If your business was a body, the logistics would be its musculature (the parts that animate it and make it move). Therefore, it would be impossible to imagine an efficient business without an efficient logistical infrastructure.
You see, if your delivery is slow, non-responsive and prone to errors, it doesn’t matter how good your salespeople or marketers are. If the raw materials necessary for production are constantly late, no matter how capable your manufacturing staff is, you won’t be able to get the desired results.
Innovation and improvement in the field of logistics can only be achieved through new technologies and gadgets. So, here are the top three innovative tech trends that can help you make this difference.
It goes without saying that the use of robotics in the logistical aspect of the business shouldn’t be underestimated. First of all, the key point of logistics is to be reliable and enable the most vital aspects of any business to function unobstructed. Your production, sales and everything else depends heavily on the logistics.
- So, how do robots make the logistics more reliable?
- Aren’t they prone to malfunctioning?
- Do they make up for their heavy cost?
The most important thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that robots work even on weekends and holidays without being paid extra. They have no work hours and as long as you treat your maintenance crew right, there are no words of unethical work practices. Other than this, while it is true that a robot can malfunction, it is also true that a worker can get injured.
To further support this trend, you just need to do a bit of historical research. In 2012, Amazon.com purchased Kiva Systems for $775 million. This was a figure that the majority of people believed to be ridiculously high. Nowadays, nonetheless, no one doubts the validity of this decision.
Going for third party logistics and allowing someone more experience to handle this aspect of your business is always a solid choice. First of all, you get the privilege of being able to focus on your core business. Administrative tasks that you have as an entrepreneur or a specialist in your respective field are one thing, they are something that no one else can do as good or as reliably. At the same time, trying to resolve the issues around the supply chain or other logistical issues are something that you’ll spend too much time tampering with.
You also gain access to the more sophisticated technology that you don’t have to operate yourself. For instance, some of the most advanced logistical tools today are IoT (internet of things) based. While mastering this technology isn’t impossible, just gaining the efficiency of using it to its full capacity without having to go through the adjustment period makes a world of difference.
Most importantly, outsourcing is scalable. What does this mean? Well, the freighting agency that you’re working with is using only a part of its resources to sate all your needs. When your business grows and you need more vehicles or more administrative support for your logistical chain, you can just upgrade your plan.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The main two reasons why AI is so important for logistics are its amazing real-time responsiveness and the ability to resolve some of the simplest tasks autonomously. For instance, instead of having to perform an audit or rely on a surprise inspection to check the inventory, you can completely automate inventory management.
This technological trend can also be used in order to increase warehouse efficiency while enhancing safety in the workplace.
Combined with some other methods, artificial intelligence can bring a much more efficient reduction of operational costs. Losses are lower, any irregularities are noticed sooner and business models that rely on expediency are executed far more accurately.
The use of AI chatbots in your customer service is also an important factor. A lot of vendors are allowing their customers to track the shipment every step of the way. However, what if you had a system that can automatically respond to any inquiry regarding the whereabouts of the shipment? What if they could be automatically notified about the delay?
While these tools are sophisticated, they’re not easy to harness. This is why you always need to think about innovation and self-improvement.
The very last thing you need to keep in mind is the importance of working with new technologies and gadgets. Also, remember that a lot of new tools and techniques are built on top of existing technology. This means that you need to innovate in steps, not in leaps. Other than it being more cost-effective, it is also a way to make innovation systemic and provide some continuity for your logistics. We’ve already discussed scalability, which is why this is also a great idea. Since this list (or any list on this topic for that matter) is bound to be incomplete, always look for other ways to improve your logistics.