How Logistics Management Software and Technology Will Transform Businesses in 2021
Without logistics software management, Pfizer cannot become one of the world’s largest sterile injectables suppliers in 2021. Neither can they store, transport, and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to multiple countries, maintaining ultra-low temperatures. Monitoring temperatures, optimizing delivery routes, managing cold storage, tracking vaccines in transit, overseeing distribution – all these prove that the logistics and supply chain sector has been at the forefront of tech disruption in 2021. Various governments are taking measures to expedite vaccine distribution to the masses; shoppers have increasingly moved to online shopping – 2021 is set to witness the increasing adoption of logistics management software.
The Impact of Technology in Logistics
Technology continues to disrupt logistics and supply chain processes by changing it altogether from its core. Research and Markets reports that the increasing use of IoT and emerging technologies across industries will accelerate Connected Logistics’s adoption. The Global Connected Logistics market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 17.5% during 2021 – 2026.
Consequently, logistics will become more refined and fast, changing the way materials, goods, freight, sales orders, inventory, and production are managed.
As efficiency and speed become the determining factors, logistics need to adopt a new approach to deal with the rising demand and complexity of processes. The industry needs a viable solution that manages the flow of things so that the right product reaches the customer within the specified time.
Logistics software adoption streamlines operations and removes process hassles. Organizations that invested in logistics management software have produced good outcomes with noticeable improvements in process, operations, and delivery.
This article attempts to explain all that you need to know about logistics management software, including:
- What is Logistics Management Software?
- Challenges in logistics management
- Pros of a having a logistics software
- 2021 trends that reshape logistics management
- Choosing the right Logistics Management Software
- Checklist of essentials in a Logistics Management Software
- How logistics software improves efficiency
- The future of supply chain
What is Logistics Management?
Logistics involves the flow of things from their point of origin to the point of consumption, usually general customers or businesses. The selection of vendors, transportation means, routes, and delivery methods constitute an essential part of logistical operations.
Logistics management is a part of the supply chain that uses planning and implementation to store and deliver goods and services to the customer. It coordinates several critical activities of the supply chain that range from product development to commercialization.
Typically a logistics management system includes the following:
- Inbound and outbound transportation management
- Warehouse management
- Fleet management
- Processing orders
- Inventory control
- Managing third-party logistics service providers
- Planning supply and demand
Watch Video: Top Challenges Faced by Logistic Management
Logistics management constitutes several functions such as production planning, sourcing, procurement, packaging, and dispatching. It also involves finding the suitable means to deliver goods and services to the end-user. Inbound and outbound traffic is vital in logistics management.
- Inbound logistics is a linear flow of raw materials from suppliers into a warehouse and then a production unit.
- Shifting the products from the warehouse inventory into the hands of the customers falls under outbound logistics.
An example of inbound and outbound logistics at play is that of a manufacturer of electronic goods, which requires several raw materials in the form of components, nuts, bolts, cables, casting, packaging cartons, etc., to build products.
Challenges in Logistics Management
Logistics is prone to several issues that occur primarily due to simple human errors or other factors. Weak decisions usually result in delays in the transport or delivery of goods, leading to customer dissatisfaction. Besides, another challenge that logistics face generally is in the safe transportation of goods. The goods can become damaged or faulty if not handled accordingly while in transit.
Customer demand has also become higher as they want more transparency in the delivery process. Moreover, logistics and supply chains are facing the still unsolved issue of cost control. The rise of fuel charges combined with a steep increase in energy, freight, and labor rates put further pressure on logistics providers.
Effective risk management and managing the relationship between the suppliers and partners are also vital. A reliable solution that covers all these individual challenges in logistics is thus becoming a necessity. The use of logistics management software (LMS) can streamline logistical operations and guide a logistics provider or business to deal with them appropriately.
What is Logistics Management Software?
Logistics Management Software (LMS) simplifies logistics operations by refining the production cycle and making it easier to access important information quickly. A logistics management software helps businesses manage the various processes that go into the production cycle from the delivery of raw materials to shipping the finished products to the consumers.
Logistics software has become broader in its scope and functionality to deal with a vast array of operations and processes. It shares similarities with supply chain management software (SCMS), which contains tools that help deal with transactions, processes, and suppliers. The functionality of a logistics management software extends to areas such as:
- Processing customer requests
- Processing purchase orders
- Inventory Management
- Suppliers Management
- Sales and Distribution
A logistics management software gets rid of all the conventional approaches like paperwork and spreadsheets to simplify management. It comes in three variations: warehouse management systems, enterprise resource planning systems, and integrated supply chain management suites.
Companies with an in-house logistics or supply chain division and third-party logistics providers utilize any of these different versions according to their requirements to efficiently manage their logistical and supply chain operations.
The Pros of having a Logistics Software
In logistics, handing over the process to a logistics management software has several advantages. With logistics management software, a company or 3PL (third-party logistics) provider could avail of the following benefits.
- Refine Transportation: Transportation is a crucial area of logistics. It incurs the most charges in the form of fuel, energy, labor, motorway tolls, and shipping fees. Relying on logistics software can help manage the various transportation means and leverage the operational data for process automation. Logistics management software makes it easy to analyze data and make relevant decisions for reducing costs maximizing efficiency.
- Faster Delivery: The logistics and supply chain industry faces several issues that affect delivery and lead to delays. By incorporating logistics software, businesses can rapidly deliver their products to customers. A logistics management software can improve delivery speed by making meaningful interventions in the production cycle and choosing the suitable carrier. It ultimately reduces shipping delays to a great extent.
- Minimize Human Errors: Another notable advantage of having logistics management software is in reducing human error. Manual analysis of vast quantities of transportation data is difficult, time-consuming, and prone to errors. A logistics software can process these data without any mistakes in less time, seamlessly pushing forward the operations with minimal/nil delays.
- Automates Functions: Process Automation is a tremendous boon of logistics software integration. Certain functions like creating shipment routes, load planning, and tendering of load to carriers are easily automated and managed by using logistics software. Moreover, it eliminates paperwork, which helps deal with the processes efficiently and timely.
- Reduce Costs: Logistics software can automatically compare different shipping services, delivery agents, and transportation methods to find the least pricing ones. The other way logistics software reduces costs is by lowering the expedited shipments through improved shipment planning.
2021 Trends that Reshape Logistics Management
The demand for logistics software management has peaked with the widespread popularity of e-commerce in 2021. The onset of COVID-19 is also a reason behind the peak in demand for logistics technology. As a result, logistics is constantly evolving to accommodate each industry’s rising requests that depend on it. One area where logistics has transformed is the digitization of its processes and resources. In 2021, the industry is expected to embrace the cloud, mobile, and emerging tech to transform logistics operations. Here are some of the top tech trends that will influence logistics and supply chain in 2021.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Logistics companies will use AI to identify patterns in data and churn insights. It will help advance operations such as intelligent transportation, route optimization, demand forecasting, budget planning, etc. McKinsey reports that AI-driven logistics optimization can reduce costs through real-time forecasts and behavioral coaching. The potential incremental value of AI in the logistics and transportation industry (89%) will be more than other analytics techniques.
2. Warehouse Robotics
Over the last few decades, innovative logistic robotic companies have worked hard to mesh AI and machine learning, better sensors and response capabilities, warehouse management software, or logistics management software. Recently, warehouse robotics in the supply chain has picked up pace exponentially. There has been colossal funding and investment in the industry. For example, Alibaba invested $15 billion into robotic logistics infrastructure, and Google invested $500 million into automated logistics for JD. It is also estimated that the global market for warehouse robotics in the supply chain will reach a market value of $22.4 billion by the end of 2021.
