Logistics automation systems are the new normal in supply chain management. Are you ready?

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By FarEye | October 13, 2022

Logistics automation systems are gaining rapid traction in the world of supply chain. To help you understand why, let's quickly think of use case.

Imagine this. You place an order online. The order number is immediately sent to a central repository of data to find and match it with the nearest warehouse where the products are available. Once the order is mapped to a warehouse, a delivery task is automatically created. Without any manual intervention, the IT-systems in place look for a driverless-car delivery vehicle based on cost-effectiveness, proximity, productivity and more. Once the system settles with a vehicle, it then quickly chalks out the most efficient route to execute the delivery.

What comes next is even more interesting.

How Logistics Automation System Work

Once the driverless-car is loaded with orders, it commences the journey on the said route. As it reaches a customer’s location, the vehicle releases a smart drone. This drone rises to the customer’s window, delivers the order and takes a quick picture of the customer holding her order as proof of delivery. So, in this entire process, starting with the order being placed till the delivery being completed, the only manual intervention needed was while placing the order. That’s the power of automation. Even though the story might appear to be a bit futuristic, it cannot be denied that the benefits of supply chain automation are immense.

With the increasing need to execute same-day deliveries and shrink operational expenses, it’s becoming absolutely imperative for businesses to partner with logistics automation companies. But the question is, are businesses ready to embrace automation? That’s something the CIOs and VP logistics can answer well.

Here is a quick checklist of things that IT-stakeholders need to keep in mind when embracing an advanced logistics automation system.

Things to Keep in Mind while Driving Logistics Automation

System Interoperability

Traditional supply chain and logistic processes work in silos making it difficult to introduce automation. Modern supply chain management platforms ensure that disparate IT-architecture like, OMS, WMS, TMS, 3PL systems and more are interoperable. This ensures that core delivery processes like job allocation, scheduling, real-time tracking etc. do not need any manual intervention.

Predictive Intelligence

A logistics automation solution does much more than just reducing the burden on human resources. It also makes supply chain processes proactive. Logistics automation software can automatically predict delays, risks, generate accurate ETAs and do much more by leveraging Digital Control Towers (DCT).

Businesses that are ready to embrace automation use digital control towers (DCTs) to ensure real-time visibility of delivery processes. DCTs are powered by alerting tools that automatically trigger distributed notifications, directly to the concerned stakeholders related to exceptions such as delays, theft suspicion, SoP non-compliance, etc. It helps in proactive monitoring of exceptions related to any transporter or shipments and also provides simple and fast alert resolution workflows.

Machine Learning Capabilities

To ensure effective logistics automation it’s critical for businesses to power their IT-infrastructure with disruptive technologies like Machine Learning (ML). When it comes to optimizing and automating route planning, ML can be a game-changer.

Machine Learning algorithms can analyze large historical data sets and help businesses predict risks, quickly identify inefficient routes at the planning stage itself, reduce delays and generate accurate ETAs. Theft of goods-in-transit is a common logistics problem across many geographies and it can be addressed using logistics automation. Using ML businesses can understand why there have been delays in a particular route and if a particular route is prone to thefts. This helps delivery stakeholders avoid such routes. Hence when generating a route, an advanced supply chain, and logistics management software can automatically eliminate or avoid routes that cause inefficiencies and delays.

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