Effective logistics is all about planning. It involves the procurement of goods, warehousing and delivery of products to the destination. The purpose of planning is to get the maximum work done in the shortest possible time, and to seek to maximize profits. A good logistics manager will therefore make sure to plan well in advance to eliminate any delays in the supply chain
However, one must also be prepared for unforeseen circumstances. These situations can be related to:
– products (sourcing, purchasing and production),
– Transport unavailability,
– any internal problems in the organization.
In the age of automation, technology plays an important role in making a business more efficient. There are many ways to automate the logistics process, including tracking and monitoring every delivery.
Business process software, such as SAP ERP, can be integrated to provide timely updates on the flow of goods. The operator and customer will get detailed information on:
– goods shipped from the supplier,
– Purchase of goods at the warehouse,
– delivery of goods to destination.
This saves time significantly as manual intervention is eliminated. Moreover, accurate tracking helps in improving the overall management of the entire process.
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Robots perform specific functions at the request of the order processing system. The order process automatically notifies the robots in the warehouses and starts the process flow
Robots can be used to manage inbound and outbound shipping processes and strategies. With trends in automation and robotics, supply chain companies will have the tools and resources necessary to increase throughput and shorten the cycle from order to delivery.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The IoT is a network of physical devices embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators and connectivity that enable these things to connect and exchange data, creating opportunities to more directly integrate the physical world with computer systems, resulting in improved efficiency, economic benefits and reduced human effort. IoT can help integrate communication, control, and information processing across a variety of transportation systems. The application extends to all aspects of transportation systems (i.e., vehicle, infrastructure, and driver). The dynamic interaction between these components of a transportation system enables vehicle-to-vehicle communication, intelligent traffic control, smart parking, electronic tolling, logistics and fleet management, vehicle control, and safety. In logistics and fleet management, the IoT platform can continuously monitor the location and status of cargo and assets via wireless sensors and send specific alerts when management exceptions occur (delays, damage, theft, etc.).
Warehouse Management System
Effective logistics management is incomplete without proper warehouse management. A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is an application designed to support and optimize warehouse functionality and distribution center management.
A WMS uses a database configured to support warehouse operations that includes a variety of standard warehouse elements such as individual stock keeping units (SKUs) that are supported and stored, such as weight, dimensions, carton packaging, automatic identification labels (barcodes), and inventory by location with production date. This includes warehouse and dock door locations (e.g., individual number), as well as expected labor productivity rates by function or activity.
An efficient transportation system
Transportation is a key factor in determining a company’s overall logistics costs. Companies are constantly trying to find the most efficient and cost-effective way to get their products from point A to point B
Some factors in transportation needs include determining the best delivery route, cost-effective packaging to ensure low investment and safety of goods, and lead time to ensure different modal options such as rail or barge can be much more cost-effective. Other factors include the distance from the customer to the warehouse or types of products and services, which are critical issues that affect delivery and product quality.