SINGAPORE, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- Robots, automation, artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled technologies will shape the future of logistics and supply chains globally and help Singapore move ahead as a global trade and manufacturing hub.
This was the key message of the Tech & Innovation Expo @ Supply Chain Asia Forum 2019, themed "Digitalization of the Supply Chain World," which kicked off on Tuesday, attracting more than 1,500 global visitors.
Paul Lim, president of Supply Chain Asia (SCA), said that being smart and sustainable is the key to long-term survival.
"The industrial landscape is set to change with more businesses making greater use of cutting-edge technology to drive new ways of production and delivery via automated and robotic devices and mobile solutions to reach customers faster, cheaper and more efficiently than ever before," he said.
According to Transparency Market Research, the global smart and mobile supply chain solutions market was valued at 13,614.8 million U.S. dollars in 2018, and is expected to expand further.
The supply chain tech expo brought together more than 40 local and global organizations to showcase some of the industry's most exciting and innovative technologies.
Among them was homegrown company Haulio, a fast-growing Singapore logistics-tech start-up. It is currently Singapore's largest centralized digital platform designed for the container haulage industry to reduce inefficiencies by pooling resources and jobs across the different stakeholders.
In February this year, it launched the first mobile-focused app in Singapore to facilitate the digital communication and dispatch of jobs between operators and drivers. Currently, it has piloted the app with over 30 haulage companies and has over 300 driver sign-ups.
Haulio's CEO Alvin Ea pointed out that many small logistics companies in Southeast Asia still stick to the "old ways" of relying on pen and paper and the management is reluctant to switch to digital processes.
But there is still a huge potential to help them jump on board this wave of new digital solutions, he said.
Another Singaporean company, XiaoXin Machines, is tapping on intelligent warehouse technologies to overcome the challenge of growing labor shortage. Founded in late 2018, XiaoXin Machines is a wholly-owned subsidiary of leading vehicle leasing firm Goldbell Group.
XiaoXin Machines recently unveiled its first autonomous forklift called Bumblebee, which can stack loads of up to 2 tonnes and can run 24 hours in a day without a break and even in the dark.
Xiaoxin Machines director Kelvin Tay painted the scenario of future smart warehouses filled with stock-taking drones, automated conveyer belts and roaming autonomous mobile robots.
Real-time information of any container truck delays can be collected via fleet telematics, while AI software can direct the aisle space to be freed up to make way for a sudden, huge product order, for instance.