Modern technologies change the landscape of reality. International trade undergoes major changes due to the implementation of cutting-edge tools. Logistics today is a highly digitalized area that doesn’t have borders. Robots that pack goods and drones that deliver packages are not characters of a fantasy movie. AI is working on the best solutions right now. If you want to know 2024 automation trends, keep reading!
What is automation in logistics?
Logistics is a cornerstone of the effective distribution of goods. This is a complex multi-level sphere consisting of hundreds of smaller and simpler processes. Many of these repetitive processes and operations require manual labor and consume a lot of time. Hence, automation is the implementation of tech solutions and algorithms into the supply chain for better accuracy and overall productivity.
Automation involves incorporating various elements, such as AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), robots, data analytics, etc. These technologies can perform typical tasks much faster and more effectively. Together, they create an environment that has revolutionized the industry and continues to progress. New systems have transformed the way goods are stored and delivered. Employing a logistics automation system can dramatically boost the efficiency of your business.
Common automation trends
Modern technologies make it possible to automate almost everything. Now, developers come up with ideas that were barely imaginable even ten years ago. 2024 is the year of emerging new trends and deepening the old ones. The diversity of tools listed in this article is due to the diverse nature of logistics itself. So, what can you automate?
Warehouse management systems
Warehouse workflows are the foundation of future distribution. They include placing the items, packing, and sorting of goods. Proper control of all processes enables smooth shipments and careful storage of the company’s products. Modern management systems are more than just manual tracking and counting the inventory. Today, they incorporate various technologies like automated guided vehicles, conveyor belts, and robotic systems. All these machines perform much faster than people and contribute significantly to the company’s sales.
Transportation management systems
Cargo transportation includes planning the routes, selecting carriers, and preparing all the supporting documents. Each stage can be optimized and automated. To optimize the routes, modern TMS (transport management systems) use AI, which can instantly analyze dozens of factors and develop the best option. This can save a lot of time, fuel, and human labor. Moreover, IoT devices enable continuous monitoring of goods and controlling timely delivery.
Autonomous vehicles and drone delivery
Self-driving trucks and drones exist and are doing their jobs right now. The first experiments took place more than 20 years ago, and now, in 2024, this method of transportation is actively progressing. It significantly reduces labor costs and has many other benefits. For example, drones are eco-friendly and don’t depend on traffic conditions within a city.
AI and data analysis help entrepreneurs to forecast future trends and conditions. Whether we speak of customer demands or equipment failures, proper predictions allow us to be proactive and respond to fluctuations before they occur. For example, companies can develop “plans B,” conduct maintenance, or increase production.
Robotic process automation
Robots can quickly and accurately perform boring and repetitive tasks in warehouses. They don’t get tired and never make mistakes. Today, machines move, pack, and sort goods better than human workers. In fact, the decent part of a supply chain does without people. For example, the products can be delivered to the warehouse by a driverless truck, packed by robots, and sent to a customer with a drone. With time, this technology will develop and become more popular and affordable.
Advantages of logistics automation
Large companies automate the majority of processes and, thus, increase the efficiency of their operations. Here are the main benefits of logistics automation:
- Cost reduction. This is true for labor costs and for expenses associated with returns.
- Minimizing errors. Proper algorithms and accurate machines almost don’t make mistakes.
- Ability to scale. With automation, you can increase production quickly.
- Sustainability. You are not dependent on force majeure, layoffs, or other human-related problems.
- Competitive edge. With modern tools, you are way ahead of most of your competitors.
Logistics automation is an essential part of any medium and big business. If you haven’t transformed your processes yet, it is a good time to do it. Modern ways to boost efficiency include enhanced WHS, robotic process automation, utilization of drones, predictive analysis, and many more. They can significantly reduce your costs, help you to scale the company, and make you stand out among competitors. So, think strategically, develop your business, and boost efficiency in 2024!