Transportation, The Next Industry To Be Disrupted By The 4th Industrial Revolution
Last year as I was shopping in the famous Kariakoo Market in Dar Es Salam, I discovered a simple fact. Although I had been coached on how to say “how much is this item” in Swahili, and I would always ask in Swahili, little did I know that they would count and give prices in Swahili. I obviously didn’t understand and certainly was not prepared for this, and the moment I let them know that I could not speak their language, they would hike their prices. As a foreigner, I didn’t know what the correct or fair prices were. This year when a Zimbabwean friend who is fluent in Swahili went with me to the same market, I realised that I had been conned because I was unable to speak the local language.
For various reasons, a lot of us have been overcharged when buying something. Its a common practice for sellers to change the price of an item because of a person’s appearance, inability to speak the local lingo or their social status amongst other things.
This problem of overcharging customers, however, will persist till time stands still. In the meantime, embracing technology is a viable solution we can work with.
In this Industrial revolution, problems emanating from involving 3rd parties in some transactions must fall. The days of paying USD $50 from the airport to Belvedere because “you look like you can afford it” are about to be over. Paying your relative, or friend, or even neighbor to deliver your goods which may or may not be delivered on time must be a thing of the past.
Sleeping at bustops scouting for empty haulage trucks, or coaches, and waiting days on end for your cargo to be ferried from point A to point B, really should not continue to be a solution for businesses in this century. Spending hours on end on the phone, either talking to numerous airlines or travel agents, just to be able to get comparative prices is definitely as ancient as fighting with a spear in 2018.
There are a number of solutions that have solved the problems I have alluded to that will that save a lot of time, and resources which can otherwise be used wisely elsewhere. Here are some of the solutions that make logistics easier in the 4th Industrial Revolution
Uber and Uber Like services
Uber is a transportation services that is accessed via an app. This is an on demand service that an individual may use to hire a cab or access food delivery and a whole lot more. This service has been adopted by a startup in Rwanda and they have developed SafeMotos and localized it to suit their transportation demands and eliminate barriers to safe commuting.
This solution offers convenience because it saves time and other resources since its mainly location based. This right here is a logistical solution developers in the 4th industrial revolution are scrambling to perfect and offer.
I’m sure if a lot of people are given money to start a transport business they will buy haulage trucks, buses or combis. In Zimbabwe, “runners” or bus drivers are used to transport cargo. This may be because, despite our railway network, which is heavily underutilized and in need of modernization, almost all cargo loads are transported by road. Problems arise however, when trying to link the cargo owners with large loads to various cargo carriers. Most agencies that do this kind of work charge a commission and are sometimes biased towards their favorite companies, making this whole process of waiting for loads on both parties lengthy.
A solution that this industry needs would be a simple app that allows bidding between a load owner and a load carrier, by route and load, up until common ground is reached and the job is given to the closest carrier based on the agreement and geographic factors.
Last Mile Delivery
According to Datex, last mile delivery is defined as the movement of goods from a transportation hub to the final delivery destination. The final delivery destination is typically a personal residence.
The rise of e-commerce globally, even locally, can only lead to the increase in demand of last mile delivery services. Some people now prefer buying goods online, rather than the traditional physical shopping, which requires visits to several shops, in order to check for availability, whilst comparing prices.
As we progress further into the 4th Industrial revolution, last mile delivery as an aid to e-commerce is imperative. Last Mile delivery can be offered separately or linked to the platforms that sell goods online. One thing is for sure is that this is a very huge spanner that we need in our toolbox, because it offers exactly what shoppers are looking for, convenience.
Airline Online Booking.
Last year, using a fare comparing app, we managed to book and pay for a trip, without the hassle of having to call and inquire from various different airlines or travel agencies. There are an ever increasing number of app based solutions that simplify multiple booking processes, and allow you to search for the right fares within minutes, and this is especially useful if you are on a tight budget.
In brief and in conclusion, the internet is enabling applications to provide convenience, reduce time whilst eliminating price variances based on physical appearance. As the entire economy rests on transportation and distribution of goods and services, and as we fully enter into the 4th Industrial revolution with technology as its foundation, app based solutions in logistics will become the norm.
This article has been sponsored by Cumii Technologies and you can find out more here (link http://www.cumii.net/#Cumii_ODS )