With technology developing at breakneck speed and the price of oil constantly fluctuating, the global logistics industry is certainly being put through its paces these days, and is being forced to make regular changes to the way it operates.
While improvements in technology are by no means a bad thing, it can be both difficult and expensive for businesses to keep up, with new hardware being required each time a previous system becomes obsolete, which seems to be happening at an ever-increasing rate these days.
Furthermore, the adoption of new technological systems often requires a significant amount of extra logistics recruitment and new training, meaning suppliers are constantly in a state of transition and find it difficult to really get into their stride.
If the industry is to fully grasp the benefits of the technological age and use this to the best possible effect, then collaboration and the use of 'open data' – whereby information on shipping routes and other key resources are shared and made available to all logistics companies – could well be the key.
This is the view of Dr Walther Ploos van Amstel, associate professor of logistics at the Vrije University in Amsterdam, who says that co-operation and collaboration between shippers can help the industry move forwards.
By digitising and sharing information on shipping routes, for example, freight transporters can respond to short-term changes in the price of fuel by planning their routes more intelligently and sharing loads.
According to The Loadstar, Dr van Amstel is predicting that open data and paperless operations will become the norm for logistics operators throughout the world by 2020, adding that this could help to revolutionise the entire sector.
Speaking on the topic of 'supply chain integration', Dr Van Amstel says: "Shippers will be able to decide on a day-by-day basis on what is the best ways of getting their containers into Europe."
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