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Tracking Innovations In Logistics

Trading intuition for accurate datadriven insight has been a compulsory and continuous journey for today’s logistics businesses. This quest has led to innovations that have automated and streamlined process, in order to bring improved efficiencies to the logistics and supply chain business.

Blessy Chettiar

From the birth of logistics going back to the Greek and Roman empires and its use in military functions during World War II (1939-1945) to what we know as logistics today, the evolution has been apparent, defined and often awe-worthy. While the industry does not follow a set of tables or rigid processes, logistic services involve a generous use of one’s experience, skills, qualifications and often intuition.

Trading intuition for accurate data-driven insight has been a compulsory and continuous journey for today’s logistics businesses.

Every generation has posed typical challenges to the logistics and supply chain sectors, giving rise to innovations that have fine-tuned the processes for optimum results – delivering the right kind of product/ service at the right price, place, time and in the right condition. Logistics is essentially a race against time, and to keep pace, experts have often taken refuge in innovative solutions.

Many of these innovations have been fuelled by ever-evolving technology that strives to reduce friction between stakeholders and smoothen processes. Technologically, a slow but sure disruption has been taking place in the logistics and supply chain management systems globally at least over the past 15 years.

What’s new?

Buzzwords like Blockchain in logistics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in supply chain optimization, Internet of Things (IoT) for tracking, augmented reality and autonomous transport, are increasingly and aggressively making their way into business boardrooms.

For the uninitiated, Blockchain is a series of blocks that store a shared record of transactional information. Data can be added or modified only by adding another block, thus forming a blockchain. Permissioned parties that have access to the distributed ledger have to verify the added or modified information, thus eliminating the scope for falsification as parties are immediately notified of the same. This promotes accountability and compliance. For example, Tradelens platform, jointly developed by A.P. Moller - Maersk and IBM, enables participants to connect, share information and collaborate across the shipping supply chain ecosystem. TradeLens members get a comprehensive view of their data and are able to digitally collaborate as cargo moves around the world. TradeLens currently organizes the network into broad categories - 3PLs, inland and intermodal providers, ports and terminals and ocean carriers.

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July - August 2019

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