Innovation leads the progress. It has become an unstoppable process. And the only way to keep up with this process, when you are a part of a highly complex industry as logistics, is to innovate yourself. Companies that are waiting for innovation and just planning to implement some current trends will stay behind the companies who are investing in implementation at this exact moment. If DHL invests into Augmented Reality systems for warehouses and industry forecasts show that pilotless cargo planes and anticipatory logistics will be common practices in several years, why other logistics companies are still asking “Are we ready for this?” In our opinion, it is too late to ask such questions and it is the right time to test and invest in new technologies.
Welcome to the August Issue of “Across Logistics” Innovation News Release, where we are presenting you the latest innovations in logistics.
Here is the list of topics in this issue:
- Autonomous cargo planes to be in operation by early 2020s, report states
- DHL tests Augmented Reality in its warehouse operations
- Anticipatory logistics will bring the biggest impact on the supply chain
- Ford and DHL cooperate to bring the electric van to German operations
- Amazon patents an underwater storage technology
Are we ready for pilotless cargo planes?
As the logistics industry champion Dirk Reich pointed out in his interview with Transmetrics “Cargo doesn’t talk and cargo doesn’t walk”. Therefore air carriers experience different safety concerns while shipping cargo than while carrying passengers. That makes air cargo preferable for testing automated planes.
According to the report by UBS Evidence Lab, pilotless freighter aircraft could be a reality by the first half of the next decade. However, based on the survey of around 8000 people published in this report, most of them are cautious about getting aboard the self-piloted aircraft, while the reaction to freight carried on such aircraft was mostly positive. For air companies the benefit is clear – the report states that pilotless planes could save more than $30 billion per year for the airline industry as a whole, mostly from lower operating and training crew costs.
Augmenting the reality of Logistics
Augmented reality (AR) solutions have already been in sight for quite a while. Lifestyle AR glasses like Google Glass or Microsoft AR Headset Hololens have already demonstrated how powerful and helpful this technology can be for creative activities and work. However, it takes time and resources to develop a market version of a product, which has enough features to attract different customers. On the other hand, developing such a solution for a niche market such as warehouse operations, the development and test process of a device would take less.
DHL Supply Chain announced that they completed a smart glasses pilot program in its warehouses in the US and Europe. The article states that the tested eyewear provided users with “visual displays of order picking instructions along with information on where items are located and where they need to be placed on a cart, freeing pickers’ hands of paper instructions and allowing them to work more efficiently and comfortably”. The trials showed a 15% average improvement in productivity, leading DHL to adopt the solution as a long-term one, and to develop new areas of AR implication in its businesses.
Anticipatory logistics to have the biggest impact on the supply chain during the upcoming decade
According to the latest CSCMP’S Annual State of Logistics Report authored by AT Kearney, the anticipatory logistics, the main focus area of Transmetrics, along with Electric Fleets, Uberization of Freight and others were named as the most impactful trends in logistics for the next 10 years. By 2020, analytics and AI will be at the core of leading shippers’ and carriers’ operations and will help to optimize the supply chain performance. In addition to that, the report mentions that predictive analytics was identified as having the biggest impact on supply chain this decade.
Ford and DHL unveils the look of their electric delivery van
In our first news release, we discovered that logistics companies and car manufacturers can partner to create a vehicle based on the example of collaboration between Hermes and Mercedes. One more example proves that this might be a good strategy for collaboration. According to cnet.com, Ford demonstrated electric delivery vans for Deutsche Post DHL Group and its subsidiary, StreetScooter GmbH.
The vehicle, called StreetScooter Work XL, is based on the Ford Transit chassis and is powered by an electric drivetrain. According to Ford, “Each Work XL can save approximately five metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and approximately 500 gallons of diesel fuel each year”.
Amazon Patents Underwater Warehouses
We have already covered some brave and big steps Amazon takes to innovate and grow its business in previous news releases and in our article “Survival of the Fittest: What can we learn from Amazon’s strategic prowess?” The following step is likely to be described as creative and unusual. According to the latest news, Amazon filed a patent for the design of an underwater storage facility. It would be filled with goods stored inside the water-light containers with cartridges controlling the item’s depth in water. When a container with, for example, a pair of boots, needed to be retrieved, acoustic waves would be sent to activate the cartridge, which would send the package to the surface of the water by opening an air balloon.
It is not the first time Amazon is tackling the shortcoming of current on-land fulfillment centers. According to the article, ”The company has filed a patent for a fleet of massive storage airships that would be serviced by drones. It’s also submitted a patent for a beehive-like storage warehouse that drones could fly in and out of.
Thank you for reading our “Across Logistics” Innovation News Release. Subscribe for our updates, and enjoy the remaining summer days. See you next month!