What is Logistics Automation & Why Will Automation Grow in Value?

MercuryGate Blog - Technology Category

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. Moreover, organizations can 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 be more proactive about managing the supply chain and spend less time worrying about what might go wrong. Furthermore, automation is expected to continue growing in value. Transportation logistics are not the only realm of the supply chain expecting bigger change. Supply chain executives need to understand a few things about automation and how it will impact their operations to add value.

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 all forms of logistics automation, automation for the sake of automation is great, right? Not necessarily.
According to Craig Guillot of Supply Chain Dive, “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 solely for the sake of automation can just add 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 a high-gloss form of automating redundant processes within the supply chain to add value. Strategic automation allows organizations to do more with less. 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 can focus on the real issues, both labor savings and higher customer satisfaction levels are realized.

Reap the Rewards of Automation With the Right Partner

Finding the best partner for logistics automation can also be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. 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.

Learn how your company can embrace logistics automation through a dedicated transportation management platform now.

MercuryGate
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