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BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY! The end of the transport industry?

The disruptive technology that’s going to hit the logistic industry hardest.

Every industry can be affected by it: disruptive technology, technology that turns the world upside down, that pulls the rug out from under that industry’s right to exist. That is, if you don’t anticipate it. Nokia is a perfect example. Its senior management were convinced that the smartphone wouldn’t take off and were too late to join the bandwagon. Result: the market share of this well-known brand was practically wiped out. The same thing applies to Kodak. If they had seen the rise of the popularity of digital photography sooner, they would have been in a better position to deal with it.

What is the technology now that has the potential to turn the logistical chain upside down, or even to wipe it out? Very simple: something whereby products can be transported from the manufacturer to the end-user in a matter of seconds. Something like what they had in Star Trek, for instance. Captain Kirk just had to say, “Beam me up, Scotty”, from a planet’s surface and he was back on the starship Enterprise.

Imagine if a French fries factory could install a transporter beam at the end of its production line, then the freshly made fries could be transported direct to the cafe kitchen. It would mean that there would be no primary or secondary packaging, no pallets, no forklift trucks, no lorries, no cold storage and no wholesalers.

No cafe owner would then say that he or she would prefer to see a lorry turn up at the door. On the contrary, they’d never have too much or too little in stock, they wouldn’t have to order in advance and they could count on a dramatic reduction in costs (assuming that such a transporter beam would be affordable). The other thing would be that the fries couldn’t be any fresher! The fries would be frying within two hours of the potatoes being picked. Tiny order labels would be possible as would exact traceability.

Of course, teleportation is unlikely to happen soon, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t important for the survival of a business to grasp new developments or to consider their product or service from a broader point of view. If you already know why certain technologies might be ‘no brainers’ for clients, then it’s easier to anticipate the future and choose your company’s direction. You won’t be missing the boat like Nokia or Kodak, but jumping on it with both feet.

To conclude, you might think that it’ll never happen, but there are people in the world – people with a lot of influence and money – who see a future for teleportation, as can be seen in this article:

http://www.volkskrant.nl/wetenschap/-rusland-investeert-miljarden-in-teleportatiesysteem~a4326883/ (in Dutch)

Any questions or comments about this article? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

e-mail: maas@a-service.nl
telephone: 0031 (0)541-521206.

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