3. Cloud Computing
Cloud integrated logistics management software allows having real-time price updates, inventory, and tracking. Cloud-based logistics software enables real-time accuracy and 360-degree management of processes and systems. You can track a product through its lifecycle, right from ordering to distribution. It allows to significantly cut down the costs of lost products, missing deliveries, locate a shipment at any stage of transport, and reroute a misdirected shipment. Cloud-based logistics software allows everyone in a trade network to communicate and share data in real-time, make decisions quickly, and scale on-demand.
4. Contactless last-mile delivery
In a pandemic-troubled world, contactless delivery is more critical than ever. eCommerce companies and carriers face increasing pressure due to the surge in online shopping. It’s crucial to stay agile by ensuring business continuity. At the same time, it is also vital to remain safe and meet delivery needs. Electronic parcel lockers, contactless parcel delivery and collection, and self-service pick-up automate delivery processes to reduce physical interactions between customers and delivery agents.
Watch video: Custom Web Application Developed to Enable Smarter Locker Management
Custom logistics software applications can help fulfill the increasing demand for last-mile delivery. Fingent helps build healthy tech partnership ecosystems to ensure uninterrupted supply and distribution of your products and services.
Blockchain, also known as the distributed ledger technology, offers the ability to record transactions between parties securely and permanently. The shared and secured databases enabled by blockchain helps in avoiding intermediaries and third parties that verify, record, and coordinate transactions in a supply chain. Blockchain helps increase the traceability of the material supply chain, improve the credibility and trust of shared data, digitize physical assets like contracts and critical documents, streamline administrative processes, reduce costs, and enable effective auditing of supply chain data.
Example of blockchain application in logistics: The international logistics giant DHL uses blockchain-based serialization of pharmaceutical drugs and products to ensure that:
- the products come only from legitimate manufacturers,
- are not counterfeit, and
- are adequately tracked and traced through their journey from origin to consumption.
6. Predictive Analytics
The emergence of sensor technologies and AI has contributed heavily to the rapid growth of predictive maintenance in the logistics industry. Supply chain leaders want to utilize data effectively to optimize predictive maintenance, forecast demands, adjust inventory levels, improve cold chain transportation, and protect the integrity of the supply chain. Smart and optimized data management through predictive analytics and AI allow logistics providers to refine and transform the supply chain in 2021.
Opting for the right Logistics Management Software
With the trends shifting logistics management in a progressive direction, the need for software solutions in the field has become indispensable. Businesses, whether focussing on e-commerce or delivering services, can benefit from having logistics management software. However, the real question is finding the right kind of logistics software since the requirements vary for each business.
A checklist of essentials in a Logistics Management Software
Before settling on software for logistics management, it is vital to understand the requirements and challenges a business faces daily. Carrying out a detailed analysis can help identify deficiencies in the existing logistical operations of a business. Besides that, it can suggest measures to redeem any discovered shortcomings in the cycle.
When deciding on logistics management software, there are several essential factors to consider. Firstly, it should contain a basic set of functions that can aid in simple logistical management operations.
Besides that, numerous other things should also be present in the software to tackle the wide base of a business’s logistical operations and processes.
Some of the key features to look for in a potential LMS are:
- Compatible Multi-Client Architecture: A logistics software that comes with multi-client architecture support is necessary if a business handles multiple customers. Software with inventory and purchase orders has more emphasis since it deals with several customers simultaneously or in different phases.
- Forecasting: The ability to forecast is a needed trait in logistics and supply chain management software since it can bridge gaps in supply and demand by enhancing the business processes. Demand, supply, and price forecasting can help supply chain management with proper production scheduling, better customer satisfaction, and minimized out-of-stock scenarios.
- Finance Integration: Having tools that integrate the supply chain’s financial side is another critical software requirement. Vital financial aspects like general ledger, account payables, and receivables can help manage the bookkeeping and records of transactions conveniently when included in logistics software.
- Inventory Tracking: Having an inbuilt inventory tracking feature can make logistics management software more dependable. Logistics involves transactions of various kinds. An inventory control feature enables easier processing while ensuring that the customer gets the invoice on time.
- Customizable and Streamlined Interface: A good logistics management software should contain a streamlined interface that allows for effortless navigation across its chief functions. A customizable logistics software can easily accommodate the unique infrastructure and methods implemented by a business.
- CRM: Logistics software should also cover the customer side. A CRM embedded logistics software allows the customers to know the status of their deliveries. For both inbound and outbound logistics, CRM can answer the customers’ queries and supply them with relevant information and adjustments to the delivery.
- Bill of Lading Creation: As a critical document in the shipping and freight chain, looking for a logistics system that can generate the bill of lading is recommended. This can make it easier to create the bill of lading receipts. It facilitates the seamless exchange of goods under the consignee of the shipper and the logistics company.
Refer the chart below to get a grip on the overall profile of any software logistics management:
With logistics pushed to the forefront of business operations, leveraging the right technology can make your business compatible with the changing environment.
Outsourcing to a software development vendor will help deploy scalable software for logistics management into your entire supply chain operations. A global software solutions provider like Fingent can give you the advantage of custom logistics solutions built solely based on your requirements.
How logistics software improves efficiency
Logistics management software guarantees more efficiency and control over the logistical and supply chain operations of a business. It means simply substituting the existing manual methods with a software-centric solution. The array of features in a logistics system can refine the entire logistics cycle right from its center. For owners, vendors, and the end customers, using an LSM (Logistics Software management) model opens up improved collaboration, which is the essence of effective logistics management.
Opt for logistics software requires considering all the criteria mentioned above. For a business, it involves addressing their needs and then choosing one that wraps around their existing processes. By integrating an LMS into their operations, companies could reduce their turnaround times and streamline the overall cycle of planning and delivery while keeping up with the customers’ requirements.
Transitioning into Cloud-Based SaaS: The Future of Supply Chain
With cloud computing gaining momentum in 2021, a whole new way of processing data is unveiled. The tech innovations in 2021 have influenced the supply chain and logistics operations. Increased adoption of supply chain and logistics solutions in 2021 will lead to a shift from the on-premise model to the SaaS model.
Predictions estimate that a subscription-based SaaS model will dominate supply chain management in 2021 and beyond. Adopting a cloud-based supply chain solution offers benefits in the form of flexibility, robustness, and affordability. Free and open-source software adoption has made the Cloud the primary choice for logistics providers and organizations worldwide.
Cloud-based SaaS supply chain solutions offer numerous benefits. It gives a comprehensive outlook on the overall operations in logistics by making processes more transparent and collaborative. Implementing a cloud system reduces the upfront and operating costs. It also offers the ability to scale up with the business needs and enhances supply chain efficiency.
To sum up,
Opting for a logistics solution is one step to simplifying the entire cycle of logistical and supply chain operations. Effective management of each process from procurement to delivery requires a custom logistics management solution that can accommodate each provider’s demands. For instance, an organization lacking an in-house logistics department needs a software management tool that can wrap around their existing methodology and improve it.
By partnering with a vendor specializing in software development, businesses can deploy logistics management software tailored to their requirements. Pioneers in custom software development like Fingent can assist companies from wholesalers to distributors to e-commerce with the advantage of custom logistic solutions. Get in touch with us to spearhead your operations swiftly and efficiently.
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How does a Warehousing Management System Simplify Operations and Help Your Business Scale?
A Warehousing Management System is a software application that controls and manages the operations in a warehouse. It can either be a standalone system or part of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
Additionally, most consumers today want to buy anywhere and return anywhere. So, businesses must have the ability to respond quickly with Warehousing Management Software that optimizes the fulfillment capabilities.
A modern WMS solution:
- Guides inventory receiving and put-away,
- Optimizes picking and shipping consignments, and
- Advises inventory replenishment.
