Innovation is the name of the game for businesses that want to remain relevant in an ever-changing world. As eCommerce becomes a more prevalent business model, companies are looking for ways to streamline the supply chain. Automated logistics seem to be the answer to the supply chain crisis.
Automated logistics processes promise to streamline via digitization. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies are emerging to help increase the stability and efficiency of the supply chain.
Automated logistics can refer to both the software and the machines. Common machines that support logistical operations include robotic arms, drones, and automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS). Automated software solutions include forecasting models, eCommerce platforms, and digital CRM solutions.
As the popularity of eCommerce continues to grow, it continues to impact supply and demand. Businesses must continue to evolve in order to meet consumer expectations of excellent customer service. Automated logistics solutions don’t have to be complex or intimidating to be beneficial.
Benefits of Automated Logistics
Automation technology helps to make operations more efficient. Logistics operations have begun to embrace automation processes left and right. Automating the processes within warehouses helps to accelerate ordering and package handling. Some automation models include transit and shipping processes, allowing businesses to track materials as they advance through the supply chain to delivery.
Errors in data entry that has been done manually can potentially cause a significant loss to the revenue stream. Global analyst firm IDC conducted a survey revealing human error costs in the US and the UK. On average, human error costs companies about $435 per employee annually or $18 billion in each country.
As the pool of skilled workers working in warehouses decreases and the demand for streamlined delivery increases, automated logistics processes can provide consistency within the supply chain.
Innovative advancements in technology allow for accelerated business growth due to these benefits of automated logistics:
Accurate data gathering is required to manage hundreds of orders along with the corresponding inventory within the warehouse. Analyzing the data gathered allows for business forecasting advantages. Automated logistics can present data summaries that provide a complete idea of possible opportunities and guidance on improvement methods for processes. Management teams can make better business decisions when presented with easy access to essential data that has been gathered automatically in real time by digital solutions.
Redundant, time-consuming tasks can be performed by technological solutions, which will free up the workforce to focus on more important jobs. Automation helps to increase operations rapidly while providing essential data and relatively instant coordination among departments. Order processing and payment verification are two of the operations that can be automated. Automation creates a simplified process that finishes orders quickly and in larger volumes.
The human element won’t be completely eliminated in logistics, but incorporating automation can make workers’ tasks easier to manage. Even the most proficient employee will make an occasional mistake. An investment in reliable software can reduce the occurrence of errors drastically. Automated logistics also helps to avoid various issues associated with manual data entry.
Accidental duplication, picking the wrong thing for an order, or documenting inaccurate customer information are some of the mistakes that can be avoided. In addition, there is the benefit of immediate identification of a mistake which decreases the time needed to investigate and find potential errors.
Automated logistics offers increased supply chain visibility. Data is recorded and disseminated in real time, which provides management and owners access to the data needed for collaboration and communication. Warehouses and fulfillment partners can both access inventory tracking programs to reduce potential delivery times.
Having an overview of operations allows businesses to quickly identify and resolve potential bottlenecking issues in the supply chain. Companies can customize automation software according to processes and policies that are already in place. This ensures internal and external staff alike have consistent access to valuable data.
Superior Customer Service
Streamlining the supply chain with automated logistics helps to create a smoother customer shopping experience. Processing orders happens faster, which allows the opportunity for same-day delivery. Accurate order picking is crucial for ensuring that the right things are shipped to the buyers.
Online business becomes leaner and more efficient as processes are completed quicker and less expensively. Companies can choose to use chatbots for automated customer service experiences, as well. Using real-time location and status updates can help customers realize and enjoy full transparency with each order. Chatbots also provide customer service when it’s convenient for the customer, even if the business is closed for the night.
The Technology Advancing Automated Logistics
Some of the technologies that are transforming the face of logistics are available for businesses of varying sizes worldwide. For example, Internet of Things (IoT) technologies connect tools, devices, and databases under a single network which enables smooth data transfers. IoT technologies are becoming more affordable and allow users to communicate within one logistical network.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), algorithms, and machine learning use data that is provided by software solutions and apply that data differently. Automated logistics provide cost-effective solutions, such as demand forecasting and shipping route efficiency, for issues that are caused by the supply chain crisis.
Drones could be the future of delivery models. While they aren’t used widely yet, they could become the preferred fulfillment vehicle for customers living close to distribution centers. Drones bypass congested roadways by taking to the skies.
Robotic arms are an automation tool used by warehouses and offloading centers. Using hydraulic lifts, this technology moves heavy loads more quickly and efficiently. The market for mobile robots was estimated to be around $2.5 billion in 2020, and it has the potential to grow to ten times that by the year 2030.
Automated Logistics: Essential in a World of eCommerce
As eCommerce continues to grow it has become more essential for businesses to have efficient logistical processes. Automated logistics solutions are streamlining supply chain processes globally. Automated logistics solutions allow companies to meet customer expectations by providing excellent customer service and meeting supply and demand needs head-on.