asset sharing are great opportunities for logistics businesses to lead consumers their small and medium-sized delivery trucks in the evenings or at weekends. As well as offering insurance coverage; 
  • Transport capacity sharing, today's rapid growth in digital platforms for freight brokerage is helping to deal with the wasteful practice of driving empty or partly filled trucks. Leaders in this field include DHL’s Saloodo! in Europe, Freightos, Convoy and Loadsmart in America, and Huochebang in China. Benefiting from mobile technology’s flexible capabilities, such as real-time communication and data flow, location tracking, document capture and secure payment, these platforms can also address other inefficiencies. For example, delays caused by traffic, slow loading and communication lag, as well as inefficient transaction processes, can be avoided. 
  • On-demand Staffing, offering quick matching of freelance workers with suitable jobs in sectors including logistics and personal errands. To help meet the increasingly complex and urgent demands of first - and last-mile logistics. 
  • Logistics Data Sharing, sharing of data that can be analysed to help develop new services and products. 

Process automation
As companies and warehouse managers look to streamline operations, improve efficiency and production, and reduce costs, Industry 4.0 enabling technologies favour process automation, particularly in reference to warehouses, which have a significant impact on the quality of the offer and on service costs. The benefits of warehouse automation are multi-fold.  The more they are automated the more end users needs are met. Warehouse automation increases speed, better yet, systems optimize routes and maximize productivity during the product retrieval process, maximize space, better inventory counts – by reducing human error, warehouse automation can streamline inventory management, allowing for more accurate inventory counts and related inventory data. It also enhances safety.


Use of Big Data
Big Data helps organizations harness their data and use it to identity new opportunities. That, in turn, leads to smarter business moves, more efficient operations, higher profits and happier customers. Accessing new sources of data from logistic processes has always been one of the major challenges in gauging customer needs and satisfaction, in reducing risks, optimising use of resources, implementing flexibility and reaction of the supply chain. The new benefits that big data analytics brings to the table, however, are speed and efficiency. What are the useable data? For example, big data logistics can be used to optimize routing, to streamline functions, and to give transparency to the entire supply chain, for the benefit of both logistics and shipping companies alike. big data in logistics gives a large selection of possible data sources, including: traditional enterprise data from operational systems, Traffic & weather data from sensors, monitors and forecast systems, Vehicle diagnostics, driving patterns, and location information, Financial business forecasts, Advertising response data, Website browsing pattern data, Social media data. 

So clearly, there are many ways that data systems can be fed the information they need. All of these data sources and potential use cases have led DHL to say that big data and automation technology will lead to “previously unimaginable levels of optimization in manufacturing, logistics, warehousing and last mile delivery”.

Understanding the advantages of digitalization and what changes are involved in logistics processes is very important for those who want to exploit a logistics service in step with the times, which can guarantee a high level of technological innovations and, consequently, valuable competitive factors. To further investigate the disruptive trends that are changing the logistics world, click the image below and download our free white-paper.


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