Smart logistics

Smart logistics

The Characteristics and Core System of Smart Logistics


The industrial chain of intelligent logistics industry is mainly divided into three parts: upper, middle and downstream. Upstream mainly for stand-alone equipment and parts providers; Midstream is a solution provider that owns core equipment or software products and uses a variety of equipment and software according to the application characteristics of the industry to design and build logistics automation systems; Downstream is the application of logistics automation systems in various industries, mainly divided into industrial production and commercial distribution.

Solution providers in the middle reaches of the industrial chain are in the core position of the entire industrial chain. In order to enhance their core competitiveness, more and more solution providers continue to strengthen the research and development and innovation of their core equipment and software, and expand their core product categories. At the same time, some equipment providers and system integrators with core software products are also evolving into solution providers. At present, most of the more well-known solution providers are evolved from equipment providers or software developers, and some are developed from logistics equipment manufacturers. The other part is from the logistics software developer, this kind of enterprises in the software technology development has a strong competitive strength.


Smart logistics has the following three characteristics

1. Connectivity

All logistics elements are interconnected, all business is digitized, and the whole process of logistics system is transparent and traceable. All data business, to “data” to drive decision-making and execution, to empower the logistics ecosystem.

2. Deep collaboration and efficient execution

Cross-group, cross-enterprise, cross-organization deep collaboration, based on the intelligent algorithm of global optimization of the logistics system, scheduling the entire logistics system in the efficient division of labor and cooperation.

3. Independent decision-making, learning and improvement

Software defined logistics to achieve independent decision-making, to promote the development of logistics system program control and automation; through big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence, logistics brain is built to make decisions in perception, learn in execution, optimize in learning, and constantly upgrade and improve in actual logistics operation.

Smart logistics technology architecture

Smart logistics is proposed based on the application of Internet of Things technology in the logistics industry, and according to the technical architecture of the five grain network,smart logistics also has a three-layer technical architecture.

1. The perception layer

Perceptual layer is the basis of intelligent logistics system to realize the perception of goods, and is the starting point of intelligent logistics. The perception layer of the logistics system realizes the perception of items through a variety of perception technologies, commonly used perception technologies are: bar code automatic identification technology, RFID perception technology, GPS mobile perception technology, sensor perception technology, infrared perception technology, voice perception technology, machine vision perception technology, wireless sensor network technology and so on. All kinds of technologies that can be used for item perception can be applied in logistics systems, and specific applications need to balance factors such as system requirements and technical costs.

2. Network layer

The network layer is the neural network and virtual space of intelligent logistics. The data obtained by the logistics system through the perception technology enters the network layer, and is analyzed and processed by big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and other technologies to generate decision instructions, and then gives instructions to the execution system through the perception communication technology.

3. The application layer

The application layer is the application system of intelligent logistics. With the help of the Internet of Things sensing technology, it senses the decision instructions of the network layer and performs operations in real time at the application layer.

In recent years, with the change in demand at the consumer end, higher requirements have been put forward for the degree of response and flexibility of the logistics industry, which has further promoted the increase in the penetration rate of intelligent logistics equipment, making the scale of the logistics equipment industry grow steadily. According to the statistics of MMH (Modern Material Handling) magazine in the United States, the total operating income of the top 20 global logistics automation system solution providers in 2020 reached 25.93 billion US dollars, +11.7% year-on-year.

Intelligent logistics automation system includes warehousing system, conveying and handling system and sorting system, the main basic technology includes sensor technology, control and drive, positioning system, artificial intelligence, big data, robotics and so on. The upstream of the intelligent logistics equipment industry chain is the parts manufacturer, including the point roll, motor and other parts processors, the midstream is the core logistics equipment manufacturer and subsystem integrator, and the downstream is the logistics automation system integrator. The application fields of intelligent logistics automation system cover e-commerce, express logistics, tobacco, medicine and other fields, and the application scenarios are broad.


