Is Automation the New Normal In the Logistics and Supply Chain Management?

The new normal has opened up avenues for adoption of new and more advanced supply chain technologies that are automated, supported by AI-assisted recommendations and smart forecasting abilities to take real-time decisions. The growing demands for quicker and same-day delivery by ecommerce are prompting logistics companies to turn to automation. From advanced robotics in warehousing to real-time analytics for transport to smart-sensor applications, new technologies are poised to speed up and further automate the supply chain.

According to McKinsey Global Institute transportation and warehouse industry have the third highest potential for automation than any other sector.

Modern automation systems are more flexible than ever before. Automation, robotics and machine learning have given an exponential lift to the efficiency of logistic companies as fast-picking systems can handle a volume from a thousand to two thousand picks in an hour- assisted by advanced vision technology to handle objects placed in arbitrary positions. Modern automation technologies are enabling and transforming the potential of logistic companies to handle and process omnichannel requirements for same day or next-day deliveries.

According to estimates, most of the simple and repetitive manual tasks will be replaced by AI as we approach 2030. McKinsey in its report on automation in logistics anticipates that fully automated warehouses with autonomous vehicles patrolling the aisles will become a reality sooner. Logistic sector is poised to witness managers with Augmented Reality (AR) glasses to have complete visibility over the entire scale of operations and fluid co-ordination between human employees and robots for faster, responsive and efficient operations .

In this blog, we enlist top 5 reasons why automation is becoming the new normal in logistics and supply chain management for providing tangible value to businesses:

1. Faster and Automated Fulfillments Improves Customer Experience

Integrated systems for e-commerce fosters an increased level of automation, and offers significant boost to companies competing in an era of same day delivery led by Amazon. Integrating systems, and leveraging automation allows businesses to process orders faster and deliver them across the supply chain network. IoT sensors, tags and product verification systems allow for maximum accuracy on orders and reduce unnecessary delays. Automated notifications to consumers and shippers reduce consumer frustrations and create a culture of visibility even in case of delays. Real time visibility of order statuses helps businesses to serve their customers better.

2. Improving Worker’s Efficiency and Accuracy in Orders

Use of Augment Reality (AR) glasses and wearable offers managers and employees to process orders faster and with reduced error. Augmented reality can provide them with an overlay to pick their products in the warehouse on the basis of information provided by the AR glasses. These glasses help human pickers and warehouse workers to identify the exact coordinates of the product and fulfill the order. These wearable can be connected to the central warehouse execution system for simplifying complex orders, reducing delays and significantly reducing their time spent while moving through the warehouse. Monitoring employee movements throughout the warehouse has the net effect of reducing the time spent traveling without an actual order entering the container.

Transforming RPA vision into reality with UiPath Hyperautomation

3. Improve Operational Efficiencies

By 2023, over 30% of operational warehouse workers will be supplemented, not replaced, by collaborative robots. - Gartner

The use of robots in the warehouse and unloading docks will help companies to streamline order fulfillment. Being incredibly efficient, robots can use data to ensure product barcodes exactly matches what a consumer has selected. Robotics offer limitless possibilities for efficiency improvements in the age of two-dimensional barcodes, such as QR codes, that can contain up to 2000 characters of information. More importantly, robots can work continuously and do not require extra benefits associated with labor resources, including the over times or insurance. Also, robots reduce the risk to the warehouse workers and reduce delays as they can move throughout the facility, and on the loading dock.

4. Improved inventory management

Automation of supply chain processes result in significant improvement in inventory management and order tracking leading to a reduction in stock discrepancies and improved demand forecasting. Modern RTLS technology (real-time location system) can bring about a consistent digital awareness over inventory, whereas evolution of warehouse management system (WMS) solutions allows for a greater accuracy and real-time inventory adjustments. Automation of warehouses can help bring about a much tighter handling of inventory. RTLS systems offer accurate inventory visibility and can help businesses achieve much better visibility over inventories even without scanning.

5. The New Normal: An Era of Logistics Automation

Supply chain and logistics automation can dramatically affect shipping costs, which can have direct impact on customer service and satisfaction. Speed, agility and dynamism are all the key components for modern logistic companies as they face a stiff competition to meet same-day delivery deadlines and automation is the way out. The need to keep themselves lean and agile is pushing an era of automated logistics in the new normal as businesses align themselves to meet the deployment speed amidst a digitally transforming logistic and supply chain landscape.

Over the years, Espire has delivered multiple projects globally in the back-end supply chain & WMS space. Blue Yonder (Formerly JDA) Warehouse Management Solution as our key technology specialization positions us at the forefront in this space, to deliver end-to-end services for logistics organizations who need to stay ahead of the competition. Reach us at for any queries and do subscribe to our blogs for latest updates and insights.

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