The sky is the limit in Smart Logistics. It is essential for technologies to be well integrated and customised to the business’s needs in order to reap the full advantages of Smart Logistics, depending greatly on the expertise of the engineering and technology partner.
Every touchpoint matters in a customer interaction. How fast customers receive their goods, how satisfied they are with purchases, the range of products they get to choose from and how speedy returns of products are handled – these are all points of consideration.
Beyond just innovating to create the next big thing in technology, supply chain innovation through Smart Logistics is sometimes overlooked by businesses in the fulfilment and satisfaction of customers. When a supply chain is agile and quick to move products from the start of the chain to the customer at the end, this brings about competitive advantage for the business. The business will be demand-driven and extremely market-responsive, stocking the warehouse quickly in a short period, and pushing products to fulfilment in just a few days or one or two weeks.
What is vital in the creation of a Smart Logistics strategy is for technologies to be well integrated and customised to the business’s needs. Various logistics solutions exist in the market, but how they speak to one another seamlessly for an effective and impactful digitalisation strategy in Smart Logistics will depend greatly on the build-to-design and integration capabilities and experiences of the engineering and technology partner.
The use of robotics and automation can alleviate a famously labour intensive global logistics industry. Businesses leveraging Smart Logistics, for example, are likely looking at upskilling their workforce, moving employees towards more critical roles to optimise customers’ experiences as the entire business digitalises and automates. They would be well served by freeing their workforce from repetitive, low value yet necessary manual tasks, such as transporting and handling cargo pallets across long distance within warehouse or via a cargo lift to different levels. These repetitive tasks can be done effectively and accurately with robotics solutions such as the ST Engineering’s STrobo suite of autonomous material handling equipment (MHE). These include the pallet truck, pallet stacker, VNA truck, forklift and tow tractor. Each of these autonomous equipment incorporates cutting-edge technologies of LIDAR Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (LIDAR SLAM) for dynamic path planning, localised navigation and obstacle detection and avoidance. The autonomous vehicle accurately picks up and places the pallet required. It can even interface with cargo lifts and doors and navigate its way around the facility avoiding obstacles and co working humans alike in a safe manner whilst being able to travel multiple storeys. The logistics user can also centrally manage a fleet of autonomous MHEs centrally using our Robotics Management systems that can seamlessly integrate with the Warehouse Management System, leaving the labour force to focus on other high value generating activities such as picking, packing and sorting. Additionally, tasks can be pre-assigned to the autonomous MHEs, since they are able to work 24 hours a day even without any lights or human interventions.
Furthermore, businesses looking at deploying Internet of Things (IoT) in tandem with sensors, data analytics, wearables, personnel health or risk technologies for Smart logistics, can look forward to greater productivity, efficiency and energy savings to boost profitability and value generation. One way this is possible is with the proper integration of data analytics, devices, and applications with the natural environment of the logistics provider. For example, ST Engineering’s World of IoT – Sense & eXchange (WISX IoT) solution drives data exchange and analysis for global logistics in offices, buildings, warehouses and other facilities. Logistics providers will have access to a wealth of real-time and historical data, as well as asset performance management and control through interconnected devices via a central platform. Real-time and historical data will drive predictive analyses for the logistics provider to be more agile and anticipatory in maximising value for its customers.
The sky is the limit in Smart Logistics. For businesses still unsure whether to embark on Smart Logistics, one possible way is to start by implementing trials or proofs-of-concept of Smart Logistics. By starting small, and letting results speak for themselves, businesses can then decide whether to scale up their implementation of Smart Logistics to the remaining of their logistics operations to drive greater agility, efficiency and productivity in their businesses.
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ST Engineering’s Smart Logistics solutions include robotics & automation solutions, fleet management systems, drone network system (DroNet), biometrics & facial recognition technology and IoT solutions for customised applications.