Introducing Logistics 4.0 and the innovators to keep an eye on
Logistics is always changing and evolving. Just like Web 4.0, there is logistics 4.0, which is the fourth industrial revolution. Companies nowadays are implementing more technology into their services, simplifying processes for users and upping efficiency with time.
What’s the difference between logistics 3.0 and 4.0?
Around the 1970s, the third industrial revolution took place, introducing computers for the first time, making it the start of the logistics industry’s digitalization. Thanks to the revolution of digital technology, logistics 3.0 was able to grow and develop. However, logistics 3.0 only scratched the surface of the world of digital assistance, whereas 4.0 dwells deep within. By using the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, cloud computing, and automation of processes, the aim of the fourth industrial revolution is to increase efficiency while simplifying processes and stabilizing the supply chain.
The effects of COVID on the logistics industry
Annual change in CO2 emissions from energy combustion and industrial processes, 1900–2021 — iea.org
According to this report by iea, carbon dioxide emissions rose by six percent in 2021, hitting a record high of36.3 billion tonnes. The process of recovering from the still ongoing pandemic and the after-effects of COVID-19 have shown that the carbon footprint is the highest that it’s been. Alfred24 is combating this global issue with a solution — a sustainable delivery network. Powered by artificial intelligence for their supply chain management, Alfred24’s automated parcel lockers and electric vans reduce CO2 emissions by 90 percent, significantly cutting down the impact e-commerce and urban deliveries have on the environment. (Our small but impactful friend, Kiwibot, is also fighting pollution, CO2 emission for the urban delivery industry) Alfred24’s system eliminates failed deliveries and increases couriers’ efficiency by 10 times as they use the same route every day. Not only does the company deliver with electric vans, thereby reducing CO2 emissions, but they also use plastic-free, eco-friendly mailer bags for their shipments.
The pandemic not only brought us higher CO2 emission rates, but also unsteady jobs and higher chances of bankruptcy for most small to medium-sized companies. This has especially affected many logistics companies and distribution centers. However, some have been able to overcome the struggle, like Inteluck. Named one of the fastest-growing companies in the Asia Pacific and earning second place in the “Philippines’ Growth Champions 2022” by Statista and Inquirer, Inteluck provides contract logistics services that use IoT (Internet of Things) and supply-chain management systems to companies in Southeast Asia. The services they offer include domestic full truckload transportation (FTL), warehouse management, freight forwarding, cross-border transportation, and other customized supply chain services, all of which have helped thousands of people during the pandemic. Inteluck has also helped many of its customers in these special times with its precautionary Business Development (BD) strategy, saving them from going bankrupt.
You can read our founder spotlight interview with the genius behind the company, Kevin Zhang, who has been nominated in Forbes 30 under 30 for 2022.
Revolutionizing the industry with technology
BlueX is the world’s first end-to-end AI-powered fintech platform powering the freight commerce industry. BlueX offers many services, including BlueX e-commerce, BlueX Pay, and BlueX Pay-It-Later. BlueX Pay allows lenders to get access to an invoice-based, Pay-It-Later financing solution for shippers and freight forwarders in the logistics industry. At the same time, their clients are able to pay their freight logistics invoices with BlueX Pay-it-Later, which can go up to US$ 1 million with 30 to 60-day terms on logistics invoices.
One of the innovative companies we’re watching in the logistics industry 4.0 is Willbox, the company behind “Giho,” a new platform for digital forwarding operations in international logistics. As the process of international logistics is often less than straightforward for many companies, Giho exists to provide clients with the lower cost of logistics in only three seconds. One of the advantages Giho has over its competitors is Willbox’s use of algorithms, which allows customers to find the company best suited for their shipments and needs. Another one is the digitizing of packaging — shipments covers, be they wooden boxes or steel — are incorporated into their system, something that is unprecedented in the industry. When the beta version of Willbox debuted, over 100 logistics companies registered, proving the company’s position in the logistics market.
Focused on solving last-mile delivery pain points, 207 Inc. is the new star in the Japanese logistics industry. It won not one, but two, of the largest startup pitch competitions in Japan — TechCrunch Startup Battle 2020 and IVS2021 Spring LAUNCHPAD. The following four services have revolutionized last-mile delivery in the industry:
- TODOCU: Solves redelivery problems by checking if the recipients are at home or not.
- TODOCU Supporter: The app helps couriers resolve redelivery problems. Couriers can use the service to collect recipient information by scanning delivery tickets, managing all addresses on a map, and contacting recipients to schedule an appropriate delivery time.
- TODOCU Cloud: A service that streamlines operations for e-commerce and logistics companies, providing real-time management of each package’s shipping status and managing the dynamic of couriers.
- Sukimabin: This is a gig economy solution that employs people who want to deliver packages in their spare time, and is a response to the increase in delivery needs due to the growth of the e-commerce industry.
You can read our founder spotlight interview with 207’s founder on his goal to onboard half of all Japanese couriers in 2022.
Game-changers in Asia
In just three years, Buyandship had grown to be one of the top three companies in Hong Kong, operating in 11 different countries, including South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, China, the United States, and more. With 1.2 million users, Buyandship ships products overseas at a cheaper rate with professional support provided before, during, and after-sales. With its understanding of the complex custom laws in different countries, Buyandships has an accumulated data set consisting of references for every consumer, something that is not only helpful to Buyandship but also pushing some much-needed change for government tax and shipping laws. For example, the Malaysian government’s Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has changed its century-old outdated e-commerce law.
You can read more about Buyandship and its founder’s thoughts on the state of cross-border e-commerce here.
OPENLOGI, another company from Japan, is the leading company of logistics networks in Japan. OPENLOGI provides comprehensive logistics support, where EC businesses can focus on product planning, sales, and business growth instead of only on logistics management. One of the things that make OPENLOGI stand out is the flexibility the company can offer to its customers. Usually, it takes one to two months for an EC company to use a warehouse, including quoting and securing a place, with a fixed cost involved in the process, but OpenLogi does not require the customer to go through any of that — and the service can be used immediately after system registration. After the service’s release in 2014, over 8,000 e-commerce companies and 40 logistics companies have used its services. Now, OPENLOGI has more than 10,000 users.