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Logistics: Trends Reshaping the Industry

By Dick Weisinger

Logistics has become a vital part of industries like manufacturing and ecommerce.  And the demands being put on it are encouraging many to  experiment with new technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, technologies that are transforming the industry.

The following are three trends that are changing the face of logistics:

Elastic Logistics is the ability to expand and shrink capabilities of the supply chain based on demand. It’s a little like the elastic capability of cloud computing. Logistics outsourced to third-party logistic providers allow businesses to size their fleet based on demand fluctuations.

The Amazon effect.  Expectations are high that orders will be delivered quickly.  C. John Langley, professor of supply chain management,  said that “the effect of Amazon is heightened expectations. Next week is no longer good enough. It’s got to be on its way now and arrive at destination within a day or two.”

Advances in driverless vehicles and new technologies like drones. Mary Long, managing director of the Supply Chain Management Institute, said that “wide-scale, routine, and fully autonomous deliveries are many years out. But incremental progress will be ongoing, featuring a wide range of less ambitious, limited-scale pilots. Platooning is the next big step and success there will help to open the door for driverless or remotely-piloted deliveries.”

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