Did you know that a staggering 21% of vehicles in the logistics and supply chain sector run empty on their routes? In 2021, European Commission data recorded 34 billion kilometres of “deadhead” distance. This is more than just a financial drain; it represents a sustainability crisis that must be addressed. As the industry struggles with this inefficiency, cloud computing provides a ray of hope, presenting new opportunities to improve route planning and, ultimately, reshape the landscape of logistics operations.

In a recent episode of The Sorted Post-Purchase Podcast, Pavlo Zheldak, chief delivery officer at Acropolium, outlined how cloud computing is transforming logistics. Watch the episode below.

Pavlo + Shaun discuss cloud computing in logistics.

The power of cloud computing in logistics

Cloud computing has transformed many industries, including logistics. Its ability to decentralise data and provide real-time access enables businesses to make informed decisions quickly. In the podcast, Pavlo emphasises the profound impact of these features: “First of all, it’s decentralisation and accessibility of real-time data … you should understand what’s happening on each chain of your supply chain management.”

This capability not only streamlines operations, but also significantly lowers the costs associated with traditional logistics models. Companies can optimise their route planning by leveraging cloud-based solutions, ensuring vehicles are fully utilised, thus lowering the percentage of empty runs.

What are the economic and environmental benefits?

The economic advantages of incorporating cloud computing into logistics are undeniable. Optimised route planning directly translates into lower operational costs, as fewer miles driven and more efficient vehicle use result in significant fuel and maintenance savings. In Pavlo’s words, “it will be better for the environment because fewer trucks … less carbon footprint”.

These enhancements are critical for businesses looking to meet sustainability targets and improve their environmental credentials. In an era when consumers are increasingly favouring environmentally conscious brands, implementing cloud technologies can provide a competitive edge. According to the Harvard Business Review: “When Gen Z and Millennial customers believe a brand cares about its impact on people and the planet, they are 27% more likely to purchase it than older generations are.”

Scalability and flexibility, and challenges

Scalability is a key feature of cloud solutions provided by AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Pavlo goes on to say, “You can upgrade or downgrade your nodes or machines based on the load that you have”. This flexibility enables businesses to respond quickly to changing demands without making significant investments in physical infrastructure.

Yet, despite the benefits, transitioning to cloud computing presents challenges. The main challenge is ensuring that the technology is appropriate for the business size and model. “If you are a small company, you should firstly think about if it’s OK to invest in cloud computing,” says Pavlo. In other words, don’t just do it because you think you should. It has to be the right fit for what you want to achieve.

Security concerns also play a critical role, though modern cloud providers are well-equipped with robust security measures to protect data integrity.

The future of cloud computing in logistics

Looking ahead, the combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning with cloud computing promises to further transform logistics. These technologies can improve data analysis, allowing for more precise route optimisation and predictive logistics management. As Pavlo correctly points out, the future is data-driven, and cloud computing is the foundation of this transformation.

For businesses in the logistics and supply chain sectors, adopting cloud computing is more than just staying current. It’s about positioning for the future – improving operational efficiency, lowering environmental impact, and, ultimately, providing a superior customer experience.