Top 10 Supply Chain and Logistics Technology Trends in 2020

logistics technology trends

Increasing technology innovations are making big waves across industries, and logistics and the supply chain may be one of the most impacted sectors. Notorious for its heavy use of manual processes and large amounts of data stored in different ways and in different places, the logistics industry has perhaps the most to gain from implementing new technologies and following the most innovative Supply Chain and Logistics technology trends.

Recent years have seen massive advancement for the logistics industry in areas like artificial and augmented intelligence, advanced analytics, and automation, to name just a few. These technologies have evolved faster than ever while startups with even newer solutions and innovations continue popping up at a rapid rate. But attached to these innovations are new expectations and standards, forcing logistics companies to either adapt or fall behind. Much pressure comes from customers in the form of individuals and enterprises, all of who are demanding their products or services come faster and cheaper than ever before.

But advancements in technologies aren’t the only big changes influencing the industry. From new shipping regulations to growing global tensions and trade wars, and a predicted economic recession, logistics companies will need to be alert and prepared for 2020. For example, carriers are already working hard to meet the global 0.5% Sulphur cap, which goes into effect on January 1, 2020. It would affect up to 70,000 ships, according to IMO estimates, and could lead to a 20-30% increase in total fuel costs, which would ultimately be passed on to customers.

Global trade wars and tensions like that of China and the U.S. have continued affecting logistics operations. In 2018, trade tariffs affected $34 billion worth of Chinese products imported into the U.S., with China also taking costly countermeasures on U.S. imports. The European economy has also been going into a downturn as Brexit concerns continue weighing heavily on European countries, and the U.S. economy has also been growing weaker. All of these issues are signaling a possible global recession in 2020, which would make things much more difficult for logistics companies.

There is much to consider as 2020 quickly approaches. Companies within the logistics and supply chain sphere must continue getting ready for all of these bigger changes with innovations. From digital twins to blockchain to real-time supply chain visibility, Transmetrics has identified the Top 10 important logistics technology trends your company should be keeping an eye on in 2020: 

Logistics Startup of the Month: Sixfold

Sixfold

Every month we select one logistics startup which represents a positive example of innovation in Logistics and Supply Chain and has the potential to alter the way the industry operates. This month, Transmetrics selected Sixfold, the leading European visibility platform, as the “Logistics Startup of the Month” for its outstanding contribution to the development of real-time visibility solutions for supply chains.

In order to learn more, we have talked with Mart Kelder, the Co-Founder of Sixfold, about the startup’s journey and how real-time visibility can change the landscape of the industry.

Logistics of the Future: Best Artificial Intelligence Logistics Startups

Best AI Logistics Startups

This article about the best artificial intelligence logistics startups is part of the “Logistics of the Future” series looking at the top logistics startups today.

We are officially living in the age of Artificial Intelligence. It’s everywhere we look, from AI-powered personal assistants to predictive analytics to making medical diagnoses, Artificial Intelligence is making incredible advances across all industries. Finance, healthcare, education, transportation — and now, in logistics and the supply chain. In fact, a recent report on the state of Artificial Intelligence for enterprises found that supply chain and operations are some of the top areas where businesses are driving revenue from AI investment.

Why is AI making such a big difference in the logistics and supply chain, particularly? The answer most likely stems from the fact that typically, the logistics industry has lagged a bit behind when it comes to implementing new technologies — in fact, one survey reported that 85% of shippers and consignees agreed that the industry is either “slow to change” or “far behind the curve.” But those that do adopt new tech such as AI, predictive analytics, blockchain solutions, RFID tagging and Internet of Things devices are ultimately able to see high ROI and improved efficiency for their businesses.

From last-mile delivery robots, to warehouse automated picking systems and predictive optimization software, Artificial Intelligence is already making a huge difference in the logistics industry in a variety of ways that benefit everyone — carriers, shippers, suppliers, consumers — even the environment is benefitting from AI solutions in the supply chain. With dozens of incredible artificial intelligence logistics startups already out there using new tech to make real change in the industry, we’ve chosen a diverse set to highlight:

Logistics Startup of the Month: SHIPSTA

Shipsta

Every month we select one logistics startup which represents a positive example of innovation in Logistics and Supply Chain and has the potential to alter the way the industry operates. This month, Transmetrics selected SHIPSTA, the leading eProcurement platform, as the “Logistics Startup of the Month” for its innovative focus on logistics procurement solutions.

