New technologies applied to logistics mean new business opportunities, but also a new and fierce competition where only the most efficient, fast and adapted companies will be able to take advantage.
The near future holds a revolution in freight and parcel shipments: with the possibility of moving containers from America to Asia with just one click, or even at a more local level, reducing human intervention by optimizing control of the equipment and processes involved. But what impact does this leap to almost complete automation have?
From the perspective of the automation of logistics processes, you can see the benefits and disadvantages both of what happens in warehousing and when transporting.
Greater control, security and speed
By applying new technologies to manage operations there is greater control of what is happening within your business, both when preparing orders and when you dispatch them.
When you choose to automate the shipping process:
- All areas or dependencies share the same information system, are interconnected and have control of the process.
- Security is generated, especially in operating personnel, which avoids carrying out risky activities that can be carried out by industrial robots.
- With automation, sensors can detect errors or defects in real time, reducing downtime and improving the speed of the delivery process.
Increased productivity and precision
Since automation began to be implemented in certain industries, it was identified that its great value was the increase in productivity and therefore competitiveness, mainly due to:
- Minimize operating costs and reduce execution errors. This is because it allows us to identify where the waste points of the process are located, the reasons for these and the work that must be done to avoid their repetition. By reducing errors the task can be repeated 24/7, increasing production.
- Optimize control and maintenance of equipment. Automation makes it possible to standardize the indications associated with the control and maintenance of the equipment, thus avoiding having to define new ones each time. They are fixed and become patterns.
Accuracy is achieved in order preparation and delivery, the level of service delivered is raised, and greater productivity is achieved with existing resources.
Support to the worker facilitating their work
If a process is studied in detail and automated within everything that involves warehousing and shipping, it is beneficial for the employee because their workload decreases and it is carried out with greater precision. For example:
- In the manual picking process, today there is the option of using voice picking technology that guides the operator where to extract the product, increasing precision in order preparation.
- The same can occur when the person who will transport the order geolocates the delivery address or uses an application that can show the real state of traffic on the streets where it will transit.
Inventory status detection and shipment prioritization
A benefit that every owner values is being able to view the inventory status in real time and on any type of device. Having stock information allows you to avoid shortage problems and prioritize shipments.
This also helps to be more responsive to high demand.
Real-time information of an order
Simply with a mobile phone, at any time and place, thanks to automation it is possible to access the stages through which an order passes. Tracking, monitoring and supervising everything that happens from warehousing until it reaches the customer’s hands helps you:
- See dispatches that are with problems
- Drivers deviating from their route
- Improve both the process in warehousing and the distribution operation, generating greater fulfillment of customer expectations in terms of deadlines.
Employees fear of being fired
Employees may face this fear, however it is necessary for companies to make them participate in understanding that with automation there are other job options that involve challenges associated with being trained to operate certain machines. In any case, it seems that this fear could be more associated with older generations, because according to the study ” El Chile que Viene “, by the consulting firm Cadem, 86% of millennials believe that automation will not affect their work.
Deciding to automate certain processes involves a considerable initial investment, which will pay off over time. The important thing is to define well what process of my entire supply chain I want to automate, how I am going to do it and what is the benefit I hope to have.
Automation will be key for many companies that seek to expand and improve all their processes, as well as for new companies that are dedicated to this and want to become suppliers of any innovative company on a global level. The benefits may seem a bit obvious, and the challenges difficult to imagine or even solve, however, it will be the task of each company to make the corresponding evaluation of their operations to know where to go and more importantly, which processes to automate, maintain or outsource to generate profitability and competitiveness.