Transporting Through the WeekJanuary 16, 2020
International Roadcheck ReturningJanuary 29, 2020
Logistics in the Lurch
How good are the transportation palm readers?
Inbound Logistics posted a commentary three years ago. “Four Technologies Set to Change the Future of Logistics” took the angle of identifying the “disruptor, the means to newer and better things, and the destruction of old ways of life.”
Sounds ominous. Here are the four technologies.
3-D printing. “3-D printing could lead to consolidated manufacturing in one location rather than sourcing parts from all over the world, leading to a fall in shipping and air cargo volumes.” The example is a factory-manufactured car, which has some 30,000 parts. A 3-D printed car? Fifty parts.
The Internet of Things (IoT). “IoT could be used for asset tracking, inventory management, filing of orders, and predictive maintenance, among others.” Investment in IoT applications has skyrocketed, streamlining operations while excluding human interaction.
Drone Delivery. “Drones would help reduce the cost of delivery, would be easier to track, and would likely be an attractive draw for the end customer.” Amazon is experimenting with this, as is Domino’s, which was droning pizzas to homes in Australia.
Driverless Vehicles. We’ve, um, droned on about this (see HERE and HERE, for example). “Driverless vehicles could become an integral part of a logistics software solution, reducing the turnaround time of orders and human error, and ultimately helping companies save costs.”
So, picture companies in-house 3-D printing their warehousing needs. Think of a fully automated geo-location management system, linking driver to to origin to destination, and maybe that vehicle has no driver behind the wheel.
Collectively and separately, all of these innovations could put us ⏤ and the 3PL world ⏤ out of business and create such a disruption that we might one day look back on transportation as we now do the 8-track tape player today.
And then, the predictions show some cracks. (“There is a crack in everything,” sang Leonard Cohen. “That’s how the light gets in.”) We can’t readily picture a drone delivering a 16,000-pound yard ramp or a 120,000 excavator. Maybe a gaggle of CH-53K King Stallion helicopters. Not a drone.
We like the chaos and the uncertainty of future technology. Keeps us alert to the possibilities and how we adjust to meet the demands (and often the whims) of the market.
In the meantime, Team NATCO rolls into the roaring 20s with a keen focus on the present.