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Logistics 4.0 ~ Spearheading New Breakthroughs

Portrait of Masashi Onozuka
Tokyo Office, Eastern Asia
+81 3 3587-6660
December 21, 2015

The field of logistics has charted three revolutionary changes over the decades to date.

The first such transformation was the so-called “mechanization of transport” from the latter half of the 19th century into the 20th century. Transportation capacity was dramatically expanded with proliferation of railways, automobiles, steamboats and motorized vessels, raising the curtain on an era of “mass transportation.”

The second revolution was the “automation of cargo-handling” from the 1960s. The practical application of distribution machinery for automated warehousing, sorting and other work processes powered the way to partial mechanization of cargo-handling work conducted inside warehouses.

The third revolution may be defined as the “systemization of logistics management” from the 1980s. This consisted of expanded application of IT systems, setting the stage for impressive progress in logistical management automation and streamlining, together with formulation of sophisticated infrastructure systems.

This study examines the (currently unfolding) fourth-generation logistics revolution, now increasingly hailed as “Logistics 4.0.”

  1. Powered by Logistics 4.0: Laborsaving ⇒ Major reductions in processes requiring “human interfaces”
  2. Powered by Logistics 4.0: Standardization ⇒ Expanding connections to logistics-related functions and information
  3. Magnitude of Strategic Investment Targeting “Logistical Equipment Industrialization” ⇒ The vital role of advance planning positioned to envision “scenarios for change”

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Shiten No.109 : Logistics 4.0


The field of logistics has charted three revolutionary changes over the decades to date.

Published December 2015. Available in