Simply put, the solution offers visibility into a business’s entire inventory and manages the whole supply chain fulfillment right from the distribution to the store.
While many companies have ERP or Order Management System (OMS) systems that include warehousing functionality, companies can outgrow their warehousing and distribution functionality capabilities by implementing warehousing management software.
In the past, many small and mid-sized companies wanted to increase the functionality of the warehousing management system. However, the entry-level costs were excessive. Today, with cloud-based platforms, the deployment and operational costs have reduced drastically.
This article discusses the various benefits of a warehousing management system that can support your growing company.
Why is a Warehousing Management System better than a traditional order management system?
There’s no denying that both OMS and ERP systems have warehousing and distribution functions. However, they often lack critical functions such as accepting ASNs (Advanced Shipping Notice) or managing the inbound receiving docks.
Additionally, the traditional system can become obsolete if your company runs several distribution centers. It will not be easy to manage multiple warehouse inventories if you don’t have a warehousing management system. It is also true when retail companies need small parcel shipping for omnichannel commerce like a “ship from a store” or to “manage inventory in stockrooms” in addition to the central warehouse. In such cases, a warehousing management system is a must as they are built from scratch with multiple distribution centers in mind.
A WMS manages activities and functions across the warehouse and will help give you better control over managing the labor to improve the levels of efficiency. Warehouse management software improves inventory visibility, makes it easy to track shipments, monitors expiration dates, and performs cycle counts.
Most OMS and ERP systems are not effective in reporting employee productivity and throughput by job function. The most significant benefit of being barcoded throughout the DC processes or using voice technologies is identifying the work performed by an employee by job function. On the other hand, a warehousing management system improves the company’s gain as the cost of labor increases.
Additionally, most OMS or ERP systems are selected and implemented to improve other departments such as contact centers, accounting, marketing, etc. Warehousing management software will ensure the distribution center organization grows, controls costs, gains efficiency, improves customer service, and extends the life of the OMS or ERP.
What are the benefits of a Warehousing Management System?
1. Receiving and marking
Typical functions of a WMS include ASN and EDI transactions, carrier scheduling of dock appointments, and receiving and putting-away personnel. Additional functions include:
- Identifying forward and bulk locations after receiving the product and quantity on hand
- Creating barcodes for pallets and carton labels
- Ability to record any vendor or carrier damage claims upon receiving
- The capability of both paper and paperless receiving
- Identifying special processing of product before put-away process
- Eliminating the put-away process by cross-docking from receiving to packing
- Resolving any issues through status reporting of incoming receipts to warehousing and merchandising staff
- Store product specifications for QA
- Support vendor compliance programs and report a vendor scorecard, on-time delivery, errors in shipment and receiving, and more.
- Store vendor, product, SKU sample testing criteria
- Marking direct, retail, and wholesale customer print and ticket formats
After receiving the inventory, products have to be either cross-docked to packing stations or shipping to fill backorders or put-away. A warehousing management system can help identify storage type, open bin/slot locations, cubic capacity, and more, along with profile characteristics and cube required. Many warehousing management systems will have “directed put-away” options based on products. Storage parameters, system rules, and velocity functions may be available in a few smaller warehouse management systems.
Slotting products is one of the most significant benefits of warehousing management software. It assigns SKUs to pick locations based on various factors such as size, sales, velocity, weight, category, and more. Sometimes, slotting functionality is available through add-on modules from some WMS vendors at an additional cost.
The slotting functionality reduces picker travel time and recommends changes in bin or slot size requiring less replenishment, thereby improving productivity.
Velocity reporting enables personnel to re-slot primary locations to get more space or change fast-selling items to the “hot pick” slot locations. Advanced operations can use dynamic slotting functionality.
4. Automates restoring of forward pick
A WMS automates refilling of primary or forward pick storage from bulk before the next set of orders is directed to the floor for picking. It reduces warehouse backorder costs and lost time.
Sales velocity data helps plan the size of the forward pick storage according to the item to reduce the number of replenishment tasks. Also, a product’s demand replenishment functions trigger recommended stock movement in an automated way.
Most warehousing management software provides several functions such as work orders, kitting, assembly control of labor and material costs, and more. Other functions such as a single-level bill of material (BOM) or a multi-level BOM and managing component inventory assignment through the work order process are also available.
Other options such as tracking inventory usage and sales at the finished kit and component level, tracking labor usage by work order and assembled product, and also about work in progress reports are available. While ERPs may have a comparable function, it is not the case with OMS.
Packing is as crucial as picking in fulfillment of small parcel eCommerce. To gain customer satisfaction, consider the “pack confirm” verification process in your operations. You can pull aside all missed picks, and incorrect order quantities for correction through the “pack confirm” process. Many warehousing management systems can print-on-demand customer documents, assembly directions, and shipping labels and support the insertion of promotional materials.
Today, most businesses struggle to keep pace with customer demands. Thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the demand has only increased. At Fingent, we provide you with custom software solutions that streamline business processes and save time and money. We help you develop custom warehousing management software for businesses that deal in logistics, shipping, transportation, eCommerce, third-party logistics (3PL), and more. If you want to discover our services further, please chat with our consultant.
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The logistics and supply chain market is predicted to experience most complexities this 2021, especially with the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Here are ways to enable smooth logistics operations, even amidst the chaos!
COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution: A Guide for Logistics and Supply Chain Leaders to Make Strategic Decisions
Crunch time and performing in a crisis – logistics and supply chain leaders are familiar with these challenges. The pandemic recovery mode has turned out to be a whole different ball game for logistics and supply chain service providers. It has thrown them a new and unique challenge in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, the world is looking to those same industry leaders for more strategic decisions and ways to shock-proof the supply chain.
Thus far, most companies have relied on a strategy of low-cost supplies and minimum inventory. However, given the combination of the pandemic, trade conflicts, and harsher natural disasters, they are rethinking such an approach. 2021 is facing one of the most complex logistics and supply chain challenges that we have never experienced in the past. This article shows how logistics businesses can enable smooth operations, especially with the vaccine distribution throughout 2021.
How is COVID-19 vaccine distribution affecting the logistics sector?
According to Jabil’s report on supply chain resilience in a post-pandemic world, the coronavirus disease impacted 78% of respondent supply chains, more than any other disruption over the last decade. Supply chain disruptions are not new, but they are usually contained and short-lived. However, COVID-19 has brought in extraordinary challenges. Here are a few of them:
1. Speed to market
Swift development of the COVID-19 vaccine has a ripple effect throughout manufacturing and distribution. Unlike other vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines need to be shipped under ideal conditions. Speed to market and the need to maintain cold chain integrity will be a big challenge for the supply chain sector.
2. Global and pervasive
Unlike traditional vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine is not location-specific. Supply chain leaders may encounter challenges as they ship to new customers through unfamiliar trade lanes, using new transport systems. In other words, the vaccine supply chain has to meet the demand on a global scale.
3. Full-scale distribution
The COVID-19 vaccine will have to be distributed full-scale from the start. Given the unfamiliar network, the risk entailed in this process doubles.
These unique challenges are forcing industry leaders to rethink traditional approaches. Those in the supply chain dedicated to the COVID-19 vaccine distribution will need to act in real-time and guide others downstream proactively.
Six stages to enable smooth logistics operations throughout 2021
Post the COVID-19 vaccine release announcement, the public’s attention began to shift from research and development to distribution. And rightly so! Here are six stages that supply chain leaders must focus on while making strategic decisions:
1. Planning is everything
The success of any task starts with proper planning. The supply chain encapsulates the procurement of goods, storage, and delivery to a specific location. With appropriate management of time, transportation, and other parameters, logistics companies can earn maximum profits. Adhering to the schedule helps attain better tracking, quality control, and timely delivery.
