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How technology has evolved in logistics 

Logistics and technology have continuously operated hand in hand and are still evolving with robots at the helm

self driving semi truck from tusimple transportion
Image: TuSimple

Moving people and things around the world is a part of life in modern society. However, the logistics of this process can prove complicated when the transport is across state lines or international boundaries.

Different regulations and expectations in each region can become convoluted and confusing. 

In today’s logistic scramble, you can track and move cargo or people anywhere in the world. However, location isn’t the only part of the process that companies can inquire with technology to make things move more smoothly.

Businesses can often track vehicles used in fleet transport for routine maintenance with tools created to alert them when servicing is needed. Extended warranties, such as the Carshield Warranty, can keep your fleet running smoothly on the road.

semi truck driving down road in the rain
Image: Unsplash

In addition to keeping track of maintenance received, you can also track manufacturer recalls and repairs on significant car parts that would cost enough to be detrimental to your allotted budget without the warranty.

When you take your fleet vehicle in for routine maintenance, the Vehicle Identification Number becomes handy to track the service done and how long it took.

The process is accessible by most modern mechanic shops and reduces the workload for worldwide logistics managers. 

Technology is critical in tracking shipments of products

fedex trucks
Image: Midland Paper

Every business worldwide that works with products knows the stress of missing a load and being unable to track its location.

Whether it’s a book order for your small bookshop in a bustling neighborhood or the first shipment of Sony and Honda’s new electric car partnership, it’s critical to know where your products are. 

When consumers purchase a product from your business, and it’s time to ship it, technology is working to prepare it for transport.

You can calculate, pay for, and print your shipping label without leaving your office. Technology also allows you to schedule a shipment pickup and track it to your customer’s door for assured satisfaction. 

A few generations ago, we had to drop a package in the mail and hope for the best.

Moving things around the world for business has become easier with each passing year, and none of that would be possible without the technological advancements we’ve seen recently.

It’s a fact that technology advances exponentially and is always under constant evolution. 

The miracle of data transfer capabilities

server hosting

Logistics doesn’t exclude the products involved in data and digital media. For example, organizing the details required to run a streaming service or a web-based education program is extensive.

However, with technology and minimal data entry work on a program’s back end, millions of people can access the information they would not have had without the programs and apps on the market. 

Sending files and forms between offices on the other side of the world is much easier now. With security tech developed as it has, it’s safer to send password-protected, confidential, or encrypted data over the web.

There’s so much information just wandering around the web that it takes a sophisticated rendering of different technologies to keep all of it going to the people it should be reaching. 

Technology and automation

mirobot robotic arm
Image: Mirobot

Part of logistics is creating a product in a timely and efficient manner.

As our robotic technology has evolved, we’ve produced more products with less waste and made them available in a much larger market than any generation before.

While there is a constant fear that we’ll be losing our jobs to robots, there will always be a need for automation technicians and those who design, build, and maintain the robotic systems used to automate the process. 

Beyond manufacturing, many warehouses now use automation systems to select and pack products to ship. One of the largest corporations to automate their systems with robots is Amazon.

There are floors of carefully programmed tower robots in newly built Amazon distribution warehouses.

Outlined below is the process of an Amazon distribution center’s logistics to get a package to you from the click on your computer. 

boston dynamics stretch warehouse bot moving boxes
Image: Boston Dynamics

How a distribution center’s logistics function from start to finish

  • You place an order on the website. The system is programmed to look for the closest match for that item to your location. Then, it activates the tower robots that store inventory. The tower robots are much like a giant Roomba with a tall shelf containing storage bins.
  • The robot progresses to the edge of the inventory floor and registers the stations it has docked on. Next, an employee pulls the item, scans it out of inventory, places it in a plastic box, and sends it on its way down the line. 
  • The box with the product runs down the conveyor line; a computer scans it to determine the location to send it. There is more than a mile conveyer belt in the average distribution center.
  •  The following employee scans the item, activating the shipping label to print. The system can even tell you what size package this item best suits. (It’s not always accurate since, a lot of times, Amazon is known for shipping small items in Huge boxes)
  • Once the box is packaged and labeled, the package goes back on the conveyer belt and rolls to the loading docs. The package is then scanned, loaded onto the truck, and sent to the shipping servicer to quickly get it to the customer. 

Things to consider

image of a box package on floor
Image: Pixabay

The entire process outlined above takes, on average, 12 minutes from the first click to a shipping truck. Technology makes this possible, and they are finding ways to be even more efficient and cost-effective than before. 

Further, the technology that allows Amazon to select and ship their products quickly will enable them to coordinate with the United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, DHL, and independent contractors that do deliveries as part of the local Flex Staff in big cities. 

You can track where the truck is and when to expect your delivery as it is arriving. The driver drops your package, and your Ring doorbell notifies you that someone is on your porch.

Every step of the way, the package has been tracked. It is a modern technological version of a chain of custody for evidence in a police station or the chain of influence in a scientific lab. 

Growth by leaps and bounds

Logistics and technology have continuously operated hand in hand. Before computers, our technology was any tool that made the job easier.

It’s incredible how much technology is involved in getting your morning coffee from the fields of Colombia to straight in your cup in New York.

Considering the many aspects that are affected by improving technology can give you a new perspective on the wonders of the world around you. 

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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