When I was a kid back in the 1960’s, I use to eagerly await the latest edition on television of the “Jetsons”, an animated cartoon of what it would be like in the future. With the flying cars, building mostly in the sky, telephones with pictures, and patio futuristic dog walks (for his dog Elroy) my childhood vision of the future was about hardware and physical things. When thinking of the future we might think of latest technological hardware and not remember the importance of details.
Recently, Marc Mitchell of LTL Technologies Vice President of McLeod Software spoke to the Chicago area Logistics, Operations and Supply Chain Professionals (LOSC). And yes, he said there will be neat hardware in the future, but much of the future will be handling the details in more automated and efficient ways.
So yes there might be driver-less trucks in the future. But will not their be a political stink people who do not want driver-less trucks driving on the interstate next to them, delaying the process.
But the use of data, to record truck and vehicle performance, safety, maintenance, and operational will ramp up. More and more freight invoice activities will be electronic. Supply chain visibility several layers down of suppliers will increase. Dispatching trucks will be more and more automatic, handled by supply chain. So the future will be more about the details and less so about the hardware.
Will we need human beings at all? The answer is a definite yes. Technology is designed for the norm. Anybody who has every dispatched a truck, sent a box out, or the receiving end of angry customer whose needs were not met, knows logistics is dealing with change and things out of the norm. That is why the 3 PLs who are known for outstanding technology are hiring so many people these days, because the software and hardware only works well with human oversight.