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Integrating robotics helps improve supply chain efficiency

The world is evolving at such an unprecedented pace that if unaided by modern technologies, there would be utter chaos caused by massive information available anywhere and global convergence in various business processes. Fortunately, there is the logistics industry, which is what holds our modern world together by managing a huge amount of various processes like transportation, warehousing, routing, and more.

However, to remain relevant, logistics has to upkeep and upgrade to meet the changing needs of the market. In fact, we are already seeing it happen in warehouse logistics, which is now using the efficiency and convenience of robotics.

Interestingly, this innovation was first introduced in the logistics industry in 1954 by George Charles Devol, the father of all robotics. Fast forward 66 years, there are now at least 12 million robotic units worldwide. Given this figure, there are a number of reasons why robotics is becoming more indispensable in logistics, thereby making the supply chain industry more effective in addressing today’s market concerns.

Integrating robots into the supply chain enhances overall revenue to the company by increasing the delivery speed and customer satisfaction. Specifically, supply chains benefit in terms of faster processes of distribution facilities, as well as increasing the efficiency of the overall system. They can slash costs while offering more stability. According to a study by Roland Berger, logistics costs can reduce by between 20 to 40 per cent, while productivity can increase between 25 to 70 per cent.

Robots also help execute some of the supply chain’s least attractive tasks, thereby enabling employees to handle more productive and complex tasks. In certain processes, bots and humans tend to collaborate, which leads to a huge productivity boost.

With the advent of the Internet, mounting pressure has been placed on supply chains. The number of customers who buy products and services online have surged, which brings growth to e-commerce. This also means that companies experience a heavier demand for high quality items and fast delivery of orders. Moreover, since orders come from all countries in the world, different packaging requirements have to be met. In this regard, companies that make use of robots in the supply chain are of significant advantage over those that do not.

The shortage of skilled workers in logistics has dramatically affected supply chains. Also, human workers are prone to on-site accidents, including those that pick loaded boxes from high rooftops or storage spaces. These not only put lives at risk but also cost the company unnecessary expenses for medical treatment. On top of these, their delivery speed is compromised, affecting the entire supply chain at large.

With the use of robotics, companies can prevent accidents, reduce human errors, bring in a significant amount of profit, and reduce warehouse costs. Also, companies can adapt better to new challenges and apply innovations with the use of robots, specifically because human employees do not necessarily have to compromise their health and safety.

The logistics industry will see many tangible and clear benefits of adopting robots for their processes. Not only do firms become more efficient, they also do not have to worry much regarding task execution, thanks to automation that comes with robotic systems. This will enable human staff to focus on other important tasks.

In conclusion, robotics offers massive value to the supply chain industry by revolutionizing logistics. Given the above reasons and examples, the use of more machinery means there will be less chances of failure in the process, boosting the overall reliability of the sector. As we can observe in prominent supply chain systems, it is only fitting for companies to use more automata to aid human processes. After all, innovators have made these huge technological advances to help logistics companies brace for what is ahead; we just have to embrace them.

Written by Frédéric Zielinski, Managing Director of Savoye EMEA





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