Smart logistics three core systems

According to the definition and technical framework of intelligent logistics, combined with the characteristics of human intelligence, we believe that intelligent logistics is mainly composed of intelligent thinking system, information transmission system and intelligent execution system.

1. Intelligent thinking system

It is the logistics brain and the core system of intelligent logistics. Big data is the resource of intelligent thinking, clouding computing is the engine of intelligent thinking, and artificial intelligence is the ability of intelligent thinking and autonomous decision-making.

2. Information transmission system

It is the logistics neural network, the most important system of intelligent logistics. The Internet of Things is the starting point of information perception, and also the end neural network of information transmission from the physical world to the information world. Internet + is the basic network of information transmission and the virtual network space of logistics information transmission and processing; GPS (information physical system) technology reflects the virtual and real integration of intelligent logistics information transmission, computing and control of the integrated network, is the Internet + Internet of things technology integration and integration development.

3. Intelligent execution system

It is the embodiment of the specific operation of the wisdom of the physical world, showing automated, unmanned autonomous operations, the core is the use of intelligent hardware equipment in the execution of intelligent operations, reflecting the comprehensive application of intelligent logistics in the field of warehousing and distribution.


Development status and evolution direction of smart logistics

Since 2017, smart logistics has become the focus of attention in the industry, whether it is Ali, Jingdong and other representatives of the e-commerce enterprises, or to SF Express, YTO, Yunda and other representatives of the express delivery enterprises, as well as a variety of car and cargo matching enterprises, third-party logistics enterprises, urban logistics distribution enterprises, logistics information platform enterprises, have begun to vigorously develop smart logistics.

China’s economy has entered a new era of high-quality development. On the one hand, rising labor costs have made it a trend for logistics machines to replace labor; on the other hand, people’s yearning for a better life has brought flexibility and personalized demands for logistics, pushing the logistics system to develop in the direction of resource integration, comprehensive optimization, collaborative sharing and agile response, and also putting forward higher requirements for smart logistics. With the continuous development of technologies such as the Internet of Things, cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence, conditions have been created for smart logistics innovation.

In terms of intelligent logistics thinking system, it has now fully entered the digital stage, logistics enterprises have begun to pay attention to logistics data collection, analysis and application, and the pre-cover technology based on big data prediction has made logistics realize the first, alleviating the logistics distribution pressure at the peak stage of Double 11 logistics. The logistics optimization based on data analysis has added wings to the logistics development of enterprises. However, examining the logistics systems of various companies, including advanced intelligent logistics systems, the current intelligent logistics thinking system can achieve “independent decision-making”, and the realization of software-defined logistics systems is still rare. At present, China’s intelligent logistics thinking system is evolving from digitalization to program control, and the future evolution direction is intelligent.

In terms of intelligent logistics information transmission system, with the application of Internet of Things technology, automatic identification technology based on bar codes, satellite navigation tracking and positioning technology, RFID identification technology, and some sensing technologies have been widely used, and the Internet has begun to extend to the physical network stage, promoting the transparent development of logistics business processes. After investigation, we judge that the current logistics information transmission is in the stage of gradual popularization of Internet of Things technology and initial formation of logistics terminal neural network, which needs to further evolve to the direction of CPS (information physical system) that comprehensively deepens links and information integration, and realize information networking, Internet of things, Internet of equipment, Internet of computing, and Internet of control. We will fully enter a smart world of connectivity and virtual reality.

In terms of intelligent logistics execution system, logistics automation technology has gained rapid development at present, smart containers, drones, and robot technology in distribution terminals have begun to enter the application stage, and technologies such as autonomous trucks and underground intelligent logistics distribution systems have become hot topics. We believe that the current intelligent execution system is evolving from mechanization and automation to intelligent hardware, and the future evolution direction is the intelligent hardware networking application at the system level and platform level to realize the unmanned and intelligent execution system.