Despite good planning, supply chain procedures may encounter some challenges. Supply chain providers need to have a backup emergency plan to manage such unexpected situations.
2. Train for efficiency
The success of the plan is determined by those who execute it. In other words, well-trained staff can have a significant impact on the plan’s success. To this end, the team must be well trained in utilizing modern techniques.
Apart from frequent training sessions, companies can increase their teams’ efficiency through brochures and paper notices posted on the workplace walls. Apart from that, make sure that each employee is aware of the new policies. Educate your staff on how to handle the vaccine shipment so that the handler is conscious of packing and labeling.
3. Keep up with the latest technology
Technology is continuously evolving now more than ever. It is essential to keep up with the latest technology to handle challenges and tackle vaccine distribution demands.
- Artificial Intelligence can assist in providing timely updates regarding the movement of goods.
- It helps the client know the details about the supply, warehouse, and delivery. Automation of such information can save a considerable amount of time for the industry and its clients.
- Automation eliminates human error in tracking, which improves overall process management.
- AI can also assist in managing the account details and employee details.
- Automated warehouses can make sorting, packaging, and organizing vaccines much easier.
- Automated voice bots and chatbots can play a significant role in customer services.
4. Warehouse and inventory management
Effective supply chain management is incomplete without proper warehouse management. Warehouse operations vary according to the product. For example, most vaccines require ultra-low temperatures. Ensure that your current warehouse facility is capable of stocking the vaccine at appropriate temperature levels. Proper warehouse inventory will ensure minimum wastage of goods.
Moreover, using vertical storage columns can maximize storage capacity. Implementing efficient tracking software allows warehouse personnel to locate products quickly.
Implementing logistics software solutions or applying robotics logistics such as robotic palletizing, packaging, and automated picking can modernize warehouse operations, improve health and occupational safety in the warehouse premises, reduce physical contacts between workers, and increase efficiency fulfillment.
5. Improved transportation
Efficient transportation can decrease expenses and speed up the delivery of vaccines. Determine the shortest and safest delivery route. Optimize the packaging to reduce the weight of the package and the volume.
The pandemic has accelerated digital shopping. Last-mile delivery has become more critical than ever before. The use of technology can help logistics managers optimize that last-mile and help them keep their customers updated.
6. Analyze and improvise
Integration of feedback and analysis makes any logistics network complete and optimal. Predictive data analytics can help industry leaders learn from what happened and improve in the future. You can use it to get a detailed understanding of what caused delays in your supply chain. Once you identify those bottlenecks, you can boost the productivity of your logistics business and efficiency on your future trips.
Building supply chain resilience
Just as the coronavirus spread from place to place, the vaccine must follow suit to support a global recovery. However, the vaccine’s possible routes are determined by the cold chain. Some areas do not have the option of freezer storage. Local logistics and supply chain leaders must ensure that these communities have access to the approved vaccines.
Location intelligence and technological advantage help leaders determine where vaccines need to go and how to get them there. For most logistics firms, the pandemic seems to be a trial-by-fire. By implementing responsible strategies, you can build resilience in logistics and supply chain practices.
To fulfill the increasing demand for last-mile delivery, logistics companies must strengthen smart tech investments and build healthy partnership ecosystems. Fingent is closely monitoring the situation and helping businesses return to work with our technology consulting and innovation capabilities. Contact us, and let’s get you started.
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SAP helps increase warehouse management productivity with voice picking!
Voice technology has been there for a while and is here to stay. Its increasing adoption among warehouse distribution centers has led to increased accuracy, improved productivity, and training time reduction. Supply chain executives report attaining a 50% decrease in picking errors and a typical ROI in less than one year with voice integration.
In retail warehouses, complex facilities such as inventory control are vital, with several picks to be performed every hour. The warehouse employees should be an efficient and accurate while ‘picking’ as wrong picking can lead to incorrect deliveries and affect customer satisfaction.
To improve staff accuracy and speed of pick, warehouses can consider “Voice Picking” technology. Voice picking is an extension of the Warehouse Management System (enhanced by additional software and hardware) that allows transferring instructions to the warehouse operators using earphones and microphones. Voice Picking uses a wearable computer that includes a headset and microphone so that the order pickers can be instructed on what items to pick from where and later confirm their actions verbally into the Warehouse Management System (WMS).
Benefits of Voice-picking
A voice-picking system creates a hands-free, heads-up workflow. Unlike the traditional warehouse order picking, where you need to stop to read, scan, or punch keys, the voice-picking system allows users to listen and speak efficiently. Some of its benefits include:
- Productivity improvement
- Reduction in errors by 25% or more
- Decrease in accidents as operators rely on eyes and hands-free technology and hence are more aware of the surroundings
- Cuts training time
How is voice-enabled warehouse operation helping during the COVID-19 pandemic?
In the last few months, warehousing and logistics have been hit hard. While there was enormous pressure on the warehouse to execute deliveries quickly due to increasing customer expectations, COVID-19 has caused further disruption.
Logistic companies have had to evaluate options and make changes across transportation modes, considering delays, interruptions, and price changes.
According to a survey from August to September 2020, about 32,200 jobs were added to the warehouse and storage sector. Thanks to voice and device technology! Voice integration helped address the labor shortage and equipped new workers. Here are a few benefits of voice-enabled warehouse management.
1. Efficient onboarding
New workers can pick up their barcode scanner or mobile device and begin their work with minimal onboarding time. Latest device upgrades offer improved designs and user-friendly interfaces. Whether a Windows 10, iOS, or Android device, workers can choose the device they like. This flexibility helps simplify the training and onboarding process of new workers, optimizing workforce management, and making it a more efficient experience.
New workers can get started quickly without the need for lengthy training processes. With voice-enabled applications, you can reduce the training time from several hours to just a few minutes.
2. Increased productivity
Voice capabilities are helping workers to keep pace with the high volume of orders. It helps them cope with the increased pressure to meet soaring demands, reduce training time, and use the hand-held devices of their comfort.
3. Higher accuracy
With hands-free wearables and voice picking, workers don’t need to stop frequently to check their devices. It will reduce errors and allow pickers to complete more orders within the same timeframe with improved speed and accuracy.
4. Improved safety
The coronavirus has made “contactless” mandatory. Voice picking can eliminate many physical touchpoints that can lead to virus exposure. Minimizing surface contact is one of the best ways to protect warehouse workers.
Read more: Contactless services: The new retail norm
How does SAP help voice-picking?
SAP’s open architecture supports several voice integration methods that help users achieve immense productivity and accuracy. If your business is running on SAP’s Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) solution or Warehouse Management (WM), voice can be easily integrated. It results in the seamless integration of ERP with your warehouse management solutions and voice. Ultimately, the accuracy, productivity, comfort, and safety of all your warehouse processes will improve. It helps distribution centers deliver on time, achieve deadlines, and scale.
Today, voice integrated into SAP has become an essential tool for many businesses. SAP’s voice picking provides superior ergonomics, eliminates distractions, and allows users to focus on the task. The voice technology is specifically designed to provide voice recognition in noisy environments. The noise cancellation ability helps lower warehouse background noise, such as truck horns, pallet drops, and conveyor system mechanism.
Additionally, the technology helps overcome language barriers as most systems come in more than 40 languages allowing users to interact with SAP most naturally and effectively.
Voice with SAP can quickly scale with your business both when your business grows and when you need to accomplish seasonal peaks. With SAP’s explicit instructions, you can add new employees’ onboarding time and capacity without any complex changes to the given infrastructure.
