- Technology Trends in Logistics and 6 Companies Who Build Solutions for the Logistics Industry
Technology Trends in Logistics and 6 Companies Who Build Solutions for the Logistics Industry
Logistics is a complex aspect of business that includes not only the actual transportation of goods, but also such processes as order processing, packaging, inventory management, and warehousing.
Modern technologies are constantly affecting industries, and logistics is no exception. The industry’s leaders have adopted various automation software programs to make their deliveries faster, safer and cheaper.
In 2018, we are witnessing the emergence and expansion of new and exciting opportunities when it comes to integrating software into logistical operations. Developments that will affect logistics and supply chain automation in the coming year include: blockchain, augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), and the internet of things (IoT). You should start implementing these new approaches as soon as possible – otherwise, you risk falling behind your competitors.
When we use the phrase ‘logistics automation’, we are usually referring to the implementation of specialized software which aims to reduce the required amount of manual work. The software can take over some routine calculations, ensuring precision and minimizing mistakes.
For example, logistics software can automatically schedule the delivery of goods based on production volume and current orders, generate an optimal route for a truck, send delivery status updates, schedule equipment delivery, and keep track of the delivered goods. The newest technologies enable us to extend the possibilities of such software, making the processes even more efficient.
Blockchain in logistics
Blockchain is the next big thing in logistics because of the two key benefits it provides: data security and transparency. Logistics is often described as a chain of custody handovers. This means that at different stages different people or companies are responsible for a single product. In order to not lose track of who has done what, blockchain enters the game. This technology enables businesses to store and share information in a permanent way – it can’t be deleted, changed or hidden.
As a result, it is always possible to find out who was responsible for the product during the time when it was damaged or lost. Blockchain can’t exclude all risks connected with product delivery, but it helps handle various situations and improve the outcome.
In addition, blockchain will help to confirm the origin of the product. Alibaba, for example, has invested in a project that aims to reduce the number of counterfeit products on the market. The system will be able to accurately track where the product comes from, which is fatal for the producers of fake goods. Blockchain ensures that the information is correct and can’t be faked.
Artificial intelligence in logistics
There are two main ways in which Artificial Intelligence can be implemented in logistics.The first is robotics. Industrial robots can perform repetitive physical tasks instead of humans. This is what Amazon has already implemented. The company entrusts robots with routine tasks such as packing goods or moving them around the warehouse. Robots work faster and more efficiently than humans, and don’t have to be paid monthly. An additional benefit of such robots is a reduction in the number of injuries in the warehouse.
The second way in which AI is being implemented in logistics is through machine learning. The industry has to deal with a large amount of data. Logistics software can be taught to use this data to make the best possible decisions concerning route planning and maintenance scheduling. The software can analyze and structure the data gathered over time to offer improvements in a company’s processes and increase efficiency. For example, an intelligent system can predict when the warehouse shelves will run low and automatically restock them.
Augmented reality in logistics
Augmented reality still hasn’t become a part of our everyday life, but it is showing great results in logistics. The technology allows for the overlay of the immediate environment of the user with digital information. Google Glass is the most efficient tool for AR, since it is hands-free and enables the user to benefit from the technology without any distraction from the work process.
AR is an efficient assistant when it comes to freight loading. Using Google Glass, workers can see a desired placement of the freight in the truck and organise the loading to achieve it. Efficient loading saves time and minimizes the risks associated with an incorrectly-loaded truck.
IoT in logistics
Internet of Things allows for the creation of a network of connected devices which can exchange information. IoT can support all previously-described technologies in various ways. Connected devices can be used to prove the origin of the product and the whole path it took to get into the customer’s hands. IoT helps to collect data that is later processed to teach software to make the right decisions. For example, a small device can track fuel expenses depending on the number of stops, average speed and loading of the vehicle. This data helps optimize fuel consumption and minimize fuel-related expenses.
The market for logistics software is constantly growing and the systems are becoming smarter. They help to gather and analyze specific data and offer improvements in workplace processes. But the goal of all logistics applications is the same: to increase working efficiency, minimize risks and reduce costs.
Ukrainian logistics software development companies
If you are already thinking about empowering your logistics department with automation software, you are on the right page. The companies we describe in this article have comprehensive experience in creating custom logistics solutions for clients in different industries all over the world. Perhaps one of these descriptions will inspire you to consider a long-term partnership with a Ukrainian company.
N-iX offers their expertise in different fields. Two of the areas in which they focus are logistics and supply chain management solutions. They have proven experience in the field with several successful projects such as those described below.
