Applied Innovation

How Supply Chain Automation is Leading to Efficient and Agile Logistics

Applied Innovation

How Supply Chain Automation is Leading to Efficient and Agile Logistics

In today’s fast-paced business world, companies are continuously looking for methods to simplify processes, save costs, and increase competitiveness. Supply chain automation has emerged as a game changer, utilising cutting-edge technology to optimise operations and increase efficiency throughout the supply chain. Automation is transforming the way products and services are provided to customers, enabling unprecedented levels of productivity, visibility, and agility.

The Rise of Supply Chain Automation

Supply chain automation is the use of technology and software solutions to automate and optimise supply chain operations, therefore reducing the need for considerable human participation. This technique has gained popularity as firms seek to increase efficiency, minimise mistakes, and improve decision-making capabilities in their supply chain processes.

Key Benefits of Supply Chain Automation

1. Improved Efficiency and Productivity: By automating repetitive and time-consuming procedures, businesses may simplify processes, reduce redundancies, and free up valuable human resources for more strategic and value-added activities.

2. Cost Savings: Automated solutions eliminate the need for manual labour, decrease mistakes, and optimise resource utilisation, resulting in considerable cost savings over time.

3. Increased supply chain visibility: Real-time tracking and comprehensive analytics offered by automation provide unparalleled visibility into supply chain processes, allowing for proactive decision-making and quick response to interruptions or changes in demand.

4. Improved Predictive Analytics and Demand Forecasting: Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, automated systems can analyse historical data and market patterns to provide precise demand estimates, allowing for improved inventory management and resource allocation.

5. Regulatory Compliance: Automated procedures assure constant adherence to regulatory regulations, lowering the risk of noncompliance and the resulting fines.

Automation in Action: Key Applications

Supply chain automation comprises a diverse set of procedures and technology that allow organisations to simplify operations at various levels of the supply chain.

1. Back-Office Automation: Tasks like as invoicing, bookkeeping, and data entry may be automated with robotic process automation (RPA) and intelligent automation solutions, lowering the risk of mistakes and increasing productivity.

2. Transportation Planning and Route Optimisation: Advanced algorithms and machine learning approaches can optimise transportation routes by considering traffic patterns, weather conditions, and fuel prices, resulting in lower transportation costs and faster delivery times.

3. Warehouse Operations: Robotics, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), and intelligent warehouse management systems may automate tasks like as picking, packaging, and inventory management, increasing accuracy and efficiency while reducing human error.

4. Demand Forecasting and Procurement: Predictive analytics and machine learning models may use historical data, market trends, and real-time consumer demand to create accurate demand projections, allowing for proactive procurement and inventory management techniques.

5. Last-Mile Delivery: The combination of drones, autonomous vehicles, and powerful routing algorithms has the potential to transform last-mile delivery, lowering costs and improving delivery times for clients.

The Role of Emerging Technologies

Several cutting-edge technologies are propelling supply chain automation forward, allowing organisations to achieve previously unattainable levels of efficiency and flexibility.

1. Artificial intelligence (AI): AI is critical in supply chain automation because it enables technologies such as digital workforce, warehouse robots, autonomous vehicles, and robotic process automation (RPA) to automate repetitive and error-prone operations. AI enables back-office automation, logistics automation, warehouse automation, automated quality checks, inventory management, and supply chain predictive analytics/forecasting.

2. Internet of Things (IoT): IoT devices help provide real-time data and connection across the supply chain, allowing for better tracking, monitoring, and decision-making. IoT sensors in warehouses, cars, and goods collect data on location, temperature, humidity, and other factors to improve operations and visibility.

3. Generative AI (GenAI): Generative AI is a subclass of AI that focuses on developing new content, designs, or solutions from current data. GenAI may be used in supply chain automation to improve decision-making and efficiency through tasks such as demand forecasting, product design optimisation, and scenario planning.

Organisations may achieve better levels of automation, efficiency, and agility in their supply chain operations by utilising AI, IoT, and GenAI capabilities, resulting in increased productivity, cost savings, and improved decision-making skills.

