Apps for logistics – the actual industrial revolution

An article from the field of software development, events
Jan Hosemann
Jan Hosemann

We´re living in the digital age. While globalization has created a world which is fully connected, digitization is about to shorten those ways. The impact of the digital world is surrounding us in our everyday lives.

Information is more accessible, the way we communicate has changed and things can be shipped to us easily from all over the world. The technological progress is unstoppable – every industrial sector is already influenced by digitization, even one of the most traditional ones known to us: logistics. The revolution has just begun…

Logistics 4.0 One of the side-effects of the influences of the technical progress to the industry is known as logistics 4.0. Once machines were created, mass production introduced and processes automated to optimize production, nowadays smart-services and the “Internet of Things” (IoT) are introducing the fourth industrial revolution. But how does it actually affect the industry? As long as teleportation doesn´t exist in real life (although the 3D printer is on a good way to achieve nearly the same), the worldwide transfer of goods and warehouse logistics are remaining huge challenges. But each time decisions have to be made, intelligence can be pictured in information systems. Due to the digitization of the supply-chain, complex processes can be optimized which results in saving time and money. So using modern technology and mobile apps in logistics opens up unlimited possibilities for both private and business users.

Apps for logistics We´re already using apps for tracking our parcels (like the DHL app) or using our smartphone as a navigation system or a currency converter. But the most can be achieved in the business area, where apps can be of assistance for truck drivers finding a parking lot, or provide useful information about the loading of goods, for instance. As for the dispatch department, it is the usual way to keep its records digitally. There are apps for recording the movement of goods and for providing information about the transportation right into the information system of the corresponding dispatch department. But also quality testing can profit by digitization. Complex information, checklists, documentations and protocols can be retrieved digitally and simplify the everyday job. But these are just a few areas of interest. A digital solution is always suitable when it comes to manage and supervise complex tasks. So digitization is able to simplify the work sequence and to provide important advantages in the rather analog area of transportation and logistics. But each company is operating differently – so there are barely any digital all-around solutions available. In such cases, an individual solution is recommended. The Cap3 GmbH, for instance, developed a security application for “Hermes”, which secures technicians when working alone in the high rack warehouse.

Outlook The digitization of logistics has just begun. This gets even clearer when we take a look into the near future. The IoT is able to increase the transparency in logistics massively. Just imagine a “smart-container”, which automatically sends information about its loading and its position via internet. If we transfer that concept to freight trains, delays could be avoided. Another very exciting vision comes to live when we imagine the use of augmented reality (AR) in logistics; AR – meaning mobile devices interacting with the real world to reveal additional content and information. Using AR, a charge could be scanned through a smartphone (or through smart glasses), checking for its completeness and condition. But also windshield projection systems, revealing traffic information or receiving real-time instructions for the most effective way to store goods in the warehouse could be possible. This way “Tetris” could become the pioneer in the field of warehouse management. These times we´re experiencing the digitization of logistics and we´re realizing that there are no limits set. Many of the named examples aren´t even visions of the future anymore, they are already in use. It´s a very exciting field which we are constantly aware of and we´d love to take part developing its future!

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