The top 3 technologies set to disrupt operations of industrial & logistics companies in Africa

Drone Delivery

JLL suggests that significant technological advances in supply chain automation will not merely influence logistics and industrial operations, but instead will disrupt it. Will these “first world” technologies have the same influence on local industrial operations and logistics companies in Africa? We investigate the industry’s most disruptive technologies set to change the way we do business:

Drone Delivery

The concept of delivery by chopper or drone is not as far fetched for Africa considering latest trend and progress in the use of drones for commercial use. It is for example no secret that Amazon is experimenting with drone technology to assist with the delivery of small items over short distances in the United States. The world’s largest retailer proposed that the use of drones may see deliveries of small items within 30 minutes, with the UK government also working on a deal with Amazon to trial drone delivery in the country. Watch the video for more:


In a first world country such as the United States, drones are widely used by consumers and now also by innovative companies such as Amazon. Will this technology be embraced for commercial purposes in developing African countries? According to Monty Munford from Wired Magazine, there exists a substantial argument for the adoption of drone technology in Africa, stating that “the notion of delivery by drones is being taken very seriously indeed”. The extraordinary rate of mobile phone ownership penetration of up to 80% in some African countries has replaced the need for fixed line infrastructure, and Munford argues that the same will apply to logistical operations: “Why build expensive roads to remote rural locations when drones can do the job just as well?”

Alternative Energy

The 10kw Tesla Powerwall Home Battery. Image credit -

The 10kw Tesla Powerwall Home Battery. Image credit –


In January 2016, Californian-based technology company Tesla announced it is considering a new Gigafactory in the Western Cape of South Africa. The company’s South African born CEO, Elon Musk, states that their ‘Powerwall’ solution will significantly benefit people in remote parts of the world “where there’s no electricity or where the supply is intermittent or expensive.”

The Powerwall is essentially a home battery charged by solar panels, which powers your property during outages or should you decide to go “off the grid”. Currently produced in Nevada, Tesla is reportedly considering the Western Cape for its second factory which, according to Musk, will be one of the largest structures in the world. Similar technologies are also available locally with a focus on home use, however the application potential for industrial operations are arguably just as significant.

Last Mile Delivery

Uber-introduces-UberRUSH (Custom)

Uber has ventured into “Last mile delivery” in New York. As e-commerce sales continue to grow, JLL argues that the demand for cheap and fast home delivery services is set to increase. Uber has the potential to disrupt the logistics industry in the same way it disrupted the taxi industry, in streamlining efficiencies and lowering costs for the consumer – therefore making supply chain industries more “consumer-centric”.

According to, the CEO of the locally developed ‘Rush app’ describes their innovative service as “a combination of Uber and”. Launched in November 2015, the Rush app aggregates a variety of available courier services and allows users to choose their brand based on variables such as price, delivery, service and online reputation. The service is currently limited to Johannesburg and Cape Town. This trend may potentially see an increase in demand for the “city based” warehouse in order to improve turnaround times of smaller orders.


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