Limitations and Considerations

While supply chain automation has many advantages, it is critical to understand its limitations and carefully consider its adoption. Currently, automation is confined to certain activities like order processing, inventory management, and transportation planning, while many procedures still require human intervention and supervision. Furthermore, the financial investment necessary for advanced automation technology may be prohibitive for smaller enterprises with limited resources.

Furthermore, the possibility of job displacement owing to the automation of manual work is a worry that must be addressed through retraining and upskilling programmes. Organisations must find a balance between automating processes and relying on human skills to make crucial decisions and handle exceptions.

The Future of Supply Chain Automation.

As technology advances, the opportunities for supply chain automation will grow even more. Organisations that embrace automation and strategically use the appropriate technology will be well-positioned to outperform the competition.

However, a balance must be struck between automation and human skill. While automation can help with many operations, human decision-making and monitoring are still required for handling outliers, unanticipated interruptions, and strategic planning within the supply chain.By combining the power of automation with human innovation, organisations may achieve new levels of efficiency, agility, and customer happiness, guaranteeing a sustainable and competitive supply chain in the future.

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Innovator's Vista

Drones for Last Mile Delivery

Innovator's Vista

Drones for Last Mile Delivery

Last mile delivery refers to the last step of the delivery process when a parcel starting from the shelf of a warehouse reaches its final destination through a transportation hub. It is a crucial step that determines the holistic perception of brands by the consumers. It is also the most expensive step as it costs 53% of the overall delivery.

These reasons have led the companies to invest significantly on improving the customer experience and work on last mile delivery strategies. A range of technologies like telematics, hybrid fleet systems, delivery robots etc. are being used for the purpose. Drones are also being considered as an important part of modern logistics operations.

Drones or Unmanned Arial Vehicles are increasingly being used to transport medicines, parcels, groceries, food, and other products. They are accurate, environment-friendly, have shorter delivery time, and operate on lower costs than traditional delivery channels. The GPS technology based advanced navigation systems, and ability to operate autonomously make them better suited for delivery in rural and remote areas.

Drones rely on Motors, Propellers, GPS and other onboard sensors like Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Barometer, Distance Sensor etc for functioning. A Drone can be fixed wing type that has one rigid wing and works like an airplane. These drones cannot stay in one place and glide on a path set. Another type is VTOL i.e. vertical take-off and landing, these drones, as the name suggests, can take off, hover, and land vertically. Drones are also categorised on basis of rotors used as multi-rotor and fixed-rotor drones.

A Gurugram-based startup, TechEagle, started in 2015 at IIT Kanpur, has developed e-VTOL, an electric vertical take-off and landing (e-VTOL) drone. The drone has a range of 100 km, a payload capacity of 3 kgs and can achieve maximum speed of 120 km/hr. Named Vertiplane X3, the company claims it to be the fastest Made-In-India hybrid drone.

Anshu Abhishek, Cofounder, Tech Eagle at Open Innovator Meet

TechEagle was one of the participants at OPEN INNOVATOR MEET where COO & Co-founder, Anshu Abhishek, informed about the accomplishments and plans of his company. The Startup has conducted trials with food delivery companies like Zomato and Swiggy. It has also worked with State Governments of Telangana, Meghalaya and Himachal on delivering medicines and vaccines. The company, recently, has also carried out parcel delivery with India Post in Kutch.

The company also plans creating a network of on-demand drone delivery for healthcare. Drones are being used in various applications like video/photography, inspection, monitoring, and surveying, but in healthcare drones can play very significant role by rapid and targeted delivery of vaccines, medications and supplies. Drones by delivering medical supplies right at the home of the patient can reduce footfall at the hospitals and clinics and hence improve the productivity of medical professionals and emergency responders.

India is witnessing a significant rise in the number of drone start-ups. According to IBEF, since August 2021 drone start-ups in the country has surged by 34.4% to around 350 startups.