Innovative technology concepts

Core findings

  1. Predictive analytics and the application of artificial intelligence hold enormous potential for optimizing logistics processes.
  2. Access to data via mobile devices is highly relevant and will be extended considerably in the future.
  3. Sensor technologies are set to become substantial data sources for monitoring and improving.
  4. Driverless vehicles, machine-to-machine communication across companies, and augmented reality concepts are areas of high expected growth.
  5. One of the biggest challenges in the introduction of new technologies lies in their incompatibility with existing systems and interfaces.

Overview of all investigated technology concepts

The total of 26 investigated technology concepts was, for the sake of clarity, divided into six sub-areas which are indicated in different colors in Figure 3 1. Noteworthy in this display of technology concepts, is their average implementation level despite their high relevance. Particularly those technology concepts that a large proportion of companies plan to implement within the next five years (great circle diameter), will shape the environment in logistics and supply chain management.

Fields of technology

Data collection

Data analysis

Information on capacity, orders, and customers has already been evaluated for several years. Particularly in retail, the electronic processing of orders derives suitable measures on the basis of key performance indicators. The predictive analysis and predictive maintenance methods expand the data analysis to find appropriate statistical analyses for predicting and optimizing business processes. The surveyed consultancy companies expect saving opportunities by optimizing transport capacity and order placement.

The concept of predictive, if used extensively, analysis allows not only analysis and data-driven decision-making but also for optimization of the entire supply chain using artificial intelligence. For logistics service provider however is the concept of moderate relevance. Significantly more important is the predictive analysis concept for the manufacturaing industry and the retail sector, which considere it to be highly relevant.

Autonomous systems

Assistance systems

IT services are also required for operating assistance systems which facilitate and improve the work of personnel by making context-dependent information available. This is specifically true of manual activities, such as handling goods or warehousing, because the errors made here, cause considerably more work. In addition, there are new ways of supporting the employees in the field via applications on mobile devices, for example for traffic management or maintenance, as well as to access certain company data and key indicators.

At the moment are augmented reality solutions (mostly smart glasses) implemented very rarely and also very lillte companies plan to do so in the future. However, despite this attitude, a change can still be expected, because AR solutions cover a very wide spectrum. Recording the real environment and supplementing it with additional information, for example in the form of stationary devices ("smart" mirrors, etc.) or using smartphone apps, can become interesting for retail. The use of smart glasses is, however, the most promising for logistics. The ability to blend in additional context-dependent information or indicators makes this technology particularly useful for handling or maintenance tasks. Practitioners noticed considerably improved efficiency, as well as lower error rates compared to conventional methods.

Information exchange

IT-Services

Businesses often find the necessary adjustments to IT-systems difficult. Legacy systems need to be integrated, productive systems are difficult to replace, or the IT landscape of the company has evolved very differently. This evolutionary adjustment of existing IT-systems in companies represents a disadvantage in comparison to companies that do not have historical restrictions. Changing, as well as solidly integrating IT, are currently necessary actions for efficiently meeting customer demands. In most cases, specifically single-item production or the individualization of products are the causes of high costs.

The mapping of business processes in enterprise resource planning systems (ERP) is highly relevant for retail, as well as for companies in the manufacturing industry. The introduction of ERP systems is associated with considerable effort and correspondingly high costs. Accordingly, such software is particularly widely used in larger companies who rate them as very highly relevant. Consistent and rapid availability of data through interfaces which optimize the entire supply chain is essential for manufacturing and retail. Due to this, also smaller companies and logistics service providers are forced to adapt because they have to communicate – largely via ERP data interfaces – with the bigger companies.