Consistent advancements in technological innovation have revolutionized the way industries function today. Technology has enabled industrial transformation, which is happening at an unprecedented rate. Automation is paving the way for greater efficiency. It is leading to enormous changes in the transport services industry.
Technology plays a key role in connecting customers and drivers of logistics companies. Not only this, but there is also a notable increase in productivity. Moreover, technology helps reduce costs and errors in the supply chain. Today’s logistics ventures are embracing futuristic changes such as shipment tracking systems, fleet management, cloud-based computing, etc., to gain a competitive edge in the transport services space.
This blog discusses the disruptive technological transformation seen in the logistics industry and transport services sector.
Here’s everything you’ll get to know in this blog:
- The various modes of technology adopted in the logistics industry
- The impact of smart cities on Indian transportation
- Why smart transportation gains significance in today’s times
Adoption of Technology by Logistic Services Providers in India
Not long ago, the logistics industry was known for unpredictability and delays. As a sector, logistics is directly related to economic growth. So, inefficiencies are bound to have an adverse impact. The good news is, technology is finally solving these inefficiencies in the transport services domain.
The following are some potential ways to address the pain points of the logistics industry and transport services space:
· Making the consignment fully visible across the entire supply chain
Complete visibility when providing transport services ensures that service providers know the consignment status from the beginning to the end. With the adoption of new-age technologies, total consignment visibility is possible. For example, the Vahak app shows transit status and promotes full transparency. This helps transporters monitor the consignment status easily!
Another great scenario is when GPS installation allows companies to track the productivity of vehicles in transit. This way, a logistics and transport services company can track consignments in real-time. Companies can also rectify problems or make alternate arrangements in case of issues during transit.
- Tracking based on milestone
Real-time tracking of consignments or shipments is made possible by Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, the Internet of Things, and Data Analytics. Logistics services providers help companies access milestone-based tracking through dedicated customer portals. Companies can view consignment details as they move from one hub to another, along with the specified delivery date. The main advantage of milestone-based tracking in transport services is better collaboration and firm control across the supply chain.
- Optimizing dispatch routes
Route optimization determines the most cost-effective route. As you may know, logistics is more than just finding the shortest point between pickup and delivery. Advanced route management algorithms calculate the most cost-effective and shortest route for trips. This optimization is not only beneficial for saving cost but also manpower and time in the long run in the transport services industry.
- Virtual transactions
Contactless logistics has become possible due to widespread digitization. The generation of key documents such as Truck Receipts and Proof of Delivery has been automated. Particularly for the transport industry, virtual fuel cards have been introduced. This has led to greater transparency in financial transactions. The e-toll system has also effectively eliminated cash-based transactions.
Moreover, the mass adoption of digital payment solutions, such as internet banking, UPI-based payments, and e-wallets in the transport services industry has proven to be a gamechanger.
- System integration and geo-fencing
Geo-fencing is a location-based service. It marks a certain area or creates a virtual boundary. This service alerts the logistics company whenever there is a movement within the geo-fence. The alerts received are in the form of milestone-based notifications. There could be multiple touchpoints within the geo-fence, such as driver homes, company offices, client warehouses, etc. The primary function of geofencing is to help the company track the exact movements of vehicles operating in the transport services sector.
Furthermore, with system integration, the client’s office, warehouse, and the vehicle can connect online to a common database. It facilitates the exchange of real-time information. This data is easily accessible through multiple platforms.
Even during the second wave of COVID-19, the transport industry tried to be as innovative as possible to deal with the difficult situation. For this, they used technology to enhance back-end networks along with drones. Those initiatives helped streamline the logistics and transport services sector.
Blue Dart, one of the major logistics service providers, set up the ‘Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium’ to streamline the transport of emergency medical supplies and vaccines to the remotest corners of the country with the help of drones. An estimated 10 billion vaccines were needed across the globe towards the end of 2021. In such cases, last mile and locally tailored ground distribution logistics become crucial.
