Advantages of Automation in Logistics
Main questions about the advantages of automation in logistics processes
Automation, in general, is a process that involves investments in machinery and software, with the aim of eliminating repetitive tasks, giving greater precision to operational routines, thus increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of your process.
But before we talk about this topic, we must debunk some myths.
- The first of them: “it is a very expensive process ”. No. It is not. The financial return pays off.
- The second myth: “it is very difficult to integrate all systems ”. Software is created with features to facilitate this process. So rest assured. Attentive to data migration, but quiet.
- Number 3: “automation requires profound changes in the workforce and extensive training ”. In fact, the programs are reasonably easy to use.
- Fourth point: “automation leads to loss of control over internal procedures.” Hey? No! It’s just the opposite. Digital monitoring gives you full control over everything.
- Fifth myth: “Logistics automation takes a long time ”. In fact, automation can be planned so as not to interrupt the company’s daily life and the systems are gradually absorbed into the day-to-day. So it doesn’t take that long.
- Finally, “the company that has to automate all its processes ”. No. It depends on the needs of each company and the volume of operations. Of course, the greater the amount of goods handled, the greater the investment in automation should be.
But how is this process done? Well, first of all, you must make an objective assessment of how your company is in the Logistics sector. What is your volume of products traded per day? Do you have an IT team? Is she ready? Can you do the project in-house or will you need outside help? What do you already have in this field of automation? What adaptations would be necessary? Has the financial energy already been calculated? What exactly do you expect? By answering these questions, you will also be defining your company’s needs, so that the project meets your expectations when completed. It is fundamental, during this survey, to promote a mapping of the Logistics routines that currently exist in your firm. Once that’s done, be prepared to change your employees’ mindset. They must be receptive to the new technologies that will be deployed. But don’t forget to do all the necessary research when formulating your automation project,
And what are the options? The possibilities are countless. It always depends on the size of the operation. Among other things, you can have, for example, a self-supporting structure, with the height of a 10-story building, controlled entirely by robots and computers, with Conveyors (roller conveyors) and Transelevators, where products are identified by bar codes or RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags. All controlled by a WCS (Warehouse Control System) software, connected to a WMS (Warehouse Management System) program, which in turn is connected to the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) of the company. It is still possible to include anthropomorphic robots (with large mechanical arms, similar to those we see in car assemblers) working in the picking area.
As we are in the era of the Internet of Things, it is good to evaluate the acquisition of an Artificial Intelligence software, which simulates human decisions and learns from the daily routine, using Machine Learning algorithms or Deep Learning. After all, the amount of information generated by Big Data is enormous. Calm. Do not panic. This is not a mandatory package. But we are talking about a fully automated warehouse. And yes, we deliver exactly this type of solution to the market. Oh! If you have your own fleet, it might be interesting to also purchase a TMS (Transportation Management System) software to manage your vehicles.
It looks expensive. However, the investment pays off in a short time thanks to the benefits generated. See some of them now:
- Precision in daily operations — when well programmed, machines do not make mistakes. Human failures, so common in daily logistics, especially during employee training, cease to exist. All repetitive tasks pass to the equipment.
- Increased agility —no errors, time lost on rework disappears. Also, robots are much faster than human labor.
- Cost reduction — thanks to software, all service logistics are reformulated: product handling, delivery routes, team size, operating costs and even the ability to adapt to new situations, always in the most rational way.
- Increased productivity — by advancing in logistics automation, the entrepreneur reduces manual steps and optimizes all processes. This avoids wasting time on the most basic tasks, such as counting inventory or carrying out a checklist.
- Inventory control — Automation software makes it possible to control entry, exit and possible losses of stock items. In addition to pointing out which ones have a lower turnover, avoiding failures that could cause damage to the business. Here it is important to remember the help of barcodes and RFID tags in this control.
- Centralization of information — the automation of logistical processes allows systems to act in an integrated manner, giving managers a more complete view of everything that occurs in the supply chain and other sectors. This also ensures the tracking of logistical metrics.
- Process management — the company is able to control the entire logistics chain, from the simplest to the most complex tasks. With the help of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning it is possible to improve all internal routines.
- Optimization of risk management — with all the information in hand, the managers of the company’s Logistics sector can correct eventual failures and possible risks. A very common example involves delivery routes. If the number of robberies on a given route is high, it is possible to choose an alternative route, providing more security for the employee, the vehicle and the transported cargo.
- Aid in decision-making — automation software produces accurate and reliable reports, giving departmental heads and company directors a solid and reliable basis for making decisions with a very low margin of error.
- Customer satisfaction — today, customer complaints regarding parcel purchases are frequent. But when the process is automated, that changes. The consumer knows what day and time his product will arrive, he knows where it is and that, due to the investments made in storage units, he will receive his merchandise in perfect condition. Maybe on the same day (same day delivery), a current trend.
We at Águia Sistemas can collaborate in this process. We are able to help your company with the most modern aspects of Intralogistics. Contact Us.