The logistics process has always been a challenge because the best ways to facilitate and ensure delivery have been sought to make the circulation process more efficient. However, the process has also been revolutionizing faster and faster in our times. The second industrial revolution was important because, for the first time, it could be produced in series and supply to demand was effective, through assembly lines and electricity. There’s a fourth revolution occurring, and Randall Castillo, the founder of RACO Investments and an import/export expert in Central America, discusses some of the trends that are coming to the logistics industry.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) allows anyone to configure computer software that makes it possible for a robot to emulate human actions on digital systems to execute a business process. One of the biggest questions most people are currently asking is whether in the future machines will replace humans. Says Castillo, “We can’t tell whether or not this can happen (although chances are it’s not); however, what’s true is that collaborative work in the logistics industry between humans and machines is going to increase.”
This is because automation plays a crucial role in the supply chain, facilitates workers’ work, and speeds up delivery too much. Add to that that the initial investment (although it seems extravagant) is low and the profits arrive very fast, this is certainly one of the biggest trends in logistics.
The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the connection of physical objects to the Internet. The purpose of this is to collect user information through devices that connect to the Internet and deliver it to better understand the consumer. These devices range from mobile, computers to new smart home technologies, such as Amazon’s Alexa. The next step in this technology is to take you to vehicles, warehouses, and points of sale to collect data needed to improve production visibility, preventive maintenance, and inventory management. Adds Castillo, “IoT technology could generate big money savings as it would help to have a better projection of the money that needs to be invested in equipment maintenance and upgrade.”
The blockchain is a shared database that resembles a buy-sell transaction logbook, or any other transaction. In other words, blockchain is a decentralization of all the data in a transaction. At the same time, it promotes transparency in trade and in the process of distributing goods. This is important for foreign trade and logistics because this will provide an accurate view of data on the origin of the products. According to some studies, 32% of companies worldwide are already in the process of developing blockchain, and 20% are in a period of research. This will be the most profound in logistics trends.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has taken huge steps in the area of logistics. Without a doubt, for logistics managers it will be a great help to deal with the fluctuating demands of supply chain operations, since being able to forecast through AI problems while integrating solutions will save a lot of money from the additional operating cost. AI will not only help select better delivery routes, but also help manage intelligent warehouses run by robots for better control and reduce delivery time. In addition, new ways of transporting goods will be influenced as artificial intelligence and autonomous means of transport advance.
Much has already been speculated about the advancement of the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) in the delivery of products and packages. Self-driving cars and drones are already a reality, but there’s still a lot to do. Free transit laws that allow the functional mobility of these technologies must continue to be thought of and regulated. By 2021, ITS smart solutions are expected to spread. “Drones may be one of the most ambitious projects of 2021, as they are one of the best options to get to remote locations without investing a lot of money,” states Castillo. “Expanding the ways of trading traditions is complicated, involves investing strong amounts of money and time. Drones, on the other hand, involve less investment for many cases and promise better work than traditional means of transport. Today they are able to carry up to 330 pounds and have enough autonomy to make long-range deliveries.”