Tomorrow’s Supply Chain Leaders Share their Vision for ‘The Future of Delivery’

Cloud-based TMS software provides tools needed to achieve transportation optimization
MercuryGate recently held its inaugural Future of Delivery Essay Contest as part of the MercuryUniversity Collegiate Program. The contest was open to both graduate and undergraduate supply chain students of the more than 60 colleges and universities participating in the program.
The intent of the essay contest was to learn how the next generation of supply chain leaders view the impact that technology will have on logistics and transportation management in the not so distant future.
We received numerous entries from all over the world from Maine to Brazil. What we learned in reading these informative, and sometimes imaginative, essays is that these students have a deep understanding of logistics and where it’s headed in this rapidly changing world. It is also clear that they grasp the critical role that technology will play in solving tomorrow’s supply chain challenges. Their detailed analysis and insight of what’s happening in their fields of study is a credit to their professors and their schools.

The winners of the 2018 Future of Delivery Essay contest are:

Danielle Hadre, a Maine Maritime Academy graduate student, won first-place.
Brittany Gardner, a student of Texas A&M, was named runner up.
In her winning essay, Danielle describes how new innovations will re-shape the transportation industry and how the systems we use today will need to evolve and keep pace with the new and increasing demands for tracking, decision support, and ease of use.
To the latter point, Dannielle writes:
“People want systems that are easy to navigate at a glance and intuitive to the needs they personally have when dealing with the software. They no longer want to click through multiple tabs and pull-down menus… Features and ease of use will dominate new technology… [it] must be easy to learn and master.”
Danielle also foresees the growing impact of blockchain on global supply chains:
“The applications are virtually endless, and all of these pieces of information can have a direct impact on cost, inventory holding, and produce reduction in travel time and congestion. So, what do technology systems need to do to get ready for blockchain implementation? First, they need to agree on standard units both within the company and within the industry… TMS users need to consider what information they want to capture, externally and internally, and how the information will be used… Once ready for implementation, it will most likely be as straightforward as adding underlying blockchain applications to current systems or adding a web prefix to existing URLs.”
In her essay, Brittany takes a closer look at how technology will speed the delivery of goods through more automated tools and technology that freely pass data along the transportation lifecycle, while reducing risks.
“Within the next 10 years, multiple technologies and economic forces will shift the way the supply chain, logistics, and transportation fields operate. Seven major technologies will assist transportation and logistics firms in migrating to a more efficient and cost effective multimodal process. These methods include: electronic logging devices (ELD), autonomous vehicles, autonomous delivery, robotics process automation, cognitive computing risk mitigation software, anti-theft systems, and blockchain. These methods are all components of a well-rounded approach to reduce transit cost, continue to meet the ever-increasing demand for better customer service, maintain a high level of security, reduce errors, and increase supply chain transparency.”
Brittany concludes that:
“These technologies will become an integral part of an organization’s transportation management system and will aid in facilitating transit and the protection of goods between distribution centers and the final destinations… [They] will power tomorrow’s transportation departments and will ultimately become the standard tools utilized in the management and facilitation of delivery transit.”
As today’s supply chain professionals know, the only true constant is change. The digitization of the supply chain, in many ways, has only just begun. As we glimpse the future, we may not yet know the next big challenge, even as we try to find solutions for our current challenges. What we do know is that it will take the full energy, imagination, and insights of well-trained logistics professionals to solve such challenges.
Through our MercuryUniversity Collegiate Program, we are dedicated to providing technology experience and curriculum at no charge to participating educational institutions.

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