Bitlog has been offering its services in warehouse management and logistics since 2006. Through the use of clever process automation, the Bitlog system can cut in half the amount of manual work required in these fields. N-iX provided brand new UI/UX designs for the application for iPhone and took over the maintenance of the iPad version.
Schad focuses on the control and maintenance of equipment in different industries, including logistics. N-iX partnered with the company to enhance their existing product. EXTEND700 is a mobile app that helps track and control the state of trucks and other logistics equipment and schedule preventative maintenance using a smartphone.
The global procurement consulting company Efficio partnered with N-iX to develop automation software. The resulting application reduces the amount of manual work that is required. It can also suggest improvements for the logistics and procurement processes of client companies based on a precise analysis of the available data.
In addition to working on traditional software for logistics, procurement, order and warehouse management, N-iX also has expertise with virtual reality and blockchain technologies. So, if you are striving for innovations in the industry, N-iX is the right choice.
At Eleks, work on logistics software starts with a comprehensive research and market analysis. The company considers the target audience of the application in order to offer the best corresponding user interface.
Aramex is a global company offering logistics and transportation services worldwide. It has chosen Eleks as a long-term partner in implementing its digital strategy. As a result of this cooperation, several websites, mobile applications and desktop systems have been developed. For example, customers of Aramex can now track their shipments or contact the company itself by using the mobile app. Eleks has also implemented a domestic express delivery management system, a solution for freight forwarding, information management, etc.
Aramex and Eleks continue their close cooperation in improving the level of services offered by the company, automating the internal processes and increasing overall efficiency.
A complex technology solution developed for the car rental service Russmann enabled the optimization of the company’s business processes. The system provides solutions for fleet management and fleet planning, as well as data-driven car disposition. An algorithm can predict the demand for certain days and helps to plan fleet movement between branches to satisfy demand.
Data science provided by Eleks enabled Russmann to better understand and satisfy the needs of their customers. An additional benefit was that process automation also reduced expenses.
Cooperation with Innovex begins with a comprehensive analysis of the current processes of the client in order to pinpoint bottlenecks that can be minimized with the right software. The business analyst works with incoming information and does extensive research to understand all the pain points the company has or might have in the future. Together with the development team, the analyst then offers a technical solution that can minimize or completely nullify existing and potential problems. The result is an improved working process, a reduction in the number of mistakes, data-driven decision making, and, of course, impressive savings.
Innovex has delivered desktop software development for a freight portal. The objective of the application was to increase the visibility of the supply chain, which is very important for the users of the service. Public analytics and big data processing allow the users to make balanced decisions about their supply chain.
Another client of Innovex is a US-based marketplace that helps to connect carriers and shippers. Real-time communication contributes to building strong relationships between parties. The MVP of the application was developed within three months and included the core features, which will be extended in the full transportation management system.
Intetics is also a powerful player in the logistics software market in Ukraine. In addition to building solutions for clients, they have their own product, called the Inspection Form Manager (IFM). The application was used as a core for a freight and vehicle service automation tool, developed for one of the clients of the company.
The client of Intetics receives a number of vehicle defect reports from multiple locations. All these reports were previously processed manually, which resulted in a lot of repetitive work and frequent mistakes. The client recognized the potential of IFM, but also asked for some custom features, which the development team implemented in a matter of weeks.
As a result, the Inspection Form Manager was integrated with the customer’s CRM and internal planning system. Google Maps integration enabled the client to pinpoint the location of the reports. Barcode scanning for mobile devices was also added to the initial functionality. The application was released for iOS and Android and is available for download by the employees of the company from official app stores.
The company offers development of custom warehouse and transportation management systems. Users of software developed by IT Craft benefit from improved order processing, automated route planning and scheduled stops, reduced transportation expenses, optimized loads and real-time tracking of vehicle progress.
Depending on the needs of the company, these features can be adjusted or some other custom features can be developed. Quick Transfer is one of the logistics applications developed by IT Craft. A customer-focused application enables clients to track truck loads, air freight loads, and railway loads every day. The system automates receiving and handling of service requests, including email and phone call requests. After that, the calls are submitted to the company’s Dispatcher system. As a result, the client can always receive the latest information about their delivery progress.
SoftGroup is not just a software development company, but also a reliable advisor in implementing logistics systems in the working process. The offerings of the company aren’t limited to classical features represented in most applications currently available on the market. SoftGroup tries to think outside the box, suggesting exclusive solutions which are seamlessly embedded in the working process.
Reverse logistics is one of these solutions. The company pays a lot of attention to automating the return of goods to the producer for service maintenance or exchange. Such an approach contributes to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Ukrainian software development companies have extensive experience in developing complex logistics solutions from scratch. From preliminary market research through to system integration and corporate trainings, you can rely on these companies at all stages of software development.