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Logistics Customers Moving from Speed to Need

By Dr. Robert L. Gordon | 12/08/2015 | 12:29 PM | Categories: Current Affairs


We humans are sensitive to time, which shows our preoccupation with time rather than a preoccupation with logistics. Although the distance is important, temporal information is what interests people most.

This concept of time and distance influences logistics, which is marketed and sold in units of time rather than distance. We are asked would you like that sent overnight, two-day, or ground (meaning 5-7 days, typically.) Logistics carriers know that distance most often dictates cost, but the consumer is less interested in that detail, so services are marketed in terms of time.

As another illustration, when you use Google maps to go to a location, it gives a warning if the arrival time is later than the hours of operation of the location.

Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things have the potential to change our focus. Instead of being centered on time, we may focus on satisfying our needs. Shortly, we might see drone deliveries of items directly to our home or perhaps we will just 3D print the latest fashion clothing.

Here is an example of how logistics happens today: I want a new TV right before the release of the new season of “Orange is the New Black.” I search Amazon and order the TV I want. I want it installed and mounted as well as programmed to work with DVD and my sound system. I find a contractor through Angie’s List and schedule a time that I can leave work so I can supervise the installation. Ultimately, I have to work out all the logistics so that everything is in place in time for me to watch my program on TV.

With artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, I would just ask my phone to arrange for a new TV. My phone will already know my preferences based upon past information, and it would then be able to handle all the logistics. The system would be able to sort through TVs on Amazon to find one that will fit and meet my needs based upon ratings and my personal preferences. The system will be able to sort through Angie’s list to find a suitable installation company based upon ratings, location, and timing.

The delivery at home would coincide with the arrival of the installation person. My phone that integrates to my home will then arrange to let in the contractor and lock up after the work is done. Ultimately, all the logistics would happen automatically to meet my individual needs.

The interesting point is that this perspective of the future is not that far away. All of the technology is available. It is just a matter of time before people start integrating everything, which is the future that the Internet of Things offers. Soon, we will wonder how we managed before everything was integrated.



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About Dr. Robert Lee Gordon

Dr. Robert Lee Gordon

Dr. Robert Lee Gordon is program director of the Reverse Logistics department at American Public University. Dr. Gordon has over twenty-five years of professional experience in supply chain management and human resources. He holds a Doctorate of Management and Organizational Leadership and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, as well earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from UCLA. Dr. Gordon has spent more than 14 years teaching reverse logistics, transportation, project management, and human resources. He has published articles on reverse logistics; supply chain management; project management; human resources; education, and complexity. He has also published four books on Reverse Logistics Management; Complexity and Project Management; Virtual Project Management Organizations, and Successful Program Management..

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