Download Our Case Study: How Fingent automated integration between SAP SuccessFactors and SAP S/4HANA
As the economy battles to overcome uncertainty, using safe, cost-effective solutions, embracing advanced technologies like voice-enabled applications are imperative to sustain. Additionally, with COVID-19 showing no signs of ending soon and the world shifting to contactless shopping, embracing voice-enabled applications makes sense from an economic and physical safety standpoint.
No other technology has impacted the logistics and shipping industry like voice in the recent past. Extend your logistics and fulfillment processes by making voice technology a vital ingredient of your company’s IT strategy. Contact us now to get started.
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Robotics in Logistics: Dawn of a New Era
Since the advent of e-commerce, getting goods to the customer’s door or stores from the factories or warehouses has become a mammoth task for logistics companies. Forecasts say that “worldwide warehousing and logistics robot unit shipments will increase to an estimated 620,000 units annually by 2021.” The solution for this herculean task of transporting goods far and wide thus becomes apparent: the dawn of robotics in logistics. The use of robotics in logistics offers far greater levels of uptime over manual labor, bolstering productivity in a vast array of professional environments.
Retail giants like Amazon and Walmart that have already deployed robots in their warehouses and fulfillment centers will only expand their deployments, especially in the wake of current situations. Leveraging robotics in logistics cuts around 70% of warehouse labor costs and helps businesses function day and night with minimal costs. Want to find out how? This post will help you understand the importance of utilizing warehouse robotics in the supply chain.
A Surge in Warehouse Robotics in Supply Chain
The first robot in the supply chain was capable of moving material about a dozen feet. For several years, robots were used only in industrial manufacturing because it was not safe for people to be around them. However, over the last few decades, innovative logistic robotic companies have worked hard to mesh AI and machine learning, better sensors and response capabilities, warehouse management software or logistics management software.
Recently, warehouse robotics in the supply chain has picked up pace exponentially. There has been huge funding and investment in the industry. For example, Alibaba invested $15 billion into robotic logistics infrastructure and Google invested $500 million into automated logistics for JD. It is also estimated that the global market for warehouse robotics in the supply chain is projected to reach a market value of $22.4 billion by the end of 2021.
Evidently, the dawn of robotic logistics is right here now!
What is Robotic Logistics?
The logistics industry is what is holding our modern world together. It includes a huge amount of different processes. Ordering, transportation, warehousing, picking, packing, delivery, inventory, and routing are just a few of those processes.
So, robotic logistics means the application of robotics to one or more of these processes. A few common robotic applications are robotic palletizing, robotic packaging, robotic picking commonly used in warehousing or any other logistics software solutions.
So, what kind of robots could be useful for your warehouse?
Warehouse Robotics in Supply Chain
1. Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR)
AMRs use sophisticated sensor technology to deliver inventory all over the warehouse. They do not require a set track between locations. They can understand and interpret their environment through the use of maps, computers, and onboard sensors.
These warehouse robots are small and nimble with the ability to identify the information on each package and sort it with impeccable accuracy. They cut down on the redundant manual process which is prone to human error.
2. Aerial Drones
Aerial drones aid in optimizing warehouse inventory processes. They can quickly scan locations for automated inventory. They can scan inventory much faster than a human can and send an accurate count immediately to your warehouse inventory management software.
These drones do not need markers or lasers to guide them. They don’t take up valuable space in your warehouse. They can travel quickly and assist in hard-to-reach areas.
3. Automated Guided Vehicles
Automated guided vehicles and carts (AGVs and AGCs) transport inventory around your warehouse following a track laid in your warehouse. These warehouse robots are perfect for larger warehouses because it reduces the time spent by workers just moving from one area to the next.
4. Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS and RS)
Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems are robot-aided systems that can place or retrieve loads from set storage locations. AS and RS differ depending on the system needed, the type of task, or the goods that they will be working with. They can be programmed to work as a craft that moves and works on a well-defined path or a crane that retrieves goods between aisles. There are also aisle climbing robots that retrieve customer orders.
These free up the time of workers who can then concentrate on more complicated processes such as packing and posting the goods.
What is Driving the Need for Collaborative Robots in Logistics?
Although there has been a boom in logistic robotics, there are two specific factors that are driving the current need for collaborative robots in logistics.
- The growth of e-commerce: When products are directly shipped to customers, there is a huge variety of different packing requirements.
- The lack of available workforce: Shortage of skilled workers can affect logistics.
What are the Benefits of Adopting Robotic Logistics?
The logistics industry can see many tangible and clear benefits of adopting robotic logistics.
- By reducing human errors, robotic logistics can bring in significant profits and can also reduce warehouse costs.
- Robotics can allow for workforce adaptability.
- Robotic logistics improve safety for workers by taking over dangerous jobs such as getting items from high racks or storage spaces.
- Reduced human error and increased delivery speed brought about by robotic automation will increase customer satisfaction.
Read more: Open source robotics process automation
Enjoy the Freedom To Do More
Robots are being used rather extensively in logistics. Due to the complexity of supply chain processes robots will be increasingly used for dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks freeing your workers for more complex tasks. This means cost-effective, fast, and error-free operations. If you want this for your business, get in touch with us immediately and let us fix your business up with robot power.
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Focused Industry Templates and Automation In SAP
Focused industry templates and automation in SAP can radically cut the time and effort required to transform the systems of various industries. Modern solutions that integrate business functions, data management and financial management can facilitate various industries. Recognizing this massive potential, both big and small industries are adopting industry-specific solutions. This article discusses in detail how industry-specific templates can benefit verticals such as healthcare, retail, logistics, utilities, and media.
Understanding Templates for Industry Specific Verticals
A standardized, industry-specific vertical approach is a fast and cost-effective way to implement an ERP solution.
Related Reading: Unlock the Potential of Intelligent Enterprise with SAP Leonardo
When Do We Need Templates?
You need templates when your work is repetitive, such as filling in a monthly report. This speeds up mundane tasks and ensures accuracy and uniformity across all the reports. A business that performs the same functions across different locations would benefit from an industry-specific template.
How Does It Work?
Building an industry-specific template would require a typical implementation approach: gather, analyze and document the requirement. This is done in phases such as planning and blueprinting. Then it is tested and confirmed by the business before it is deployed across the organization.
If different parts of the organization work differently, there is no need to create a new template from scratch. SAP industry-specific templates allow you to create a version of the existing template to handle the task.
Related Reading: Create Intelligent Organizations with SAP Model Company
What Are the Benefits of Industry Focused Templates and Automation?
- Allows businesses to achieve quick return on their investments.
- Minimizes ERP implementation expenses.
- Minimizes or avoids risks such as budget overruns.
- Allow you to control projects more accurately and easily.
- Give you the ability to repeat and refine processes.
- Enables you to apply the best practices to the next project.
Five Specific Industries That Facilitate Focused Industry Solutions
Many industries are looking for expert IT partners with a focused approach in providing industry-specific technology solutions. Here are examples of five specific industries:
Throughout a patients’ journey in the healthcare lifecycle, the healthcare industry can leverage focused industry solutions to proactively approach the patient and provide individual, personalized content increasing patient satisfaction and building patient loyalty. With SAP industry templates, healthcare can increase efficiency with insight into costs and outcomes, improve customer experience and improve risk and compliance management.
SAP solutions increase workforce engagement, agility, and overall results. By means of invoice-to-pay, invoice-to-cash, and other features, the healthcare industry can enable their departments to collaborate efficiently.
Today, it is critical for businesses to treat customers as they want to be treated. This is possible only by customizing their experience and selling to them in a personalized way. SAP solutions are suitable for both small and large enterprises. It can be mapped for all company techniques and scenarios, and business features. Since they are exceedingly customizable, SAP solutions are best utilized for business strategies involving seasonal goods. Aggregates and indexes can be replaced by central tables ensuring that steps are transparent from order-to-delivery.
