Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Shipping and storage industries are a pretty old fashioned business that doesn’t seem like it needs to change much. It’s very straightforward, you just need a place to store goods and some vehicles to ship them. All of the new technology that we’ve seen over the last few decades doesn’t really have too much of an impact on it, right? Not quite.
Technological advancements have made some pretty big impacts in the world of shipping and storage, you just don’t realize it. The efficiency of packing and transportation has changed drastically because of the influence of new technology and in the future, the way that we move goods around will be completely unrecognizable. So, what are the new technologies that have changed the face of the shipping industry?
When the internet was first invented, nobody thought that shopping would be one of its main uses. But these days, it seems strange that there was a time when we couldn’t order goods straight to the door at the click of a button. This opened up a huge new market in terms of shipping goods, but it also changed the way that it needed to be done. Prior to internet shopping, manufacturers would make goods, shipping companies would take them to stores, customers would come to buy them and then they would take them home. It was all very simple. But now, instead of just one delivery to each store, shipping companies need to ship items individually to each consumer. This has added a whole new layer to the process.
Being able to get goods at the click of a button has also made consumers far less patient about things. With this in mind, most people want tracking technology so they know exactly where their products are. The increased level of consumer involvement in shipping has led to a lot of retailers handling their own operations more closely, especially ecommerce companies.
Improved Information Services
The fact that customers want more information on their products has had a knock on effect on manufacturers and retailers. Before tracking information was widespread, retailers didn’t really know who was buying their products so a lot of their decisions about marketing were a stab in the dark. Surveying people could give you a bit of information but most people won’t bother filling one out. Know that all of the items are being tracked, retailers have so much information on exactly who is buying their products and where they live. This means that they can better direct their marketing campaigns towards demographics that are most likely to respond to them.
The efficiency of sharing data has also massively improved and companies that use it wisely can really improve their customer service levels. Any feedback from the customer can go through the shipping company and direct to the retailer so they are immediately aware of any problems and gaps in their service that need to be filled.
Tracking information also reduces the chance of any employees stealing goods that they are meant to be delivering. By having people sign electronically, that information gets sent straight back to the shipping company. If a customer then reports that they didn’t receive the product, you know that something untoward is going on.
Human error is difficult to avoid and any mistakes are always going to affect your business negatively. There is a simple way around that, automate things. Warehouse picking is one area that has been automated in a big way. Warehousing systems these days rely very heavily on automated systems that can pick and pack items without the need for human intervention. That automatically removes the chance of people making mistakes. This is incredibly important because customers are incredibly fickle. There is so much competition out there that if they receive the wrong product, they will immediately go elsewhere. It also reduces the costs of shipping by quite a considerable amount. Quite a few employees can be replaced by automated picking machines so rather than having to pay their wages, you need only pay the occasional maintenance costs.
Planning a route is a lot harder than you would think. If drivers aren’t finding the most efficient routes then you’re losing money. The extra fuel costs will add up over the years and you will be able to make fewer deliveries per day. But that problem can be solved by using new computer technology that plans a route for you. The number of possibilities when you have quite a few stops is huge. Too big for any human to work out, but using computer algorithms to plan the route for you ensures that you have the most efficient possibility.
More Efficient Vehicles
The running costs of the vehicles is one of the biggest outlays for a shipping company. Every year, vehicles are becoming more and more efficient. Less fuel consumption and the introduction of electric engines is pushing those costs down year on year. However, that will be irrelevant soon enough because we won’t be using traditional vehicles for shipping for that much longer.
The Future Of Shipping
A few years back, Amazon first announced that they were planning to introduce drone deliveries to their prime service. Their announcement was met with a lot of skepticism at the time. That was because the drone technology at the time was pretty basic and the idea of long-distance flights with packages seemed out of reach. However, the technology has come on leaps and bounds in the years since then. Amazon has recently completed their first successful delivery by drone and plan to roll out the service to everybody. This delivery method is going to be far more efficient than driving so it is likely to become the standard. If other companies want to compete, they will have to catch up. In a few years, the idea of shipping goods could be completely obsolete and drone deliveries will be the standard. There may not be the need for any human involvement at all.