Logistics 4.0 generating greater efficiency with cost reduction, producing practical reflections in the daily lives of entrepreneurs and consumers
The concept of Logistics 4.0 is closely related to the idea of Industry 4.0 (which we will talk about later) and its origins are in the recent and profound technological changes that the world has witnessed, mainly in the last 10 years, involving information technology and mass communication.
This is a new phase for the Logistics sector, which has been absorbing operational changes imposed by the most modern work tools that have become essential in the midst of the new coronavirus pandemic. These are innovations in the virtual world that generate greater efficiency with cost reduction, producing practical reflections in the daily lives of entrepreneurs and consumers.
But what tools would these be? Well, check out some of them below:
- INTERNET OF THINGS — The IoT (Internet of Things) is here to stay. We are talking about objects connected to the online universe that allow the automated work of several functions, thus making the performance more homogeneous and dynamic within any operation or even within our day to day;
- ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE — It is a mechanism that gives machines, properly programmed, the possibility of making decisions automatically, without human intervention, which reduces the margins of errors;
- CLOUD COMPUTING — The information needed to make decisions is available in the famous data cloud, anywhere and at any time, streamlining operational routines and facilitating services in different locations;
- BIG DATA — This tool allows the analysis of a large volume of structured data (entered neatly into operating systems) and unstructured data (which corresponds to 80% of the virtual information generated on the internet by billions of users daily) quickly and efficiently, allowing more accurate, real-time business course changes;
- DIGITAL TWIN — In a free translation it would be the “digital twin”, a technique that allows the creation of virtual prototypes, reducing costs and facilitating future planning, by visualization on the computer screen;
- MACHINE LEARNING — Again in a free translation into Portuguese, it would be “machine learning”. It is an automatic analysis process that makes the software recognize ineffective patterns of conduct and look for other alternatives. In Logistics, it allows for increased precision in controlling stock data, for example;
- BLOCKCHAIN — The same technology used in NFTs cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, can facilitate work in Logistics, recording the complexity of deliveries made worldwide, with its various actors generating information and communication flows in different channels, thus maintaining data traceability throughout the supply chain;
- 3D PRINTING — Additive manufacturing, which everyone calls 3D printing, is a technology capable of transforming the entire supply chain. Imagine a process where files, duly patented, are sent to a distributor to manufacture the product close to the customer, or who knows at the consumer’s home, if he has a printer like this one. The change this tool brings to the supply chain is enormous should this equipment become more popular and affordable.
And what would be the advantages of all this technology?
According to Maria Jakeline Motta and Gabrieli Cristina Lusvarghi, in a paper presented at the Eighteenth National Congress of Scientific Initiation, these would be some of the benefits of Logistics 4.0:
- Asset Loss Reduction — Learn about product issues in time to find a solution;
- Fuel cost savings — Optimize fleet routes by monitoring traffic conditions;
- Ensuring Temperature Stability — Monitor cooling that, according to the US Department of Agriculture, about one-third of food perishes in transit each year;
- Real -time warehouse inventory management — Monitor inventories in out-of-stock situations;
- User Insight Identification — Embedded sensors provide visibility into customer behavior and product usage;
- Creating fleet efficiency — Reduce redundancies.
“In addition to bringing a new universe of possibilities, Logistics 4.0 can also generate benefits that enhance existing supply chain processes, which include asset utilization, warehouse space optimization or production planning”, conclude the authors of the work.
We can also list some other possible advantages that Logistics 4.0 can deliver, such as:
- Greater integration between supply chain participants ;
- Shorter delivery times ;
- Reduction of inventories, avoiding losses and waste;
- Optimization of space and storage costs;
- Better use of fleets and optimization of transport costs;
- Greater security of the supply chain, avoiding stoppages in production lines;
- Less bureaucracy in processes, increasing productivity and competitiveness in the market;
- Generating a large mass of relevant data to support decision-making, which is increasingly assertive and enables continuous improvement;
- Increased profit margins for carriers and logistics operators who engage in this new revolution;
- Increased customer satisfaction.
Social scientists and players in the Logistics Sector agree that the new tools bring numerous benefits. But all this started in the manufacturing field, with Industry 4.0. This term was presented to the public by the Government of Germany during the 2011 Hannover Fair, with the intention of elaborating a project focused on technological solutions. Later, Klaus Schwab, creator of the World Economic Forum, studied the subject in more depth and then published the book The Fourth Industrial Revolution, where he addresses the fusion of the physical and digital worlds. Schwab points out the advantages and dangers of this trend, as well as the need for organizations to rethink their processes and value creation.
According to those who study the subject, throughout History the Industrial Sector has gone through three other phases. Industry 1.0 emerged with the revolution generated by steam engines in England in the 18th century. Version 2.0 appears in the 19th century, with the specialization of labor and the search for qualification. A step well represented by the series production created by Henry Ford in the manufacture of the legendary Ford T. In the 20th century, we arrived at the third industrial revolution, when factories were dominated by electronic engineering and robotics. Today, we undoubtedly live under the demands created by new technologies, which finally generated Industry 4.0.