Logistics & Supply Chain

Predictive Logistics Era is Happening Right Now

Demand for Real-time Data Visibility is on the Rise

12.06.2020 - Change is happening this very minute in the logistics industry. Why? Quite simply, because shippers are under enormous pressure from their customers to provide accurate real-time visibility data on shipments from pick-up to delivery.

Armed with live logistics data, smart factories can plan just-in-sequence supply chains, warehouses feeding every sector of human activity, such as the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, can improve productivity by up to 30%, and retailers will be able to better provision supermarket shelves. Every sector of the business spectrum in the coming smart, live data era will profit.

Avista Oil is a perfect example. The base oil and lubricant manufacturer aims to differentiate from competitors through better customer services by providing live shipment data. It obtained real-time visibility of 70% of shipments within a week of onboarding the platform with carriers. ”Sixfold is the future of data distribution in the supply chain,” says Manfred Himmelbach, Avista Oil’s Head of Group Logistics at a carrier workshop on onboarding the Sixfold platform. ”Our customers have high demands and expect real-time information about their orders and if there are any delays.”

In the past, shipping logistics from A to B was all about pen-and-ink plan­ning with dispatchers reliant upon a set of well-trodden trade routes. Now the logistics industry is beginning to get smart.


“Smart logistics is beginning to shape a more
advanced conception of the logistics value stream.”


Optimizing Shipments

According to consultancy firm Bain, shippers with optimized distribution networks can expect up to 10% in­creases in margins. However, the majority of businesses still think of their supply chains as costs rather than as tools to drive added value and in­crease efficiency. The cost mindset has to change. By moving goods in an optimized way — improving route and shipment efficiency — manufacturing plants can decrease high levels of inventories while improving operational efficiency.

Three issues still need to be addressed: reducing shadow IT and information silos, breaking free from “old school” planning, and ditching the spreadsheet.

Of these issues, perhaps the most important is ditching the spread­sheet. Not only do logistics planners contribute to information silos by producing plans in Excel, they also counteract the mindset of open, transparent workflows so crucial to success in the modern supply chain. Indeed, this type of workflow is em­blematic of the organizational structures that result in shadow IT and silo decision-making, both of which make a forward-facing and future-oriented supply chain virtually impossible. Under these conditions, businesses get caught up in a cycle of planning based on past events instead of future predictable events, and then scramble to react to unforeseen breakdowns.

“The supply chain will become smarter and leaner,
offering a more adaptive and agile environment.”


Predictive Logistics Era

Smart logistics is beginning to shape a more advanced conception of the logistics value stream with predictive delivery platforms being integrated into traffic management systems. It marks the dawn of the “predictive logistics era” where supply chain management and smart technology predicts delays of shipments in transit ahead of time, en­abling planners, even autonomous machine processes, to adjust production schedules to meet changes in delivery schedules.

As predictive shipments accelerate, the global value chain will become more complex, relying on advanced predictive algorithms and the integration of more and more connected elements. The supply chain will become smarter and leaner, offering a more adaptive and agile environment. The predictive logistics era will allow more data to be circulated more quickly over networks. It will be indispensable for helping to propel autonomous vehicles, large-scale Internet of Things (IoT) and drones. Other logistics-specific applications such as fleet management and predictive maintenance will benefit and drive greater efficiencies in the supply chain.

In the predictive logistics era, parcels in trailers will be embedded with their own sensor tracking data such as humidity and temperature. Shippers will then be able to implement infrastructure monitoring, process automation, smart metering and real-time fleet management. Large carriers and freight for­warders will be the first to benefit from logistics predictive technologies allowing them to track assets in real time, make informed decisions by detailed data streams and to better engage with customers.

Sixfold’s predictive logistics platform is already beginning to transform Europe’s supply chains as customers enter the smart shipments era and transform their business economics in the process. It also en­ables shippers to better engage with their customers and become more customer-­centric.


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