4 Ways Technology Is Changing The Face Of Shipping … And What You Can Do To Take Advantage
Is there any facet of our lives and our businesses that hasn’t been transformed by technology? One sector, shipping, has been surprisingly transformed in just the last decade, and in subtle ways that may not be obvious to the average consumer.
Here are 4 ways technology has transformed shipping for companies of all sizes.
The Way We Order
Since the early 2000’s, life has been changing drastically for everyone who sells, ships, or delivers physical products. The idea that someone can purchase something without a phone call, without a mail in order, or without an in-person visit, is a kind of voodoo that just 20 years ago people would have balked at.
Receiving electronic PO’s (or Purchase Orders) can certainly speed up the process for the company who’s selling, as well as make things more organized. It can also require more speed, however, from said seller. Customers expect a quick turnaround time, and big companies like Amazon are investing quite a bit to meet that expectation.
The Way We Process
This is where the robots start coming in. Amazon recently acquired Kiva Systems, a move that has rewarded them with what might be called the robotic crossbreed between a Roomba and a forklift. These little machines are autonomous, dance around each other the way we hope self-driving cars will, and do a large portion of the “picking” work required for putting together Amazon shipments. Developments like these are helping reduce processing time, making the turnaround between click to delivery all the shorter.
The Way We Ship
Changes are also being made to how items are being transported cross-country, and across countries. The automaton revolution is branching out to include ocean freight, as companies are working to develop ships that function much like air drones, where onshore oversight reduces or even eliminates the need for crew on the ship. This of course reduces labor costs, as you don’t have to pay somebody to swab the deck.
In addition to ships, trains are making a comeback (of all things). Turns out, they’re pretty efficient machines, now that they don’t run on steam. Shipping companies are running their goods out on a rail more frequently, as it reduces the number of vehicles on the road, thus reducing their carbon footprint. It doesn’t hurt that most trains are pulled by diesel-electric engines already.
The Way We Deliver
Technology is changing the fate of shipments once it nears its final destination, as well. Packages are processed, scanned, sorted, and loaded all with the help of electronics. What’s more, we have new changes in the works. Uber is open to using its services to deliver packages, as mentioned in the link above. If you time it right, you might even be able to get a delivery and a ride. And Amazon’s terminators air drones are no secret any more. They recently made their first delivery in the UK. And with the recent success Google has had with its self-driving cars, expect more automation on the way.
How to Ride the Robot Uprising
The key to capitalizing on all of this change is keeping abreast of it as it comes. Study up on what’s new, and what new technologies are available for your business. If that seems a bit vague, or if you’d rather not go it alone, you can also partner with someone who keeps up on the latest tech trends, like Elite OPS. Elite OPS can help with logistics, warehousing, inventory management and more, increasing your business organization and management speed.