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INNOVATIVE LOGISTICS SOLUTIONS TO SAVE TIME: 7 shortcuts that help busy managers maximise productivity

07 May 2021 —
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Innovative Logistics Solutions

Efficiency is vital in logistics, especially during an economic crisis, and finding solutions to save time in everyday supply chain management should always be a top priority.

The need for speed is constant, with seasonal and omnichannel demand surges. It adds extra stress across operations for faster availability, packaging, order fulfilment and delivery.

However, just-in-time deliveries are a carefully composed melody where suppliers, manufacturers, warehouses and distribution must all be in tune. Harmony can easily be thrown off by a number of unpredictable issues like product damage, misplaced inventory, price hikes, delays, weather instability and much more. When one element is missing or too slow, the rest have to work harder to catch up – and time is lost.

Efficiency is vital in logistics, especially during an economic crisis, and finding solutions to save time in everyday supply chain management should always be a top priority.

The need for speed is constant, with seasonal and omnichannel demand surges. It adds extra stress across operations for faster availability, packaging, order fulfilment and delivery.

However, just-in-time deliveries are a carefully composed melody where suppliers, manufacturers, warehouses and distribution must all be in tune. Harmony can easily be thrown off by a number of unpredictable issues like product damage, misplaced inventory, price hikes, delays, weather instability and much more. When one element is missing or too slow, the rest have to work harder to catch up – and time is lost.

To boost productivity, here are a few shortcuts that can help busy logistics managers make the best use of their time and accelerate performance.

Saving time with Warehouse Accuracy & Automation

Having an efficient warehouse management system is key to saving time. There are many moving parts in a warehouse, and innovative tools can be used to streamline workflow for rapidity.

1. Predictive analytics

Both Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) buy valuable time in the warehouse by predicting patterns and demand to optimise processes. Accurate forecasts help avoid disruptive inventory backlogs, and cut costs, as well as making planning easier – and quicker – for warehouse restocking, maintenance, manpower hours and shipping.

2. Smart mobile devices

Mobile devices modernise order fulfilment with unmatched speed, efficiency and precision in the warehouse. Smartphones and tablets synchronise with the warehouse management system (WMS) to simplify inputting and receiving picklist and shipping label information.

Meanwhile, handheld devices are equipped with RFID scanners, automatic identification and data capture technology. This allows pickers so save time, put-away teams and robotics, which means:

  • Faster replenishment
  • Higher pulling
  • Increased profitability

3. Autonomous mobile robots

Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are small, agile robots that quickly move inventory within the warehouse. Time is no longer wasted because sensors and map technology navigate the best routes depending on the task and interpret obstacles to avoid.

With a high level of reliability, AMRs can swiftly sort and calculate stock by identifying packaging information. They also take on repetitive tasks to reduce stress and free up staff, who can then be more productive, focusing on strategic activities.

smart picking

4. Unmanned aerial vehicles

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly called drones, give real-time visibility of warehouse inventory levels. To gain time and prevent errors, drones expertly locate items much faster than humans using optical sensors (cameras) and RFID scanning tags at a distance of tens of meters. They can access hard-to-reach places rapidly, and don’t use precious floor space.

5. Route optimisation with AI

Used for autonomous vehicles and high-tech driving assistance, AI improves logistics transportation by detecting weather and traffic patterns to better navigate routes and prevent accidents. In addition to reducing time spent in traffic, AI also helps reduce fuel and overhead costs related to deliveries.

6. Last-mile deliveries with the Internet of Things (IoT)

A critical point of differentiation, effectively managing last-mile deliveries can be time consuming. This final step in shipment often involves overcoming particular obstacles, such as high-density urban areas, congested infrastructure, address mistakes, customer availability, etc.

To decrease the amount of delays, the IoT uses real-time data from GPS devices and sensors to provide precise calculations on the location and condition of vehicles and goods. Visibility enhances accuracy and quickness of delivery operations.

IoT intelligence also solves sensitive challenges in the last mile for food and pharmaceutical supply chains, monitoring humidity, temperature, pressure and shock to prevent product damage.

7. Crowdshipping

Crowdshipping for logistics transportation creates synergies that speed-up shipment for faster delivery service in busy city centers, where high demand can be matched with an abundance of available couriers.

For crowdsourced last-mile deliveries, the service or product provider connects with local, non-professional couriers who use their own transportation to ship goods on-demand, scheduled at the customer’s convenience.

Effective Time Management Made Easier

Customers expect a fast flow of service from start to finish in the sales life-cycle. Therefore, seamless running logistics are at the core of a successful and positive customer experience.

Finding strategies for effective time management is becoming easier, with new tools and trends now emerging to facilitate a smoother supply chain. Logistics' leaders in all sectors are readily adopting these innovations to spend time more wisely, which is the gateway to better business, happier customers and greater competitivity!

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