Ok, I just coined a word: technologization or the forcing of an industry or business to adopt technology because it is the only way for the industry to meet demands expected of it. You will probably call it digital transformation and for the most part, you are correct.
An idiom to remember: necessity is the mother of invention. Think about these two as you read on.
From 2019 to 2020, worldwide e-commerce revenues remarkably rose more than 20% year over year, forcing vehicle, robotic, and software automation to profoundly alter the supply chain landscape in a matter of months.
That’s the assessment of ABI Research who goes on to postulate that these changes are expected to continue to evolve and persist as both consumer and business digital and contactless behaviours become entrenched. Limited trials that began prior to 2020 are now attracting government exemptions, revenue-producing activity, and massive investment.
“The pandemic laid bare existing gaps in digitization, integration, and tenuous contingency plans. Additionally, labour shortages have been magnified from volatile product demand, employee quarantines, and seasonal peaks,” explained Susan Beardslee, principal analyst, Freight Transportation & Logistics, ABI Research.
Longer-term decisions must be made for a post-pandemic strategy that will be better positioned for the next events to occur across the global supply chain.
“Numerous companies are building a future of resilience and agility with greater flexibility and capacity to address the unknown. Some trends have accelerated within months for what was previously part of a 5-year plan,” she added.
Technology adoption is growing rapidly across the supply chain with software and hardware to support vehicle automation, robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), blockchain, and computer vision systems.
For example, self-driving truck company TuSimple partnered with Navistar and Penske on an Autonomous Freight Network (AFN) with 11,000 industry total SAE Level 4 autonomous commercial vehicles expected to ship by 2025 in North America. Asset visibility of vehicles, trailers, and cargo are increasingly required with a diverse list of providers from Verizon to Orbcomm, CalAmp, and Mercedes-Benz Vans’ CoROS with global asset tracking revenue expected to exceed US$20 billion by 2025.
“2021 will continue to see expanded investment and adoption of digital, automated and integrated solutions to provide much-needed resiliency in the global supply chain through optimized visibility, flexibility, and reliability,” concluded Beardslee.