Transport is a ‘barometer of the economy’, a huge industry that is constantly adapting to a changing environment. It is also one of the fastest digitising sectors, and its representatives easily see the benefits of using modern technologies.
This was confirmed by the international trade fair Transport Logistics 2023 which took place in mid-May in Munich, finding itself at the centre of the industry again, after a four-year break. For the participants of the previous edition in 2019, this year might have been quite surprising – lack of companies from Russia, more companies from Ukraine or disinfectant sprays distributed as gadgets were just the tip of the iceberg. For the dynamic transport industry, four years is a very long time. Today, the spotlight is on issues related to sustainability, electrification, rapid development of the e-commerce sector, artificial intelligence, development of intermodal transport and economic uncertainty resulting from the effects of the pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine and tensions between the US and China.
There are several major trends that currently dominate the industry. One of them is the concept of ‘visibility’, i.e. the ability to fully monitor transport at every stage, regardless of the number of contractors involved in the process. While road carriers have been using these solutions for a few years now, after the pandemic, alongside the growing challenges in supply chains, this trend has also been developing in the area of intermodal (sea and rail) transport. Thanks to this, companies can effectively respond to possible delays and minimise the associated losses.
Another strong trend is AI, i.e. artificial intelligence, which is already actively helping logisticians in their daily work, where it supports them in making optimal decisions. Thanks to the use of solutions based on artificial intelligence, they can perform their tasks more effectively, which translates into reduced operating costs. AI mechanisms are used in many areas – to optimise the distribution of goods in vehicles, choose the most effective routes for trucks, monitor drivers’ working time, or suggest the best carriers to carry out specific transports.
Large logistics process management systems that combine the functions of TMS (transportation management system), FMS (fleet management system) and WMS (warehouse management system), are also one of the top trends. Such end-to-end solutions which cover all stages of the transport process, from packing the package to final delivery, and where processes are automated and cost-optimised, significantly improve business profitability. An example of such a solution is the INPLO Intermodal Logistics Platform, which is one of the products offered by Pentacomp. INPLO is a set of IT tools that support logisticians and dispatchers in handling the entire supply chain – from notifications, through full order execution, to real-time transport tracking.
There are many indications that in the face of an approaching recession entrepreneurs will not avoid investing in IT solutions that aim to optimise logistics processes. It is a way to reduce the involvement of manual labour and minimise costs. Undoubtedly, the TSL industry is aware that IT solutions are a key factor enabling not only survival, but also development in difficult, unstable times.