Will 5G Bring Transformation in Supply Chain & Logistics?


The Android and iPhone revolution has proved to be a game-changer for the transportation industry, helping to lay the groundwork for collaborative logistics networks. Indeed, innovative logistics and supply chain platforms, which harmonize global navigation satellite systems and 3G, 4G, and future 5G networks, have unshackled owners/operators from fixed office locations and enabled them to post and accept loads on the move. As a result, they are reaping the benefits of efficiency and consolidation and experiencing increased profit margins.

With the IoT paving the way for intelligent vehicles, smart infrastructure, and products, many in logistics believe that 5G networks, which will enable consumers to process data at over one gigabyte per second, also could be the enabler for unprecedented change in that they enable the “physical internet” to flourish.

The 5G mobile broadband standard is promising to transform the logistics and supply chain industry by allowing more data to be transferred more quickly over networks. 5G will be indispensable for helping to propel autonomous vehicles, large-scale Internet of Things (IoT) and drones. Other logistics-specific applications like fleet management and predictive maintenance will benefit from this standard and potentially drive greater efficiencies in the supply chain.

As per a report, with 5G networks, parcels will be embedded with their own sensor tracking data such as humidity and temperature; each robot will employ dozens of sensors with continuous uplink to the cloud. Thus, companies will be able to implement infrastructure monitoring, process automation, smart metering, and real-time fleet management.

Collaborative logistics platforms, which enable members — through a mobile device — to accept and post loads, can benefit in particular. That is because 5G will enable faster wireless speeds and connect more devices. As more vehicles become connected, operators should see an increase in speed and accuracy of freight exchange platforms.

In the near future, 5G will mostly be in areas like IoT and augmented reality (AR). This would include the ability to conduct remote quality inspections and diagnostics, handle more aspects of planning and data transfer in a cloud environment, along with real-time location and video access for supply chain partners.

Large asset-based carriers like Maersk or Ryder will likely see the most immediate benefit of 5G as it will allow them to track assets in real time and make informed decisions by detailed data. Other supply chain players like freight forwarders might have great use cases for 5G technology, but will likely still benefit from it as more uses emerge.

5G networks will certainly help in transforming the logistics and supply chain industry by allowing seamless execution and unassisted operations. It will transform the business economics and will generate higher margins and better services. In an information-driven world where advanced data networks underpinned by leading-edge algorithms are likely to dominate the logistics landscapes of tomorrow, that can only be good news for collaborative logistics platforms.