What is the Future of Logistics Automation in the Coming Year?

The logistics industry is constantly evolving in response to new advances in technology. Automation has been at the forefront of technological development for the last century. Logistics automation is going to continue to evolve in the years to come. It could even play a role in revitalizing the manufacturing industry.

A report by McKinsey tried to identify some of the biggest changes that have surfaced in logistics automation. Key decision-makers in the logistics industry will need to be aware of changes in technology and recognize the benefits that logistics automation bring to the table.

You can learn more about these changes by reading the report by McKinsey. Here is an excerpt from the article introducing the report:

“Many trends are thrusting automation toward the top of the logistics CEO’s agenda, not least these three: a growing shortage of labor, an explosion in demand from online retailers, and some intriguing technical advances. Put it all together, and McKinsey Global Institute estimates that the transportation-and-warehousing industry has the third-highest automation potential of any sector1 . Contract logistics and parcel companies (which, for sake of convenience, we will call simply “logistics companies”) particularly stand to benefit.”

How will new technological advances impact logistics automation in the near future? What changes can experts in this industry expectancy? Some of these expectations are outlined below.

The introduction of automated storage and retrieval systems

Logistics processes usually entail the retrieval and storage of various objects. In traditional logistics, these processes require extensive human involvement.

New breakthroughs in logistics automation have curtailed these issues considerably. This is one of the biggest ways that technology has changed business. They have led to the introduction of automated storage and retrieval systems. These new systems will streamline the transfer of objects in a number of ways.

The biggest benefit of this new automated storage and retrieval systems is that they minimize the need for human employees to be involved. The benefits of this are numerous. For one thing, it significantly reduces costs by minimizing the number of people needed to physically retrieve objects. It also minimizes the risk of injury considerably.

A number of different advances in automation logistics helped make these new retrieval systems possible. Arguably the most important development was the ability to transfer goods in three dimensions, so they could be moved with necessary precision.

Significant breakthroughs in logistics analytics

Analytics technology is also becoming more important in the logistics field. Logistics experts are emphasizing the growing number of benefits of analytics tools. These include:

  • Identifying major trends in the industry and responding to them
  • Helping executives make much higher quality decisions
  • Improving operating efficiency by identifying sources of waste and unnecessary expenditures

A number of changes are making analytics with logistics more effective. Machine learning technology is going to play an important role in improving analytics models over time.

Smart storage options

Smart storage is another important benefit of new forms of automation technology for logistics companies. They are using smart storage to reduce storage costs and make sure space is utilized as efficiently as possible. Storage options can be carefully selected according to the nature of the product in question, which minimizes the risk of using excessive space.

New 3-D printing capabilities

People have been talking about the benefits of 3-D printing for many years. However, we have only recently started to recognize its full potential.

The logistics industry is starting to evolve in response to new 3-D printing capabilities. These changes are going to help immensely with various manufacturing challenges. A number of the traditional constraints in manufacturing will be removed and logistics companies will streamline production and improve cost effectiveness as a result.

Reducing the risk of costly errors

Logistics companies have to contend with the growing risk of costly errors. Human error is one of the biggest causes of loss in almost every industry and the logistics field is no exception.

Automation is able to reduce these costs dramatically by removing human users from the equation in many situations. This will help logistics companies maintain a decent profit margin and pass some of the savings onto their customers.

Better customer service

Customer service is another area that logistics companies have to make a priority. They are discovering new ways to automate their customer service processes. This reduces the number of customer service professionals that they need to have on hand and helps them maintain a better customer satisfaction rate at the same time.