Certified SAP focused industry templates and automation simplifies the process to avoid the need for designing a full business process from scratch. This can double the performance speed by accelerating user productivity and reducing frustration. It can also eliminate the use of printed paper, reducing your carbon footprint and costs. Automation in the logistics industry leads to faster decisions and instant actions.
Utility firms undergo substantial changes across the world. This increases competition, thereby putting immense pressure on utility companies to provide a high degree of customer satisfaction. SAP solution templates and automation helps them by providing operational efficiency, steering utilities to their desired destination and beyond with minimum expense. It can also reduce implementation effort and time, thus realizing a higher ROI for the industry.
Media industries such as newspapers, television, and internet-based social media applications face the challenge of delivering information at the right time to attract their target audience. Implementation of SAP solutions will ensure that all service processes are handled efficiently. It can help in better planning of which information should be broadcast at what time. SAP-based solutions enable the media industry to make instant changes and take quick action according to an on-going scenario. Such agility can provide better commercial outcomes for the industry.
Related Reading: SAP Preconfigured Solutions Boost Efficiency Among Industries
It’s the Right Move!
Agility, quick ROI, streamlined processes – what are you waiting for? Businesses are moving on to Focused Industry Templates and Automation as we speak. Fingent has helped many of these businesses with a host of SAP services that help to improve operational efficiency. Give us a call and let’s get talking.
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What are preconfigured solutions?
SAP Preconfigured solutions are implementations featuring standard functionality or common patterns. Since they include common enterprise features such as supply chain, finance, and inventory management, preconfigured solutions can be deployed rapidly. In simple terms, SAP preconfigured solutions are simple, ready-to-consume solutions that adapt to your business needs.
SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions allows the development of preconfigured solutions for specific functional areas, complete with pre-built reports, preconfigured content, and predefined best practices. Such suites enable enterprises to deploy software easily, with accelerated implementation times, and predictability in cost and scope.
Each preconfigured solution is a complete, end-to-end implementation. Enterprises may adopt it as such, or use it as a base for developing a full-blown customized solution. Open source solutions allow enterprises to download the source code and customize the solution.
Traditional preconfigured solutions came on-premise. The SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud heralds the cloud version of preconfigured solutions.
Related Reading: What is Business Process Expertise in SAP and Why You Need it
How preconfigured solutions enhance industry operations?
Preconfigured solutions spare enterprises from “rediscovering the wheel.” When solutions exist for standard requirements, it avoids the wastage in development efforts. Preconfigured solutions save time, trial-and-error, and labor. The in-built accelerators allow rapid implementation and configuration. The shortened time to market delivers a competitive advantage to firms.
A preconfigured solution offers a working model with glitches removed. These solutions connect key functional areas, to streamline operations and improve communication flow across departments. It automates routine and repetitive functions and offers well-structured content that improves visibility into key fields.
SAP offers built-in support for industry best practices. Solutions developed using SAP combines the latest technology, industry best practices, and processes in a single package.
Developers using SAP to build preconfigured solutions can adopt a modular and scalable approach. They mix modules to create targeted solutions such as CRM, field management suite, ERP and more. Clients may choose the most relevant reporting tools for their reports using SAP Business Intelligence Adoption rapid-deployment solution. SAP Predictive Analytics Content Adoption rapid-deployment solution helps to implement a predefined predictive analysis use case.
Transforming various industry verticals
Preconfigured solutions deliver efficiency improvements in several industries and verticals. Five of them are mentioned below:
1. Real Estate
Unstandardized information, inefficient processes, and weak communications often affect the real estate industry. Preconfigured solutions enable enterprises to streamline data and workflows.
Developing preconfigured solutions for key functional areas of the real estate industry allows business owners to access information in real-time, prevent opportunities from slipping through the cracks, and remain in control of the business. Here are a few key functional areas where pre-configured solutions can come to the rescue of real estate enterprises:
- Document management with powerful search and sort functionality.
- Process automation functions to streamline operations.
- Contact maintenance to keep track of customers and upcoming tasks.
- Reporting and analytics to generate and share data and other critical information.
2. Supply Chain and Logistics
Preconfigured solutions make the complex supply chain relationships simple and easy to handle. SAP’s Model Company for supply chain planning offers a ready-to-run, comprehensive solution, complete with relevant business content, accelerators, and enablement services.
The suite co-opts:
- Demand planning to manage demand streams and increase productivity.
- Response and supply planning.
- Supply and allocation planning.
- Deployment planning.
- Sales and Operations planning.
The inbound and outbound integrations with SAP S/4HANA ensures seamless integration with other functional areas, such as sales. Businesses gain improved visibility to the upstream and downstream business value chains and can visualize the entire supply chain network. The preconfigured solution aligns demand and supply plans with financial targets and key performance indicators.
Related Reading: Seamlessly migrate to S/4HANA with these tools and methodologies
The healthcare industry is under pressure to innovate while keeping up with regulations. Preconfigured solutions automate regulatory concerns and compliance. Ready-to-run process models and scenarios enforce standardization with tight quality controls. It improves efficiency in research and development. Accelerators support rapid design and implementation.
The most popular modules of SAP’s preconfigured solutions in healthcare are meant for:
- Research and development
- Quality and traceability
- Logistics and transport
- Purchases and provisioning
- Marketing and commercial
4. Sales and Marketing
SAP preconfigured solutions infuse efficiency to customer-facing functions and increase customer satisfaction. Its most popular implementations in the sales and marketing domain include:
- Predicting customer demand based on real-time data.
- Tracking sales history.
- Automating sales operations. The solution tracks all processes, from ordering of raw materials till the delivery, and takes care of auditing, notifications, and reporting.
5. Financial Services
The SAP Model Company solution for Financial Services offers a ready-to-run, comprehensive solution to support the core financial processes, including:
- General accounting
- Cash and treasury functions
- Planning and forecasting
These preconfigured solutions come with relevant business content for a specific use-case, accelerator, and enablement service. These solutions enable gap analysis, address resource bottlenecks, and support lean implementations.
Today’s enterprises seek efficiency improvements and cost savings without compromising quality. Fingent uses SAP to build pre-configured solutions that enable enterprises to realize such goals. Implementing these custom-built pre-configured solutions helps you transform your processes across various business areas and improve your customer relationships.
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How Logistics Companies Can Gain Competitive Advantage with Customized Software Solutions?
Fluctuating consumer demands, increasing client requirements, and complex business models are posing critical challenges for logistics companies today. According to predictions made earlier this year, two major drawbacks are to be witnessed in the industry.
With drastic changes hovering over the logistics industry, the players are bound to stay equipped with the emerging technology trends, or they might get caught off guard. While its turning imperative for logistics companies to transform with smarter technologies, the question of whether to choose a custom software or an off-the-shelf package still lingers in many minds.
Why Choosing Customized Solutions Over Packaged Software Considered Profitable In Logistics?
Purchasing an off-the-shelf software would sound comparatively simple, stress-free and time-effective. But in the long run, it’s always a custom-built solution that pays off.
Most packaged logistics software, although sophisticated and deployed of disruptive technologies, pose standard solutions for the industry as a whole. Of course, they solve the major supply chain hassles. But with every business, possessing unique procedures, workflows, and objectives, “not everyone fits the same mold”.
So what happens when you choose a packaged software solution for your logistics business?
1. A packaged software often comes with hordes of features. This sure sounds exciting at the beginning. But when you have to pay for more than you use, it sure isn’t a happy moment! Off-the-shelf software solutions are often crafted considering the large players of the industry. Their features focus on resolving the common challenges faced by these companies.
However, in a complex industry like logistics, it’s not always necessary for every company to face the same kind of issue. Hence, with packaged software being available as a whole for a single price, businesses usually end up wasting money on features they do not need.
