Logistics Careers - What is Technology Changing?
Don’t like the state of the logistics industry? Wait a few minutes, and it will certainly change. That is supposed to be about the weather, but the statement certainly rings true for anyone operating in the global supply chain these days.
Changes have been fast and furious over the past 5-10 years, and there is little sign that they will be slowing down anytime soon. Technological breakthroughs seem to happen weekly at this point, and without understanding how it is evolving and impacting careers, people can easily get left behind.
Artificial intelligence(AI), machine learning, edge computing, and more are revolutionizing how organizations manage transportation costs and run their businesses. Admittedly there is a lot to unpack when discussing technology in the logistics industry. Rather than try to paint with very broad strokes, let’s focus our attention on how it is, and will continue to impact careers within the industry.
Trax is a global leader in transportation management spend technology. With systems and tools powered by AI and machine learning, we help organizations reduce operational costs through comprehensive data.
Understanding The Push For Technology In Logistics
Like other industries, technology adoption within the logistics industry doesn’t happen overnight. A natural bell curve includes early adopters, early majority, late majority, and those who resist change until it is all but required.
You don’t have to look far to find information on logistics companies adopting technology to cut costs. The reality of the situation is that reducing operational costs only represents a fraction of the bigger picture.
Is it a major benefit? – Sure.
We won’t deny automation can replace certain daily tasks, making you both more efficient and productive, but the push for technology is impacted by a number of different factors, all of which are entirely dependent on the organization. Tight labor markets, demand for speed, and rising real estate costs all impact adoption rates.
The simple fact is that technology is more readily available, and thanks to the global marketplace, pricing is more competitive than ever. Coupled with the fact that the logistics industry’s technology lagged behind for many years, organizations across the world are now pushing for tools to help improve how they manage their business and how effective their team members are with day-to-day operations.
Improvement Through Innovation
If ROI is the destination, technology is the vehicle. Notice we didn’t say it was the driving force. Yes, there are autonomous vehicles, but in most circumstances, there still has to be a person driving behind the wheel.
That isn’t meant to go off on a tangent; rather, it should be a clear indicator that the people using your logistics technology are just as important as the technology itself. They have to work in conjunction with one another to reach the final destination.
The starting point on the journey is operational efficiency. The global supply chain has become incredibly complex in recent years, and it can be hard to keep up, even for those with years of experience. Technology is there to bridge the gap, and make each employee more efficient, and ultimately more effective in their daily job.
Tools leveraging AI technology can address incredibly complex tasks, providing key data that can then be interpreted by the end user, streamlining the entire process. Over time, this can impact training and ramp-up times of new employees as your business scales while also maximizing the productivity of your current workforce, both of which generate ROI in the long run.
Transformation Over Job Loss
At this point, you may be asking yourself – “Won’t this lead to replacement of the workforce?”
The simple answer is that we are nowhere near replacing entire workforces with bots, AI, and technology. Transformation is the expectation by most industry experts, as opposed to complete replacement.
Technology will certainly take over particular tasks, especially monotonous, physically demanding, or incredibly complex tasks. As a result, the daily functions and responsibilities of employees will shift. Within the supply chain, many of these roles will revolve around data being generated by various technologies within the organization.
A great example of this is with freight audit and payment processing. The vast majority of organizations conduct freight audits post-payment, leaving the company open to error and added costs. Rather than having teams scouring through thousands of freight invoices, AI can do the heavy lifting, allowing the team members to focus their attention on those flagged by the system. With this approach, they are less likely to miss errors and can adopt a proactive process that helps to reduce overall transportation costs without the need for added human capital.
The Impact of Technology Moving Forward
Projecting what working within the logistics industry over the next decade will look like is a pretty tall task. The influx of tools available and rapid innovation will certainly have a widespread impact.
What we do know is that for the foreseeable future, careers will revolve around systems and data. Even within areas of the supply chain that large workforces, such as warehousing, have dominated, technology is quickly becoming essential to meet increased customer demand. As speed and efficiency lead the way, those considering a career in logistics need to be willing to adapt to a continually changing landscape.
At Trax, we help simplify the complex challenges of navigating the global supply chain. Our tools are designed to be both incredibly robust and user-friendly. This helps streamline adoption and generate ROI out of the gate. To learn more about our transportation management spend solutions, connect with a member of our team.
Trax is the global leader in Transportation Spend Management solutions. We partner with the most global and complex brands to drive meaningful optimizations and savings through industry-leading technology solutions and world-class advisory services. With the largest global footprint spanning North America, Latin America, Asia, and Europe, we enable our clients to have greater control over their transportation performance and spend. Our focus is on your success.