The major difficulties arising these pandemic times have, however, allowed us to learn some positive lessons. The need to face disruptions in the logistics chain led to the search for a technological transition towards Logistics 4.0, and a shift in thinking towards sustainability that heralded Logistics 5.0.
Coronavirus, spurring on industrial change
The pandemic has put the industrial sector on the lines worldwide, which has spurred on a significant shift in thinking. This overhaul of the industry must undergo an adaptation to the new global environment, which involves competitiveness, resilience and sustainability.
In terms of logistics, with most of the population locked up in their homes, demand rose at times of a scarcity of containers, problems renewing crews, new security measures, blockades, delays and endless etceteras.
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the weakness of certain classic schemes within the logistics industry. All of this has sped up the transition towards logistics 4.0. Companies have been forced to invest in technology and innovation to increase competitiveness and build know-how that allows for greater resilience in the future.
Now, with the pandemic crisis coming to an end, the European Union is committed to transforming the productive system around two axes: digitisation and sustainability. And here is where Logistics 5.0. steps in.
What does Logistics 5.0 consist of?
Logistics 5.0 is the logistics sector’s response to the Industry 5.0 model. And, just like this one, it is based on a transition focused on workers, knowledge and minimising environmental impact. This technology has made it possible to undertake this change of mindset without neglecting profitability and competitiveness.
The idea came about from the priority of integrating European social and environmental priorities in technological innovation This concept was reflected in the report “Industry 5.0 Towards a sustainable, human-centred and resilient European industry”, for the industry to move in 3 directions:
- Human factor
Far from expired visions, workers conceived as an investment and the concern for their well-being and training will be vital for the logistics hub. Technology will also be adapted to the needs of the worker, offering the company the benefit of attracting and retaining talent.
We can therefore say that the paradigm of Logistics 5.0. involves stepping up a gear in terms of Logistics 4.0. where technology seeks to improve social and ecological benefits.
Logistics 4.0, digitised automation
Technology and its integration into the logistics cycle is the core of Logistics 4.0, especially focused on the use of information to improve processes and operations throughout the value chain. Secure data exchange technologies such as blockchain and the cloud come into play in this regard, making decentralisation very convenient for the sector.
Smart equipment such as pallets, containers, warehouse management systems and robotic transport are another important pillar to automate supply chains and extract greater value from them This is already taking place in factories and warehouses, in the form of smart shelves, data readers that assist workers in their work, and autonomous vehicles that transport products and react to the environment.
Artificial intelligence is another tool allowing Logistics 4.0 to achieve more efficient supply chains. Orders, supplies and shipments are made depending on needs and sales forecasts with the use of machine learning and big data.
In terms of traceability, GPS technology can accurately locate goods in real time, allowing routes to be optimised, risks to be reduced and cargo control increased. Bar codes have given way to RFID tags that offer rich data accessible via mobiles and tablets, allowing operators to interact with merchandise.
All these technologies combined are leading to an unprecedented reduction in time, costs and errors, paving the way for the new horizon offered by Logistics 5.0.