2. Off-the-shelf logistics software utilizes the latest and advanced technologies to cater to the complexities of an industry. But however, at times these sophisticated technologies complexes situations even further. For companies with basic knowledge on latest technologies, would definitely find it difficult to carry out operations successfully with a sophisticated system.
Moreover, they would have to spend extra time and money on training staff, which is not reasonable in a highly competitive industry like logistics. As mentioned before, with plenty of features, packaged solutions often prove to be less user-friendly and more complicated.
3. Although packaged solutions solve a list of logistics hurdles, their features might not provide a complete automated solution. You might find a good Transportation Management System (TMS) that enables real-time tracking and automated reporting, but you might still have to communicate with your customers, and assigned drivers manually.
Also, an efficient packaged TMS system might have an integrated warehousing management system, but might not facilitate an appropriate billing system, leaving the need to adopt alternate transaction processing systems. Hence, in a nutshell, complete automation is often unattainable with packaged software solutions.
4. The most eminent reason to not opt for a packaged solution is that they are rigid. There is hardly any packaged software company that allows customization. It’s not only rare to find a packaged software that caters to all your business-specific needs, but it also proves to be non-scalable in the long run.
Growth in your business and changes in the market will bring about an increase in your technology requirements. This will result in the need for a solution that can be customized with your growing business necessities.
Customized logistics software eliminates all the above-mentioned drawbacks of a packaged solution. Plus, it always comes with continuous technical assistance to simplify the technology transition in your company.
Let’s take a quick look at how a customized Transportation Management System can help you battle logistics challenges better.
How A Customized TMS Can Enhance Your Supply Chain Efficiency?
Investing in a customized TMS can enable you to create an Uber-like platform for your logistics business. Integrating the latest in web and mobile application solutions, you can create a platform that completely streamlines your driver, client, and cash-flow management.
Enabling centralized data management, transparent billing, delivery match capabilities, along with real-time monitoring and customer insights capturing; a customized software solution can be framed to automate your entire end-to-end logistics operations.
A custom-built mobile application can further enhance productivity with less paperwork, better transparency, easy communication, and improved customer engagement. Implementing a customized solution would also let you add in innovative features that help you automate critical tasks, improve team collaboration, and increase your overall company efficiencies.
Here is a shortlist of benefits that you can acquire with customized logistic software.
1. A customized software solution gives the advantage of integrating with smarter technologies to simplify the minute challenges faced by the industry. For instance, along with assigning and managing truck drivers, a logistics company also faces difficulties in maintaining and verifying driver documents. Integrating with smart apps like Camscanner can simplify these documentation verification complexities.
2. A logistics company with varying client needs might often find difficulties in choosing apt carriers for a given order. A customized solution gives you the benefit to add in features that simplifies such decision making by suggesting the best available carriers for the orders.
3. Although packaged solutions streamline drivers assignment and management, yet they blackout on some eminent functions that logistics companies struggle to maintain. For example, calculating the detention hours/rates of the drivers are likely the most critical task of a logistics company. Through a customized logistics software you can straighten such bends of the industry.
4. With customized logistics software, a logistic company can embrace a completely streamlined and user-friendly accounting system that generates automated invoices as well as tracks any misleads or accounting errors.
Customized logistics software can simplify your logistics operations more than you can imagine. If you are looking for a tech partner to help you add in these features and more to your logistics software, then you have landed on the right page.
Fingent is one of the leading custom software companies providing advanced and user-friendly web and mobile technology solutions for logistics businesses worldwide. Contact us today to know how our custom software solutions can enhance your business abilities.
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Robotic Process Automation Reflecting The Banking, Insurance & Logistics Industries
Robotic Process Automation is the fastest-growing segment of the global software market. Using this technology, companies can fast-track their digital transformation initiatives. Although RPA is useful in all industries, the biggest adopters of this technology are banks, insurance companies, and logistics. These companies traditionally have numerous legacy systems and choose RPA solutions to enhance or replace manual IT processes. This article discusses how Robotic Process Automation is revolutionizing the banking, insurance, and logistics industries. First, let’s consider what is Robotic Process Automation.
What is Robotic Process Automation?
Robots have fascinated humans for a very long time. From the futuristic robot Maria from the movie Metropolis in 1927 to this day of AI sci-fi, the possibility with robots is a topic of endless discussion. Interestingly, though, this word “robot” in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) does not involve a physical or mechanical robot. Instead, it is a software running on a virtual or physical machine. Aaron Bultman, director of Product at Nintex simplified the expression saying, “RPA is a form of business process automation that allows anyone to define a set of instructions for a robot or ‘bot’ to perform.”
According to Gartner, RPA grew by 63% in 2018 and continues to be one of the fast-growing technologies in many industries! RPA lets companies automate current tasks as if a real person was doing them across systems and applications. It interacts with each system just as a human user would interact. This does not require complex system integration. These functional RPAs are virtual workers and execute rule-based information processes, enhancing efficiency and accuracy. Additionally, it is easy to model and deploy. Let us consider the three specific industries where RPA is most beneficial.
RPA in Banking
The banking industry is completely process-oriented. Every activity is done meticulously to avoid errors in processing. The repetitive nature of the job and the high probability of human error could cause mistakes that might prove very costly. Therefore, in the recent past, leading banking institutions have started using RPA to minimize errors. According to a report by KPMG, RPA will perform almost 75% of the existing offshore jobs, which could save operational cost.
Scalable Benefits of RPA in the Banking Industry
- Mortgage Lending. RPA can enable the banking industry to meet loan quality and cost concerns head-on. Automation of repetitive and time-consuming manual tasks will free up your team to focus on the more important details of loan applications. It speeds up the work, increases revenue. enhances customer experience, reduces operational costs, decreases risk and improves compliance.
- Compliance and Risk Management. It enables the banking industry to automatically integrate and aggregate compliance information into business processes, streamlining the required work while reducing expenses. RPA eliminates the need for manual regulatory monitoring and data collection. It can empower risk management and compliance teams. It enables banking industries to avoid costly fines and damages to reputation. It provides accurate and complete information.
- Customer Service and Support. RPA ensures the longevity and loyalty of your customer relationship and the future of your bank. It helps you engage customers in real-time. It automates customer service activities so the customer is not waiting endlessly. It increases the productivity and efficiency of the team.
Related Reading: Check out these 5 simple hacks on using banking mobile apps safely.
RPA in Insurance
An insurance company receives hundreds of claim requests. Validating each request and handling them is not only a herculean task but also a painstakingly slow manual process. The entire process of the claim takes several days. Because this is a costly and time-consuming process, the company risks losing customers. To prevent further damages, insurance companies are now relying on RPA to help them improve operational excellence and reduce costs.
Scalable Benefits of RPA in the Insurance Industry
- Improves customer service because RPA effectively reduces the turnaround time in resolving customer issues.
- Processes and workflows could be tracked and recorded at each phase. This reduces staff workloads and improves process efficiency.
- Reduces the processing time by 40-80%. This frees up the team to focus on more important activities such as acquiring new clients.
- Reduces errors made during data entry significantly.
- Speeds up and organizes the processing of claims through a systematic underwriting process.
- Based on the demand, intelligent bots can scale up or down, which delivers consistency in service and operational efficiencies.
- Improves audibility and operational risk management due to the accuracy level of RPA.
- The time for the cancellation process could be reduced by one-third.
RPA in Logistics
The logistics industry depends on several processes to facilitate the proper distribution of products, materials, and services from B2B or B2C. The need for an intelligent logistics system increases as the industry along with competition advances every day. Here’s how the RPA can contribute to the logistics industry:
Scalable Benefits of RPA in Logistics.
