From automated robots working at warehouses to drones that do online fulfillment, the supply chain we have nowadays is undergoing a huge transformation. The possibilities of artificial intelligence coming in will change the way people look at the future of logistics, and the possibilities hold promise.

Let’s take a look at the emerging technologies that will shape the future of logistics.

3D Printing

As an idea, 3D printing is not something new, but it has been floating around for several years now. However, it had only been in the past few years that this idea actually became real. The technology that allows business and manufacturers to print exact working replicas of items and products can now be done.

Based on a recent survey conducted by EFT, more than 40% of the retailers and manufacturers are expecting their 3PL providers to have some sort of knowledge on 3D printing. But what do these 3PL companies think about the said technology? According to the EFT study, it revealed that only 19% of the manufacturers and retailers are actually using 3D printing in their businesses. It also showed that only 1.5% actually provide expertise services and knowledge about it.

The IoT or Internet of Things

The revolutionary technology that we read and hear about a lot will allow devices to communicate with one another within an existing Internet infrastructure that doesn’t require human intervention. The applications it has in the future of logistics is expected to reduce waste, increase speed and improve cost efficiency as well.

A study found that about 25% of 3PL companies today are using M2M or machine-to-machine technology and around 45% plan to deploy these in the future. When they were asked about the impact of IoT on the supply chain and logistics management, around 50% said they believe it will make a tremendous mark in the industry.

Drone Delivery

A lot of attention was put on Amazon when they announced that they plan to make use of drones to begin delivering goods to their customers. Since then, a lot of companies have also announced or are considering similar ideas. Although skepticism is still widespread, a study found that about 30% of the people who learned about this news believed that such a thing as drone delivery would be a reality in 5-10 years.

Autonomous Vehicles

The vision of Google on autonomous vehicles had many people predicting that the future would belong to these self-driving cars. This kind of vehicle will be equipped with electronic eyes and ears and would be capable of navigating without the need for human input. The application of such a technology can make a huge reduction in costs for the logistics industry.

The statistics mentioned earlier show that a lot of retailers and manufacturers actually want to see logistics companies begin adopting advanced technologies or begin learning their concepts. Many of the companies today are working to learn about these technologies and provide services that will benefit everyone.