There is no better representation of the current state of civilisation than the distribution of goods. We are so involved with consumerism, that we have created a world that revolves around the development, manufacture, and distribution of goods. The majority of which are only variations on things we already have. Regardless of how you feel about the philosophical aspects of such a culture. One must step back and admire the astonishing technological advancements that connect the people to items. A process that can begin with nothing more than being overheard by a device in your living room.
- Advanced Delivery Specialisation: Our technology has advanced to such a state, that logistics companies have adapted to specialised services. An example is demo logistics from Rhenus High Tech, a leading UK white glove logistics company. In areas of advanced technology, like medical equipment. There are logistic divisions that are not only able to deliver, install and test the multimillion-dollar equipment. They also provide demonstration facilities to enable test drives and evaluations.
- AI: Since we have allowed ourselves to be recorded and tracked in endless ways. Artificial intelligence now serves us with targeted advertising by analysing our thoughts and desires. All the effort it requires to receive a suggested product is one or two taps on our ubiquitous devices.
- Tracking: These days the state of tracking is about as good as the imagination allows. It is possible for a consumer, somewhere in the Amazon rainforest to glance, at a screen and know the state of their recently purchased items. Which may be riding on a train somewhere in Asia. And the tracking will update as the items make the journey around the world. This is true, even for an item worth only a few cents.
- Real Time Inventory Control: Tracking takes things a step further for the manufacturer. Real time inventory control allows the manufacturer to be very specific about production details. They can even set production to match daily orders, and compile purchase trends into data to feed the front end. Which will then be used to generate, consumer specific advertising.
- Smart Warehouses: Part of shipping and logistics is warehousing, it used to be that delivery times were influenced by the location of warehouse facilities. Now with the advent of smart warehouses. A type of warehouse crowd sourcing is developing where multiple logistic companies might use the same warehouse as a distribution point.
- Robotics: In these smart warehouses, as in the factories, the handling of goods can be entirely automated. There isn’t a lot that robots can’t do; from reading tracking info to analysing storage space and load dynamics, in addition to lifting and hauling goods. A package can travel around the world and barely be seen, let alone be touched by human hands.
- Final Mile: The last steps in package delivery can be the most complicated because of the randomness of our lives. Technology has recently made great steps to synchronize deliveries with schedules and using more cost-effective methods of small market deliveries, like employing crowd sourcing technology.
It is very difficult to imagine how much further the technology can go to connect consumers with their whimsical purchases. Aside from predictive delivery systems, we might be reaching the peak of this particular technological revolution. But perhaps that is just my lack of imagination.