- The 5G mobile broadband standard "promises to transform" the logistics industry by allowing more data to be transferred more quickly over networks, according to the 2019 State of Logistics report from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), A.T. Kearney and Penske.
- 5G will be indispensable for helping to propel autonomous vehicles, large-scale Internet of Things (IoT) and drones, the report said. Other logistics-specific applications like fleet management and predictive maintenance will benefit from this standard and potentially drive greater efficiencies in the supply chain.
- "With 5G, each parcel can have its own sensor tracking detailed data, such as humidity and temperature; each robot can employ dozens of sensors with continuous uplink to the cloud," the report reads. "Thus, companies will be better able to implement infrastructure monitoring, process automation, smart metering, and real-time fleet management."
In the near future, which the report defines as within the next three years, the applications for 5G will mostly be in areas like IoT and augmented reality (AR). This would include the ability to conduct remote quality inspections and diagnostics, handle more aspects of planning and data transfer in a cloud environment, along with real-time location and video access for supply chain partners, the report said.
In the long term, utilization gets into more advanced applications like unassisted robotic distribution centers and last-mile drone delivery.
"In the long term, 5G could play a fundamental role in changes that transform our industry and many others," Rob Siegers, the president of global technology at DHL, said in a blog post earlier this year.
Large asset-based carriers like Maersk or Ryder will likely see the most immediate benefit of 5G as it will allow them to track assets in real time and "make decisions informed by detailed data not accessible before," the report said. Other supply chain players like freight forwarders might have fewer use cases for 5G technology, but will likely still benefit from it as more uses emerge.
5G will allow for "seamless execution and unassisted operations will transform the business economics fundamentally in the industry in ways that will generate higher margins and better service," Michael Zimmerman, a partner at A.T. Kearney and an author of the report, said at release of the report earlier this week.