- Better data management and customer service. Negative experiences and a multitude of errors with logistics providers are causing customers to lose their trust in online shopping. With the benefits of automation and digitalization brought about by RPA, logistics providers no-longer need to rely on huge amounts of paperwork, which was the underlying cause for errors and poor customer service. Logistics companies are enabled to manage real-time monitoring of flow and resources, availability, costs, staffing, transportation, suppliers and so on more efficiently.
- Improved work safety for employees. Through the use of automated machines in unsafe environments and the reduction of repetitive stress in manual tasks, work injury has been dropping steadily with the aid of RPA. This results in savings in terms of injury compensation and loss in reputation. It can also increase productivity, improve employee satisfaction and loyalty, and increase their efficiency.
- Improved efficiency and precision. RPA can help logistics companies easily manage the supply chain processes more efficiently. The anticipatory logistics system helps companies gauge the demand from their customers and adjust their production volume accordingly. It can help in managing and analyzing huge amounts of data within seconds, resulting in fewer human errors, faster deliveries, and fewer errors in delivery.
- Cost reduction. Fewer errors from human decision-making result in cost savings for logistics companies. Also, RPA reduces the need for human workers, which results in fewer paychecks and more profits. Where workers are still needed, it can raise their productivity, margins to a whole new level. It improves customer satisfaction and creates a safer work environment for the workers.
Empower Your Business With RPA
According to Global Market Insights Inc., the RPA market is expected to reach $5 billion by 2024. It is increasing capabilities and improving performance while reducing costs in several industries. Fingent Technologies has been one of the top software companies empowering industries globally with robotic process automation capabilities. Give us a call and let us discuss how we can transform your business with RPA.
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Logistics is a precision business, where success depends on making accurate moves at the right time. A high level of contextual awareness, backed up by highly optimized processes are the essential ingredients of success. Efficiency is the end result, which comes as a result of such heightened levels of workflow optimization, allowing companies to streamline their logistical operations right from its core. Here are five trends logistics managers need to co-opt to their business immediately, for success in a highly competitive and challenging business environment.
Related Reading: Having a clear picture of the challenges involved in logistics management will give you an overall insight into the industry. Read on to know more about it here.
1. Warehouse Majors Invest in Automation in a Big Way
Today’s business has increasingly become fast-paced. Highly demanding customers seek instant gratification on one side, and businesses, in a quest to do more with the finite resources on hand, try to optimize and accelerate their supply chain, on the other side.
All this means not just larger volumes to process, but also a significant increase in the number of issues warehouse and logistics management needs to deal with in a day. Side-by-side, competitive pressures mean wafer-thin margins, leaving warehouses bereft of the luxury of spending more to cater to the increased workload.
The solution to overcoming such challenges is automation.
The single biggest task for warehouse executives is determining fleet deployment, matching fleet deployment with cargo based on loading capacities, fuel consumption, and more. Another critical task is monitoring fleet movement.
Automating these functions, by using the latest software to intelligently route different data sets and data streams improve accuracy, leaving the managers free to focus on other things where their core competencies and interventions would be more productive. Such warehouse automation solutions improve the efficiency, accuracy, and velocity of warehouse operations manifold.
Major logistics players are already adopting warehouse automation in a big way to move things. Amazon’s KIVA robots grab items from shelves in a highly efficient manner, and its yet to be released automated drones will deliver items to addresses within 30 minutes of an Amazon center.
Uber, Waymo and other companies are already undertaking successful test-runs of self-driving vehicles such as cars and trucks, indicating the shape of things to come.
Related Reading: Understand more about how emerging technologies like AI continues to redefine the logistics and supply chain industry here.
2. Logistics Providers Make Better Decisions with Big Data
Big data analytics unlock a wealth of possibilities for enterprises. For logistics companies, insights from big data are invaluable in optimizing routing, identifying perennial bottlenecks in the supply chain, and streamlining the flow of goods and resources at the warehouse.
Real-time traffic, climate, and other data could identify the best route to a destination, factoring in route congestion, diversions, fuel prices, and much more. Predictive analytics help identifies whether the addressee is likely to be at home to sign for the shipment, avoiding repeat visits, and more.
Logistics major UPS saves 10 million gallons of fuel and emits 20,000 tonnes less carbon dioxide, while delivering 350,000 more packages every year, ever since they started to apply big data analytics in their routing.
Several logistics players use big data analytics extensively to improve last mile delivery. The last mile of the supply chain is known for being inefficient, and cost up to 28% of the overall delivery cost of a package. Logistics players may apply big data to unearth patterns at play to optimize delivery routes and strategies and identify the best delivery modes and time for any specific address.
A whopping 98% of 3PLs regard improved data-driven decision making as essential for successful supply chain activities and processes.
Related Case Study: Restructuring of existing processes centered around an enterprise mobility solution has become the need of the hour. Know more about how we helped a logistics company streamline and restructure their processes to facilitate better communication and drastic speed improvements.
3. Omni Channel Logistics Facilitates Smarter Deliveries
Today’s consumer journey typically moves across channels, based on their preferences. The various channels operate independently, and even as businesses try to optimize the experience across the various channels, variation in service levels, pricing, and customer experience, are inevitable.
The omnichannel approach entails convergence of the hitherto separate channels into a single seamless channel, using a central hub to route all movements, and using different channels for delivery, as appropriate. The orchestrated product flow delivers a highly personalized shopping experience. However, delivering a consistent customer experience across different channels is challenging, and makes the omnichannel approach more complex than the multi-channel approach.
Effective knowledge sharing on a real-time basis is critical to the success of the omnichannel approach. A critical requirement towards this end is transparency, to make explicit the status of the inventory and shipment in real time. Significant effort and investments to create cross-channel visibility and establish sound business rules are essential prerequisites, as is a warehouse management system (WMS). Different stakeholders in the ecosystem, such as logistics provider’s, warehouse, and shipping service usually have their own WMS, accessible by the logistics provider through a portal.
4. Making Collaboration Work
The role of robust collaboration can never be understated, especially in today’s supercharged business environment where tasks are complex, speed is of the essence, and any delays can have huge implications, if not lost business. Moreover, the supply chain is now increasingly becoming global, and no single stakeholders can realistically hope to cover all ground. In such a scenario, successful supply chain relationships deliver not just economic conveniences and cost efficiencies, but also the ability to meet customer demands in double-quick time, and realize agility in business operations.
In fact, successful collaboration can make the difference between long-term sustainability of the business and short-run dissolution. As competition increases, supply chain partners are toying with several innovative ways to make collaboration work for mutual benefit. Such innovations may take the form of new products or processes, but needn’t always be big breakthroughs. It could also be innovative combinations of existing tactics, relevant for the specific market.
5. Moving to Service Chains
A supply chain is an ecosystem of people, enterprises, activities, information, and resources, working in a coordinated way to move the product from one stage to the other, from supplier to the customer. However, a well-oiled supply chain, though indispensable, is no longer enough in today’s highly competitive business environment. Businesses are forced to focus on strategic quality management, aimed at re-engineering inefficient work processes and continuous quality improvement of existing processes.
The complexity of the supply chain is in direct proportion to the complexity of the business. The overriding aim of moving to service chains is to reduce such complexities and ensure faster and efficient delivery of services, which would contribute to seamless supply chain operations. Ways to achieve such a state include setting up of a network of strategic centers facilitating same day deliveries, deploying intelligent warehouse automation solutions for forecasting and planning, instituting a comprehensive supply chain technology encompassing all bases, and more.
Doing so requires a sound technical partner to deliver warehouse automation solutions, and other supply chain technology to further supply chain efficiency, crunch big data, and more.
Digital Logistics and Supply Chain Trends [Source:SAP]