In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, everyday life came to a halt. Public health concerns necessitated a nationwide lockdown that had a significant impact on the economy. As a result of the pandemic, health and safety became the topmost priority of every individual. Consumer behavior changed, which in turn influenced industry practices, making everyone take tough business decisions.
The pandemic made organizations aware of various shortcomings in their supply chains. Almost every sector, vertical and organization took a hit on their business due to disrupted supply chains. For the first time, there was demand and business groups were worried about meeting the demand (supply). Savvy industry leaders started addressing these flaws and further strengthening their supply chain to be better prepared to address such uncertainties in the post-pandemic environment.
Companies are being forced to modernize their supply chains by replacing fixed infrastructure and outmoded procedures with flexible and scalable robotic solutions due to the rapid expansion of new business on digital platforms. Organizations across the globe are realizing that the productivity and profitability of a company can be increased by making the customers happy and providing a safe working environment for the employees. The strategic addition of automation technology and robotics to the supply chain operations could help companies achieve their goals fast.
Automation has had an immediate impact on the operations of the supply chain. The warehouse has been the heart of the entire supply chain ecosystem. Automation in the warehouse will provide the much-needed momentum to the warehousing system, through the increase of efficiency, better accuracy, ease of work condition, and efficient and quality use of human resources.
Automation will have a direct impact on systems efficiency buildup and has several key advantages, including increased efficiency and a reduction in human error. Furthermore, warehouse automation can reduce labor expenses while improving output capacity. Implementing automation to improve day-to-day warehouse processes has numerous advantages for businesses.
Companies of this sector can utilize a Warehouse Management System in conjunction with new technology to speed up several operations, and as a result, productivity and efficiency of the staff will improve. Also, the customer will feel more safe and secure while purchasing a product coming from an automated warehouse with minimal physical contact.
Warehouse management systems also help in optimizing warehouse space thanks to the automated guided vehicles that are used for product retrieval and storage. Warehouse automation contributes to optimized inventory control, allowing for more precise inventory counts and inventory data. Automation also helps reduce overheads, driving cost savings associated with labor, equipment, and maintenance, while also increasing throughput and can increase each worker’s productivity without expanding headcount. The goal of warehouse automation is to identify repetitive processes and discover solutions to automate them. Companies can make their warehouse a more appealing workplace by ensuring employee safety.
Automation in Logistics
Logistics is a vital aspect of competitiveness in any economy because it is the backbone of domestic and international trade. In addition to creating jobs and facilitating the transfer of commodities, a well-functioning logistics network allows businesses to operate at a faster pace. Recent developments show that there has been a significant increase in demand for logistics support in business operations because of the onset of the pandemic.
Customer service improvement is one of the advantages of introducing automation in logistics. The organization and administration of the transportation of goods are referred to as ‘customer service’. Choosing the best supplier, checking invoices, and controlling transportation are all easier and more structured once automation is adopted.
AI-based in-vehicle vision system for automobiles enables the prevention of casualties on the road arising from driver drowsiness and inattention. It also provides the required visibility into vehicle operations and performance by generating machine learning-based actionable insights that help improve risky behavior by drivers and enable personalized coaching interventions so that the driver behavior is consistently improved. Technologies such as Advanced Driver Assistive Systems enable real-time risky incident detection and provide pre-emptive in-vehicle alerts and coaching, promoting safe driving behavior and minimizing accidents. Autonomous Mobile Robots are also one such technology that helps to enhance safety and efficiency by automating the operational and intra-logistics of the companies.
Therefore, automation is a very important factor that needs to be given due recognition when it comes to logistics.
Need & Demand of Automation in Supply Chain Industry
The exponential growth in e-commerce and online shopping is one of the major driving factors, which has propelled businesses to ramp up supply and storage to improve delivery. The ability of retail organizations to develop effective supply chains, minimize costs and, consequently, expenses, is a big component of their success. This can be accomplished with the help of a warehouse automation system that covers the most significant warehouse operations.
E-commerce, particularly in metropolitan areas, necessitates extensive networks. However, no single company is large enough to support a full-fledged network. Logistics companies must construct fulfilment centres and invest in automation technology before demand can be forecasted. The automated equipment’s WMS vendors are now working directly with end-users to help make it more affordable for a larger range of clients. Stackers, case picking and pallet picking robots are in high demand in warehouse management, and market providers are expanding into new locations.
The logistics of delivering items to customers have become increasingly complex. E-commerce companies are tackling this problem by incorporating smart technology into warehousing and order fulfilment, just like the manufacturing industry did a few decades ago when it began automating processes. The future of logistics and warehousing will be heavily reliant on robotics, from choosing and packing items to transportation and door delivery.
As per the 'Inter-city Logistics Market Study' report, the road logistic market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8 percent in the next five years making India a $330 billion market by 2025.The warehousing sector in India has also been on a high growth trajectory in recent years. The Indian warehouse market reached a value of Rs 676 billion in 2020. Looking forward, the Indian warehouse market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.1 percent during 2021-2026. Automation will also give a significant push to the government’s visionary Gati Shakti national master plan, which aims to build a holistic infrastructure across the country.
Automation can help Indian companies achieve levels of customer satisfaction that would otherwise be impossible with human-directed work alone. Collaboration of human and robotic efforts in supply chain operations is a way to move forward. Automation is not only the future of warehousing and logistics but also the hallmark of modern warehouses and logistics. Warehouse automation comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and configurations. The most important thing is to choose the correct automation for your company’s specific needs.