Logistics future trends and their transformative impact

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Armindo FriasMario Simões-MarquesPedro ÁguaAnacleto Correia

Abstract: Autonomous vehicles, Artificial Intelligence (AI), IoT, drones, 3D Printing, green fuels or sustainable practices are presented as the Holy Grail for the logistics of the future. But, what are the implications of their adoption in people’s lives and in the society?The dynamism of knowledge creation and the adoption of new methodologies and technologies are increasing. Contrary to what happened in the past, there are no longer periods of stability after the emergence of new technologies, preventing societies to smoothly adapt to the new reality. Periods of change and uncertainty usually end up affecting people’s living conditions - e.g. the early days of the industrial revolution. Thus, it will be relevant to identify the new trends in logistics and their impacts on people. Anticipating potential problems, allows for mitigating measures.More agile organizations represents a competitive advantage in responding to environments of uncertainty and greater customer customization requirement, but may imply less job stability, making people nomadic. The globalization of markets and the existence of even longer supply chains, dependent on effective and efficient transportation and communication technologies, increase the risk of supply disruption being exposed both to natural and anthropogenic causes (such as ideological, cultural or resource conflicts), with economic and social consequences. Recent examples are the COVID-19 Pandemics, the cyberattack to Maersk shipping company, the grounding of the Evergreen container, in the Suez Canal, in 2021, or the current war in Ukraine. On the other hand, technological evolution has increased the automation and autonomy of systems and boosted the reduction of human involvement. The development of AI and IoT allows, among other impacts, the use of drones to perform last mile deliveries or the existence of autonomous vehicles, being ships, planes or trucks, to carry out long-haul transport. Their adoption allows cost reduction, but also anticipates the reduction of jobs. It is recognized that new technologies themselves create new jobs; but the pertinent doubt is if they will compensate for the lost jobs? The existence of more sustainable activities (e.g., environmentally friendly), while respecting ethical and social principles, brings better living conditions for current and future generations. However, it can be conflicting with the existing long supply chains or imply lower process efficiency, leading to increased costs for customers.The aim of this work is to systematize the main future trends in logistics, assessing possible impacts that these trends can have on the daily life of individuals and society. To achieve this objective, a literature review will be carried out and the opinion of professionals will be surveyed. The expected contributions of this work are to systemize of the main logistics’ future trends and helping to anticipate the human factor consequences arising from its adoption. As a result of this work, subsequent mitigating measures to avoid negative impacts on people’s lives and society can be identify, leading to a smoother and more sustainable change process, in line with the principles of green and circular economy, and the targets of UN SDG.

Keywords: Future trends, Globalization, Logistics, Planning, Sustainability, Technological evolution

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003607

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