The company offers products that provide the direct link between shippers and logistics service providers, procurement, handling which are optimizing transport capacities and reducing freight costs. In order to learn more, we have talked with Christian Wilhelm, the Co-Founder of SHIPSTA, about the startup’s journey and how eProcurement can improve logistics operations.

Two Approaches to Tackle the Repositioning of Empty Containers

Repositioning of Empty Containers

The global economy, as it functions today, has become completely dependent on container shipping to succeed. 95% of all manufactured goods in the world arrive at their destinations courtesy of this massive industry. But despite the growing reliance on container shipping, there’s one industry-wide problem that remains to be solved: the repositioning of empty containers. Unfortunately, one out of three containers being moved is empty — estimating around 60 million empty container moves per year at an annual cost of $20 billion to the industry. Apart from the enormous profit wastes, these empty containers are also come at a big cost to the environment, due to the extra fuel consumption, congestion, and shipping emissions.

Logistics of the Future: Best IoT Logistics Startups

Best IoT Logistics Startups

This article about the best IoT logistics startups is part of the “Logistics of the Future” series looking at the top logistics startups today.

Everything is connected. In fact, there are currently over 26 billion connected devices in the world today, and that number is only expected to skyrocket further to 75 billion by 2025. So what do all of these connected devices mean for the world of logistics? Quite a lot, actually. By using connected devices, logistics companies can offer better location tracking, improved environment sensing, transparent fleet management, and eco-friendly shipping, to name a few. In fact, Cisco and DHL estimated that IoT technologies could create $1.9 trillion in economic value for the global supply chain and logistics sector. 

Why has IoT made such a big impact on the logistics industry in such a short time? One big reason comes from the increasing popularity of third-party logistics companies in recent years, which offer an easier way to maintain the entire supply chain. To manage logistics from the outside, these third-party companies are using asset tracking through connected devices to make the process smooth and seamless. Tagged parcels and containers allow warehouses to track inventory, vehicles, and equipment through cloud services. Fleet management also becomes easier through real-time monitoring of vehicle and driver performance, using collected data to improve operations. This includes increasing fuel efficiency, implementing preventative maintenance and making operations proactive instead of reactive.

IoT sensor technology is also vital for the logistics companies of today: with sensors allowing full visibility inside shipments while they’re in motion, helping to ensure they reach their destination in the customer’s anticipated condition. The Internet of Things contains a multitude of possibilities which logistics tech startups are now taking advantage of: In 2018, 60% of global manufacturers used analytics data recorded from connected devices to review their processes and identify optimization possibilities. And according to General Electric, the implementation of these IoT devices will add $10 to $15 trillion to worldwide gross domestic product growth by 2030 – the equivalent of China’s entire current economy.

Companies from around the globe are discovering more exciting ways to exploit the Internet of Things for additional efficiency and productivity. Here are some of the most exciting IoT logistics startups in the game today:

Logistics Demand Forecasting: The Benefits of AI & How to Implement It

Logistics Demand Forecasting

For many logistics companies, the road to digital transformation and AI implementation is not an easy one. In an industry that has largely been run by pen, paper, and phone for decades, the transition to using modern software and tools can seem challenging and even overwhelming. What many of these companies don’t realize, however, is that they are creating an even bigger challenge for themselves by not implementing some of this cutting-edge technology into their operations. 

Companies who don’t use logistics demand forecasting find that it makes the operational planning of assets very difficult. The multi-faceted problem requires businesses to consider how many assets they need, whether or not those assets are positioned correctly at any given moment in time, and how to best plan the technical breaks.

This is a very complicated problem to solve, as it requires a large volume of interdependent information. Luckily, logistics companies already generate a tremendous amount of data internally and have access to even more data from public sources. Nevertheless, the challenge remains that only a few tools currently exist which allow companies to synthesize all of this information and enable data-driven decision-making in conjunction with the experience and instincts of their managers.

But with the help of modern predictive optimization tools, logistics companies can shift to an anticipatory strategy based on accurate demand forecasting, and thereby achieve far greater operational efficiency. Let’s take a look at what exactly logistics demand forecasting does, how it works and its many benefits for logistics companies.