Digitalization in the freight industry has been a slow but unavoidable process. A lot has changed since the old days of vintage shipping to how it’s being done nowadays. There are now fully automated port terminals, autonomous ships, freight benchmarking services, proposals of a floating warehouse, drones being used for cargo deliveries, and software developed to automate and optimize companies’ operations. This article discusses the digital technologies that revolutionize freight shipments.
AI and Big Data in Managing Freight Shipments
The capabilities of AI are seriously ramping up company efficiencies in the areas of predictive demand and network planning. Having a tool for accurate demand forecasting and capacity planning allows companies to be more proactive. By knowing what to expect, they can decrease the number of total vehicles needed for transport and direct them to the locations where the demand is expected, which leads to significantly lower operational costs. The tech is using data to its full potential to better anticipate events, avoid risks and create solutions. This allows organizations to then modify how resources are used for maximum benefit – and Artificial Intelligence can do these equations much faster and more accurate than ever before.
The power of Big Data is allowing logistics companies to forecast highly accurate outlooks and optimize future performance better than ever before. The insights of Big Data, especially when generated by AI, can improve many facets of the supply chain like route optimization and supply chain transparency.
Warehousing and Inventory Tracking
With IoT devices connected to a smartphone app, there is no need to scan the shipping units manually. Instead, may put tags on the units and a purpose-built device will scan once under observations object moves in front of the device.
Results of this scan are then sent to the smartphone. There is no need to be present on-site. The smartphone displays the results regardless of the current location. Besides tracking the inventory, effective warehouse management can also be achieved. IoT can help replenish the stores, make aggregate planning, and locate any item in a moment.
Fleet management is yet another area which gets a positive sea impact of the Internet of Things. The entire operations of fleet management is transformed from that of a reactive mode to a more proactive mode. The right integrations of technology into the day to day movement structure will give chance to act and make correct changes based on real-time information and predictive analysis thereby in a way enabling predictive proactive measures. The customers are informed of such changes well in advance about their cargo movement and the changes done with reasons behind the delay in shipments. Hence alterations are not done after an event has occurred but even before untowardly events can occur by predicting the same well in advance. This is because IoT provides logistics companies crucial and real-time access to data and better visibility to customers.
In the logistics domain, IoT creates a smart location management system that enables companies to easily track driver activities, vehicle location, and delivery status. Once goods are delivered or come to a certain place, a manager is notified by a push message. Such a solution is an irreplaceable assistant in delivery planning and compilation and viewing of schedules. All changes are instantly detected and reflected in real-time. So, IoT technology can be successfully used for improving location management and streamlining business processes.
Blockchain in Managing Freight Shipments
For many organizations, the ability to more effectively track goods across the supply chain is one of the most appealing benefits of Blockchain. However, there are many applications for the technology within the transportation industry.
Blockchain, through which the entire network contributes to data validation, brings trust to the entire eco-system. In addition, because data is stored in a decentralized manner, the integration of data is simplified, and all systems connect to a single node to access trusted data.
Blockchain validates transactions and store and shares records. Rather than rely on internal resources to validate carriers, Blockchain function as the network itself. Network members could be incentivized for their work similar to the manner in which miners are currently rewarded with ethers through the Ethereum system. Another significant advantage of this model is that the network adds the new node to the public ledger, allowing other participants to consume the data without additional effort.
Data authenticity problems associated with load boards can be addressed by implementing a Blockchain in the heart of this business model feeding (1) Single source of truth, (2) No Duplication, (3) No Stale date and (4) Accurate demand forecasting.
A key difference is that the data validation process is much more refined in the Blockchain model since it would provide cryptocurrency incentives to members who provide this value. This model would also encourage research by providing all pertinent data in a single location. The decentralized phenomenon allows each business entity to have a node in the local network, providing easier integration to the single version of the truth while protecting sensitive information via cryptography.
Autonomous Vehicle Technologies in Managing Freight Shipments
Increase efficiency and productivity
Autonomous robots can reduce labor costs and increase productivity by continuously working around the clock without fatigue. In material transportation environments, robots can seamlessly zip past each other, humans, or other moving objects due to technology capabilities which allows the robot to equip themselves with collision avoidance capabilities, ensuring it will be able to react as quickly as any human can react to potential accidental run-ins.
Reduce error, rework, and risk rates
Robot setup and implementation is getting faster and easier than ever before. Learning models are becoming more intuitive, allowing any technician or employee to feed information to an autonomous robot in a matter of minutes or hours. Additionally, these learning models allow robots to respond to sudden changes, adapt to stimuli, and improve manufacturing methods based on build results.
Improve safety for employees in high-risk work environments
Autonomous robots can test, pick, pack, sort, build, inspect, or transport materials of various sizes and weights faster and more efficiently than ever. Drones are already used to monitor hazardous areas, including control towers, agricultural fields, and mines, and for general security and surveillance.
Perform lower value, mundane task for humans
Via multiple advanced sensors, the truck could detect traffic lanes, immobile objects, and other vehicles. With full autonomy, the truck safely maneuvered through the route, demonstrating the potential for drivers to spend long hours on the road-focused on other tasks, such as planning routes, organizing documentation, or completing training
Enhance revenue by improving perfect order fulfillment rates
In material handling or process-centric scenarios, error reduction and cycle time improvement can help increase customer loyalty and drive sales growth for companies in any industry. As supply chain operations continue to shift focus to direct customer needs, autonomous robots can serve the end consumer with better service and faster response times.
It is really important that all of the industry players keep up with technological advances and join the new digital era. Those who do not are at risk of being left out of the market and even vanishing in time. It will not be long until the digital transformation completely takes over the whole market. New technologies will continue to play an increasingly pivotal role in the freight forwarding industry in the near distant future. By having hi-tech equipment available, companies are able to see improvements in performance and efficiency rates enabling them to provide better services to customers.
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