The definition of logistics is the organization and accomplishment of complex endeavours. It is a term that is often used for military operations but applies to many things requiring multiple steps and planning. For businesses Logistics can be an essential part of their operation. Armies were the original logistics experts, but with expanding empires, private interests found a niche in moving resources and information from one place to another. Immediately upon discovering new territories, the potential for trade was of utmost importance, and this trade was entirely reliant on the logistical challenges in the last few centuries. Logistics companies even governed large land areas, like the Hudson’s Bay Company or the East India Company. But as civilization spread, logistics began to change to a more industrial and less political force.
- Wagons, Trains, and Ships: Up until the era of flight, wagons, trains, or ships delivered almost all products. And sometimes all three were involved. Records were kept in ledgers, but there was no way to send the information forward ahead of the arrival. Inventory and tracking were complicated, so if things got misplaced, they would be gone forever. It all began to change with the onset of telegraphs and telephones, and eventually computers. The ability to predict and record inventories and product movement had dramatic effects on the precision and capabilities of logistics companies.
- Modern Expansion: In days gone by, if you wanted to buy something, you often had to go to it, and bring it back with you. But the internet has changed the way we shop and opened the door to multiple conveniences. Today ordering items and having them delivered is standard procedure. And this is true for everyone, from kids to major corporations, delivering everything from sandwiches to Advanced components and machines. Specialization has also taken place, and companies like Rhenus High Techhandlesophisticated technology, while outfits like Skip the Dishes can bring you sandwiches.
- Automation: The future of logistics is going to involve more and more automation. Already major companies like Amazon use armies of robots in their warehouse and logistic centers. There are many experiments with drones and self-driving vehicles. It is possible already for AI to make orders, and the items can be shipped from a supplier to a smart warehouse, to a separate dispatcher,and then on to the final depot, without involving any humans at all. It is in the final mile of deliveries, and the overland transits, that the next changes will come. There might be a time soon where the AI in your house oversees keeping you supplied with goods, and you might not even think about getting groceries yourself. You will likely only see digital receipts pop up on a screen when transactions occur.
Things have gotten much more accessible; time will tell if they have gotten better. It is hard to predict how such leaps in simplified living will affect us as a species. It would be nice to think that we will make greater leaps as a society with more leisure time, but that remains to be seen. We can still marvel at how far we have come. From a customer’s point of view, the absolute ease of logistics is truly a marvel of our time.