Smart Cities Affecting Transport Services in India
Our country has one of the largest road networks of almost 47 lakh kilometres. Approximately 65% of the total freight is carried via roadways. The infrastructure is set to change drastically under the Smart Cities Scheme.
The Government of India has sanctioned 599 highway projects covering around 12,903 km over the next five years. The total expenditure is estimated to be INR 108,000 crore (US$ 16.2 billion). A budget of INR 48,000 crore is proposed for the first twenty smart cities. A major portion of the scheme focuses on the development of urban mobility and public transport systems. The plans involve the building of Expressways, National Highways, Mass Rapid Transport, etc.
The enormous smart city initiative has had a far-reaching impact on the logistics and transport services industry in India.
Automation and traceability would be major features in the evolution of the transportation industry. Even if we consider the automotive sector, the industry has come up with a wide variety of solutions. These solutions are related to automation, the development of safety components, auto sensors, etc. Thus, identifying errors in transport services becomes easier.
Connected vehicles would provide seamless connectivity between various electronic systems, such as control, safety, and navigation features. The vehicle would remain connected with the external systems through the Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The Intelligent Transport System (ITP) is integral to the Smart Cities Mission. It means that freight vehicles would also be covered under the system. Some features of ITP include automated speed enforcement, electronic toll collection, vehicle control technologies, etc.
An electronic toll collection is seen as a gamechanger in the speedy transit of consignments in the transport services industry. The toll collection system is RFID-based (Radio Frequency Identification). The system reads from a certain distance and automatically deducts the toll at every entry. This system saves fuel costs and queue-time at toll gates.
These are a few ways in which smart cities positively influence the logistics and transport services industry.
Why is Smart Transportation the Need of the Hour?
The Logistics Division of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced plans for ‘Freight Smart Cities’ on July 2, 2021. It focuses on the improvement of the urban freight system. It lays the groundwork for Freight Smart Cities. The logistics service providers are one of the main recipients of the benefits arising out of this institutional plan.
The e-commerce market is estimated to reach Rs. 11 lakh crores by 2022, resulting in an increase in the demand for urban freight by 140%. Unless the logistics industry resorts to smart transport, this huge demand cannot be met. In fact, they might lose business opportunities.
The existing freight system, particularly in urban India, suffers from certain shortcomings. Approximately 10% of India’s freight-related carbon dioxide emissions come from urban freight transport. Not to mention, logistics services are primarily responsible for 10% of traffic congestion and road fatalities.
Smart transport in the transport services sector would involve optimising trip distance and the number of trips made by a freight vehicle. Infrastructure development will also help control the emissions associated with freight movements.
Extensive adoption of technology in all spheres is inevitable in a smarter India. This sector is no different. Present-day startups are backed by cutting-edge technology. It facilitates customer-centricity and agility for constant innovation. The impact is higher efficiency at lower costs. Such development makes it possible for transport services companies to pursue new business opportunities. The digitalization of transport services brings many benefits to customers.
For instance, customers can track their shipments in real-time. Such tracking and streamlining of operations reduce the scope for errors. Consider this scenario: sometime in the near future, robotic processes can be applied to introduce complete automation in the logistics and transport services industry.
Smart logistics services are the need of the hour, and they are becoming an essential factor for a smarter India. If you are a logistics service provider, such development does not mean complications. Your focus should be on automating the existing systems as far as possible!
Along with automation and smart methods, another great innovation in the logistics space is the use of transport apps! Apps like Vahak are helping over 10 lakh transporters grow their logistics business seamlessly. Vahak is a transport marketplace where shippers, truck drivers, fleet owners and transport agents can connect with each other. So whenever a truck driver needs loads, or a shipper needs trucks, they are able to fulfil their requirement within minutes by finding lorries and loads on Vahak! Download the Vahak transport app and try it for free today.