Tech In Logistics: Part 7-Automation in Logistics: Ideal or Attainable?

    Imagine a scenario where the entire logistics delivery process is completely automated - seamlessly taken care of without any unnecessary or with very minimal manual intervention. Sounds like a dream for the logistics world, doesn't it? Well, this utopian dream is no longer far from reality.

    Technology has indeed revolutionized logistics by creating simple solutions to handle the ever-increasing complexity of the ecosystem. This ideology of simplicity as the key to automate the complex maze of logistics is being constantly reinforced by innovative disruptions that continue to surprise the logistics stakeholders. Some such incredible innovations are:

    Mastering the last mile delivery with Drones

    The race to beat the logistics clock has become more relevant than ever before with the advent of e-commerce as an essential part of everyday life. With diminishing differentiators and intense competition, the speed, efficiency, and security of delivery has become a deciding factor in garnering attention as a powerful e-commerce giant. 

    With delivery gaining relevance, most logistics innovations are currently centered on leveraging technology to gain ground in acing this tight race. One such innovation that has exploded the logistics delivery ecosystem is the ‘drones’. These unmanned aerial vehicles have definitely captured the attention of every logistics player.

    Drones have indeed shifted ecommerce deliveries to a completely new level of automation, with the ability to deliver on overcoming multiple logistics pain points:

    • Smartly determining the customers' locations and delivering right at their doorsteps
    • Timely delivery of sensitive consignments - for instance, drones used by the Rwandan government to fly out blood to medical facilities in remote locations
    • Effective and accurate inventory management
    • Increasing the scope for secure transport of valuable consignments - owing to the sensors that enable their real-time tracking and monitoring

    These technologies have created quite a buzz in the logistics world with their immense possibilities at being one of the best, fastest, and most effective delivery mechanisms.   Several companies have put their weight behind drone-centric delivery automation. Promising to be a highly efficient, error-minimizing system, these drones certainly promise to simplify the logistical process far beyond expectations.

    Better Warehouse Efficiency with Robotics

    A wide range of technological solutions indeed supports efficient warehouse management - from RFID solutions to machine-to-machine technologies. However, the current focus of this particular node of the logistics network is on robotics technology.

    Warehouse management is possibly getting its most significant makeover with these highly advanced technologies that have the power to automate most of the routine and complex warehouse activities.  Smart robots support in the picking, sorting, transfer, and storage of inventory within warehouses, while drones are super effective in tracking consignments and handling dangerous and fragile goods. 

    With these technologies offering customized options to suit different business needs, from personalized packaging with multi-liners and carton shuttles to asset counting, the possibilities are indeed endless.

    Improve ease of operations with VVC

    One key ‘end user’ benefit of any technology is it makes life simpler.  To take Ramco Logistics Software as an example, there have been significant research investments focused on VVC tools i.e. Visual / Voice / Chat tools that can be put into use in various avenues in logistics operations.

    Visual tools include developments with Microsoft HoloLens that help read and pass communications / instructions visually.

    Voice tools can be standalone or can work along with Visual tools & help pass audio instructions to the user to get things executed / communicated.

    Chat tools include the Chatbots that help users interact with the LSPs, through conversations as an interface instead of the traditional query based applications.

    Still some miles to go

    Cost efficiency, process efficiency, and enhanced productivity are clearly favoring these technologies in the short term. However, a few hiccups do exist - the most obvious being the cost of acquiring these technologies. Safety & compliance are two other key areas that needs to be addressed in detail before putting these automation technologies into work. But if ‘early adopters’ taste some success in automation, all these challenges will definitely be fixed.

    Conclusion

    The logistics landscape is clearly transforming - almost ready to take on all the uncertainties and demanding challenges that it faces on a regular basis. Over the last few weeks, we have inspected every element of the logistics network and assessed the application of data- and technology-enabled solutions. The results are unanimous – Technology is clearly on the road to delivering the logistics world a super smooth and sleek ride into the future.  But how soon will we reach our destination? Game on!

    Contat Ramco Logistics to know how we add value to 3PLs, Freight Forwarders & Courier Service Providers. Contact us here for a demo. To know more, leave a comment below or write to us at contact@ramco.com

    Part 6

    Logistics, automation, ERP for Logistics, 3PL, Freight Forwarders, Network Service Provider, Logistics Drones, Logistics Automation

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