MHI Solutions

Technology

SMART CITY LOGISTICS: TRENDS IN SUSTAINABLE LAST-MILE DELIVERIES

These Integrated, Smart Transportation Systems Use Data, Applications and Technology to Help Move Goods More Quickly, Cheaply and Efficiently —

By Mary Lou Jay —

Last-mile deliveries to consumers and merchants in urban areas pose a variety of challenges for logistics companies.

Today’s consumers have very high expectations when it comes to product deliveries. “There are a lot of customers today that expect the delivery of the freight or the merchandise the same day or the next day, and even next day is almost too late,” said Stacey Hodoh, VP, Supply Chain – Distribution at Walmart.

Increased traffic congestion in urban areas makes it even harder to meet those expectations. Added to that, cities and their citizens intent on improving air quality and quality of life are demanding that logistics carriers do their part by finding more sustainable, less intrusive ways to make urban deliveries.

In addition to these challenges, firms are asked to make those quick, sustainable and less intrusive deliveries, all while reducing the cost of goods, improving working capital and relieving margin pressure.

Regional and national government agencies are starting to address cities’ congestion and pollution issues. In December 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation launched the Smart City Challenge, asking mid-size cities across America to share their ideas for developing an integrated, smart transportation system that would use data, applications and technology to help people move goods more quickly, cheaply and efficiently.

The ideas they received ranged from sharing data to providing dynamic routing for truck traffic to apps for on-demand delivery trucks to city streets with dynamic markings that can change from loading zones to thoroughfares. (Download the complete report at http://bit.ly/SmartChallengeIdeas.)

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Emerging technologies such as IIoT, robotics and artificial intelligence provide exciting opportunities for supply chains. They also mean an exponential growth in the amount of data these supply chains generate. When properly utilized, this data can provide crucial information to improve efficiency, reduce costs, enhance transparency and customer service. But it comes with risk. The more digitized a supply chain becomes, the more it is at risk of cyberattack. Hackers are constantly finding new ways create data breaches they can exploit. The reality that most supply chains require third-party suppliers down the chain only heightens this threat. No matter the scale of your supply chain, it is essential to have solid cybersecurity processes in place to manage and mitigate the growing risk of cyberattack. That’s what this issue of MHI Solutions is all about, from cybersecurity threats in an IIoT world to dark data to the human factor in cybersecurity to blockchain as a potential solution.

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