Skip to content

Logistics 4.0: Supplying the Future Today, with Tomorrow’s Lighting Technology

Logistics 4.0: Supplying the Future Today, with Tomorrow’s Lighting Technology


by Jitender Khurana, Director, Professional Lighting Solutions (Singapore), Philips Lighting

ASEAN remains a market of opportunity despite the slowing global economy. As trade continues to expand between member states under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the logistics sector in Singapore will likewise expand in tandem with the growing demand for trade within and beyond the region. The region’s middle class is expected to reach 400 million in 2020 leading to growth in e-commerce and demand for enhanced warehousing facilities. These factors, coupled with initiatives like the ASEAN Open Skies agreement under the AEC, further enables better flow of goods between member countries.

Stepping into Industry 4.0

This represents an area of opportunity for logistics firms in ASEAN. For example, Singapore, which tops the McKinsey Global Institute’s country connectedness index, is also one of the top-rated countries globally for logistics performance. Advanced levels of developments, technology, education and global network connectivity, enable Singapore to remain as one of the key drivers of growth for the region. As the region’s most advanced economy, and a smart nation, how can Singapore lead the charge in building up advanced supply chain systems that can meet the growing logistical needs for importers and exporters out of the region?

The integration of smart, intelligent technologies into typically traditionally-run industries, provide support for future and current demand for logistics in the region. It is also what will bring this sector into the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0. From a human capital perspective, Industry 4.0 is important to the global logistics industry as it unlocks the potential for businesses to evolve as employers, equipping workers with skills that take them into the digital economy. These workers, now trained in the Internet of Things, will see themselves perform tasks with increased productivity and creativity, working together in perfect harmony with their network-enabled counterparts in other functions.

State-of-the-art facilities on the rise

In Singapore, the upcoming Toll City development will see a deployment of an intelligent lighting system. This system gives comprehensive control and flexibility over traditional lighting systems, which typically have only two modes of operation – off and on. The scalable and future-proof system of luminaires integrates sensors for presence and day light sensing in more than 2,500 light points across the 10,000 square metre facility. Through wireless means, data acquired through the luminaires can unlock unprecedented insights with detailed reporting. These insights can help facility managers make informed decisions around managing lighting and space efficiently; and ensuring spaces are fully lit as needed to enhance work safety for the ground staff.

The back-end system allows for remote monitoring and management of the entire lighting system, providing high level analytics on energy usage, space utilisation and heat maps, making regrouping and zoning of lit areas, and the integration into the iBMS (integrated Building Management System) possible.

With a lighting lifetime of 50,000 hours and extendable to 70,000 hours with lighting controls, maintenance as a result of operational downtime and disruption is highly reduced. This system promises to lower Toll’s carbon footprint, with at least 50 per cent energy and cost savings. This represents a win-win situation for Toll, in bringing the facility onboard industry 4.0, as well as enabling them to better anticipate and meet growth of the region’s logistics industry with increased efficiency and productivity.

While the “always on” nature of the logistics industry has traditionally led to high operating costs, especially in labour and utilities, Industry 4.0 and smart warehousing technologies promise positive change for the industry. State-of-the- art systems housed in next-generation warehouses will see the exact needs of the facilities met with lowered operating costs and reliance on natural resources, while having no compromise to operational safety. Bringing traditional industries into Industry 4.0 also represents a significant step in the digital transformation of the region. Lighting technology like the one used in Toll City are easy to install and deploy, and can be easily reconfigured to adjust to specific business needs.

Toll City is poised to be a future-ready gateway to Asia Pacific and the world. With the facility’s adoption of future-proof technologies, Toll Global Logistics is well-placed to support future and current demands of the region and beyond, while building on Singapore’s enviable position as one of the top logistics performers globally. Companies should follow suit, and explore ways to advance their position through digital technologies, and it can always begin with the lighting fixtures to make them deliver beyond just illumination. With industries becoming a part of the fourth industrial revolution, the world will be able to balance the demands of today with needs of tomorrow in mind.