19 Aug Automation In The Logistics Industry
If you think far back enough, you will realize how automation has been at the core of logistics since it’s inception. There was a time when the steam train revolutionized the industry. Today we take things as simple as a forklift for granted. But these were advances in the industry towards automation. Today we have advanced automation like robotic pickers and packers that industry leaders like Amazon use daily. Automation is not only limited to physical activities but also applies to the handling of company data and transactional flow.
A growing shortage of labour, an explosion in demand for online retailers, and complex technical requirements have put automation at the top of many CEO’s lists of priorities. If you were to tell a truck driver in the early ’90s that his job would be threatened by the possibility of driverless vehicles, they may have laughed in your face. But today, that reality is drawing nearer by the day.
It’s surprising that many logistics companies have still not woken up to the power of automation and how digital and technological solutions can reduce costs and improve efficiency. Understandably, many business leaders are still on the fence. Between choosing which solution to use and the learning curve related to obtaining new software, many misconceptions keep them from taking the plunge.
How E-commerce is changing the Logistics Industry
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Undoubtedly, E-commerce is on the rise. The world is shifting from individual retail stores that are located near the consumer towards a future where there are networks of centralized distribution warehouses that deliver directly to the consumer’s doorstep.
Cloud ERP solutions like Acumatica integrate your finances, sales, inventory, CRM, and fulfillment processes. Native integration to many leading eCommerce platforms such as BigCommerce, Shopify, Wix, Magento, and WooCommerce are available as standard functionality. You too can begin to harness the power of automation. The rise in fully automated warehouses is rife and allows companies to capitalize on the potential of these new technologies.
Surviving the change in the Logistics Industry
Many logistics companies are aware of the potential of automation but are still quite wary of the risk. A definite fear of the unknown. This is why they invest conservatively. To take advantage of the growth in e-commerce, logistics companies require speed and variety. Same-day deliveries are becoming the norm. To meet the growing consumer needs, automating picking, packing, and shipping should be at the forefront of your investment strategy.
Logistics is a large industry. There were B2B companies as well as B2C. Nowadays there is a rise in B2B2C logistics companies. Large E-commerce companies like Take-A-Lot have invested in growing their own logistics capabilities. These online giants deploy their in-house logistics first in the most lucrative niches, such as parcel deliveries in dense urban areas, and slowly expand into other areas.
To Automate or Not to Automate?
The reason why major logistics companies avoid serving e-commerce companies is that the demand is highly volatile. Orders can be high during peak seasons and slower during others. This will result in logistics companies investing highly to fulfill customer expectations during peaks and have significant spare capacity for the rest of the time.
It’s always best to start investing in automating the core processes and having a fully integrated ERP solution could be your first step. Arrange a chat with a professional who could assist you with your automation journey. We’ll make it as simple as moving from using a wheelbarrow to a forklift.