We are entering a long-awaited holiday season, which is going to transport us to the new year of 2018. We discussed many topics in logistics this year including Blockchain, Electric vehicles, Robots and even Autonomous cargo ships and we can conclude that 2017 was a great year for the technology in logistics. We expect 2018 to lead the innovations on the data side of the industry with technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Predictive Analytics and Blockchain. What do you think 2018 will bring to logistics?
Welcome to the last issue of “Across Logistics” in 2017, where we are presenting you the latest innovative technologies in logistics and discussing some projections for the future of the industry.
Here is the list of topics in this issue:
Cyber Monday 2017 lessons for Logistics
This year’s Cyber Monday was likely the largest online shopping day in the history of the US and an important event for the retailers. On the logistics side of the business, however, the last week of November was quite stressful, with warehousing and delivery companies going into overdrive and getting into the busiest holiday season yet.
There were several important outcomes of 2017 Cyber Monday that were highlighted by AirCargoWorld:
- Although this Cyber Monday sales were up 16.8 percent compared to last year logistics Companies had the capacity to do the job.
- According to the estimates from Adobe, U.S. Retailers brought in nearly US$6.6 billion on Cyber Monday alone. But what makes this year different is that sales extended out in both directions, meaning that the weeks before and after hit the record numbers as well.
- Amazon was – unsurprisingly – the biggest winner and its name has become synonymous with e-commerce in the U.S. – and a lot of other countries.
- Nobody wants to pay for shipping anymore, and that’s going to put additional pressure on warehousing and delivery companies to cut costs.
Tesla Semi might face a “Mighty” competition
After the presentation of Tesla Semi Truck last month, several companies including PepsiCo, Wal-Mart and UPS announced that they have already made pre-orders for the new Semi, although the production will begin only in 2019. However, until then, there is some room for the competition to appear. Thor, an electric truck startup, has just announced that it plans to bring a heavy-duty electric vehicle to the market before the Tesla Semi is released.
Dakota Semler, a 25-year-old CEO of the company, highlights that there is definitely a room for a Thor Truck on the market – “The global truck market is a 410 billion dollar market. Class 7 and 8, the heaviest of the trucks, there’s a 40 billion dollar market. There’s a 13 billion dollar market for regional and medium-haul trucks.”
However, Thor faces a few disadvantages at the moment. The company is still in the prototype stage of the product, which means that they just modified the regular diesel truck. In addition to that, there is a lack of production scalability, something which both Tesla and established car manufacturers have.
Rolls-Royce and ESA to test remote-controlled shipping
As we have seen in many examples this year, technological collaboration in logistics usually demonstrates positive results. For instance, in August we mentioned an example of Ford and DHL collaborating on the electric delivery van which can save approximately five metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per vehicle per year. The European Space Agency (ESA) and Rolls-Royce have signed the Memorandum of Agreement in order to investigate how space technology can be used in the development of ships with autonomous and remote-control technologies. The goal of the project is to test and validate technologies like satellite-based positioning and Satcom connectivity.
“This partnership between ESA and Rolls-Royce will enable satellites to serve ship intelligence, marine operations, navigation, cargo logistics, maritime safety, healthcare, passenger and crew communications,” – explained Jan Wörner, ESA Director General.
What will be the most important trends and technologies in Logistics of 2018?
December is a good time to look back at what happened last year and to speculate what might happen in the field of logistics next year. According to the Global Supply Chain Council and SpendEdge, there are several trends that are going to shape the logistics and the supply chain in the upcoming year. We want to highlight a couple of them:
- Anticipatory Logistics. By studying the data-patterns, companies can predict the demand as well as plan and align the operations well in advance. Logistics players are adopting big-data algorithms, data-visualization techniques and predictive analytics to improve process efficiency and service quality. However, in 2018 the companies would start relying on geography-based search trends in order to anticipate demand for certain products in a region and ship it in advance.
- Blockchain in the Supply Chain. With the security and transparency it offers, blockchain is a solid way to store and share the transactional data and improve the credibility of transactions. While this year demonstrated the interest in the technology from the Logistics professionals, the next year Blockchain will have a bigger scope of discussion compared to 2017, which will inevitably lead to many more players testing and experimenting with this technology.
- AI and Machine Learning. In 2018, the adoption of AI systems and machine learning algorithms in logistics and supply chain analytics is expected to grow at a significant rate. The data cleansing and enrichment using AI techniques can help logistics players to improve data quality which can be used to feed the predictive and optimization systems, and would ultimately lead to increase in the operational efficiency.
There are, of course, much more to the technologies mentioned above, but we believe that those three can potentially have a lot of exposure in 2018. Which trends do you think will develop more in 2018? Let us know in the comments!
P.S. Holiday Greetings from Transmetrics
Thank you for reading our “Across Logistics” News Releases this year. We believe that discussing the technological advancements in logistics is not only exciting but also important as raising awareness of both the challenges and opportunities of the new technologies is bringing us closer to the real-world applications. We are truly grateful to our readers for sticking with us this year and are looking forward to keep bringing you the Transport, Logistics & Innovation news next year!
Happy holidays, everyone!