by Angela Delaney
The Future of Shipping Technology
The future of logistics and the future of technology are deeply intertwined. Customers and businesses alike are becoming increasingly used to, and reliant upon, fast responses from courier customer services, rapid deliveries and efficient tracking.
In this article, we take a look at the technological developments that users and logistic companies can expect to become part of everyday processes in the near future.
There is a general shift already occurring in the expectations of tracking. The days where a buyer would simply purchase their goods and then hope to receive them within a reasonable, yet unspecified, time period are long gone. Customers now expect regular updates and notifications as to when their package will arrive, when it has been dispatched, and even specific details of the courier who will deliver their goods, including live GPS tracking.
In the future, logistics companies will offer even more accurate delivery windows, and permit customers to make alterations directly and immediately with the courier should they need to update the address or time slot, or provide more information on safe places, without the need to go back to the seller.
As automation solutions become more flexible, this will allow for the rise of a more elastic logistic infrastructure - meaning courier and supply chain capabilities will soon be able to shrink and expand to align with demands of the market.
In practical terms, elastic logistics will permit those within the shipping industry to create customisable solutions to requirements such as priority deliveries, geographic restrictions, warehouse management, cost control and so on.
Companies will achieve this elasticity by relying more and more on third party providers - helping them to maintain costs with the rise and fall of market fluctuations. The bottom line is that increasingly flexible automation will lead to an enhanced customer experience, more integrated business processes, and room for adaptation and reaction.
Driverless technology has long been discussed as the future of transport, and this will have a knock-on effect for the logistics companies as trucks become autonomous. This could permit goods to get to their destinations faster as it will cut out the need for drivers to take breaks and so on.
Though this technology is still some way off, Uber has already launched a long-haul truck, as has Tesla. At the moment these vehicles are monitored by a passenger and are not yet ready to be released into service, yet this marks a significant step forward.
Already mentioned briefly, as the accuracy of GPS improves, both drivers and customers will receive the benefits. Not only will drivers avoid getting lost or missing out on updated or new road layouts, improved traffic data will allow them to avoid road accidents and congested zones. In this way, time slots will become more reliable, leading to less frustrated drivers, more efficient deliveries and happier customers.
It is now standard practice for customers to turn to social media for their customer service needs, and logistic companies are well advised to have a dedicated team to respond to any queries or raised issues. Not only will this help resolve any problems before they escalate, but it is also an excellent way to maintain and improve the reputation of the courier’s brand.
In the future, the customer services department may become fully integrated with the company’s social media presence, possibly through the use of highly personalised chatbots to maintain a 24 hour service, lead to quicker resolutions.
Drones and smart glasses
Amazon is leading the way in this area and has already announced its new service, Amazon Prime Air, which will see packages being delivered right to the doorstep by drones. However, though trials are ongoing, regular delivery by drone is still a few years away due to regulatory measures and associated costs.
Meanwhile, the development of smart glasses will make deliveries safer and more streamlined by providing hands-free route searches for drivers, face recognition for error-free deliveries and personalised deliveries.
Though having the ability to choose between couriers is not new, the technology behind delivering this choice is rapidly developing and becoming more commonplace. Our shipping portal already gives shipping customers the capability to quickly and easily compare rates between the leading couriers and choose the best option for their business.
Looking ahead, B2C and B2B owners will become more accustomed to using comparison tools like our portal, and so logistic companies will respond in kind to offer better rates and improved services in order to stay ahead and remain competitive.
Step into the future
If you’re interested in stepping into the future now, take a look at the World Options Shipping Portal or contact us on 0330 335 8100 to find out how you can make valuable savings on time and costs, increase efficiency of your logistics and improve customer satisfaction.