Cutting-edge technology on the cards for majority of logistics operators
Almost 70% of operators working in the logistics space will be investigation or implementing innovative supply chain solutions, according to a new report.
In its annual ‘Logistics Confidence Index’, Barclays has detailed how increased collaboration between customers and operators is key to effective logistics solutions and “is clearly becoming a clear focus for operators looking to improve efficiency.”
More advanced planning, forecasting and delivery services are also beginning to gain traction in response to the growth in a number of e-commerce players.
The report continued: “Big data has become the hot topic in the sector over the last six months. The quality of data available to operators is one of the most significant opportunities for optimising workflows and gaining competitive advantage, but also represents one of its toughest challenges.
“The key question is how to use it to the best advantage.”
Almost half (47%) of the companies responding to the survey said they had already invested significant resources in optimising the use of data and a quarter (23%) say they will be implementing supply chain data solutions in the next 12 months.
The report found that operators appear to be more advanced in the application of cloud services than in some of the other technological innovations.
Just over a quarter (27%) said they will be implementing cloud-enabled supply chain solutions over the next 12 months, underlining a clear focus on operational efficiency.
Greater operational visibility and reporting was cited as the most important benefit of logistics technology, said almost a third (31%) of respondents.
However, it appears that smart technology will take longer to become widely used; just 9% of operators said they are investing the use of driverless trucks.
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany