Logistics automation stands out as one of the greatest opportunities for advancement in modern supply chain management.
Automation provides a means for organizations to dramatically scale operations, reduce inefficiencies, and optimize all available resources. During supply chain disruption, logistics automation supports response.
Moreover, organizations achieve these benefits at a fraction of the cost of those continuing to do the same thing in a manual way in a reactive fashion. In other words, you can proactively manage your supply chain and spend less time worrying about what might go wrong.
Furthermore, logistics automation is expected to continue growing in value. To add value, supply chain executives need to understand a few things about automation and how it will impact their operations.
Where Logistics Professionals Go Wrong With Automation
It is easy to assume that every operation that can be automated should be automated. Since efficiency is the basic premise behind logistics automation, automation for the sake of automation is great, right? Not necessarily.
“Just because you can automate something doesn’t mean you should, John Santagate, research director for the service robotics market at IDC, told Supply Chain Dive. There are aspects of the supply chain that shouldn’t be automated. You can leverage technology to support things, but there are still humans required in decision making and in some processes.”
Automation for the sake of automation adds to expenses, and it does little good to improve efficiencies. However, it is important to still remember the value of automation when implemented properly.
Strategic Logistics Automation Adds Value
Strategic automation is automating redundant processes within the supply chain to add value. Automation allows organizations to do more with less.
Logistics automation delivers benefits in logistics management. For example, supply chains can leverage automation to respond to customer status queries, or use automation to eliminate the hassle and inefficiencies related to rekeying data between systems to update various supply chain partners.
Strategic automation — when done right — can be an ongoing cycle of sharing information, reducing inefficiencies, increasing supply chain responsiveness, building more collaboration, optimizing resources, and unlocking the door to sustainable growth.
Remember the Role of People and Systems to Save Resources
Logistics automation is also a concept that cannot be applied to every process within the supply chain. While it would be great if your operation was truly a dark, or “ghost”, warehouse that was turn-key, strategically built, and capable of handling everything without human intervention, that is not reality. At least, it is not the reality of today, and supply chain executives need viable logistics automation solutions.
For example, using robotics process automation to streamline common complaints can reduce the amount of work that goes into managing the supply chain by letting smart algorithms and artificial intelligence handle most needs. This is the key to truly managing by exception. After all, when your staff focuses on the real issues, both labor savings and higher customer satisfaction levels are realized.
Reap the Rewards of Logistics Automation With the Right Partner
Finding the best partner for logistics automation doesn’t have to be a challenge. By choosing a partner with a worldwide reach and an understanding of the various ways in which logistics automation can add the most value, supply chains can achieve strong growth.