The logistics industry had to pivot quickly when the pandemic disrupted supplies and staffing, and e-commerce exploded in almost every industry. Consumers’ shift to online purchasing exposed vulnerabilities in supply chains that many companies are still struggling to address.
Hopefully, there will not be any such extreme supply chain disruptors in 2022, but the emphasis on agility will remain. Companies are determined to build resiliency throughout their warehousing and supply chain systems.
Digitization of the entire supply chain will continue to evolve. Companies will continue to generate and analyze data to make decisions, but the data will eventually analyze itself. Specifically, machines that generate data will communicate to other machines with their own data and implement responses without human intervention.
These developments enable dynamic operating strategies to harness efficiencies throughout the supply chain. Companies that cannot use the Internet of Things and Advanced Artificial Intelligence to manage their supply chains will be at an increasing disadvantage as competitors deliver superior efficiency and a customizable customer experience.
Accordingly, partnerships with 3PL providers offering tailored solutions that include access to innovative technologies are an increasingly attractive option. Companies could find that partnering with a 3PL provider like Brown West Logistics allows them to form the strongest possible talent throughout their supply chain.
Labor shortages, a desire for increased efficiency, and ongoing concerns for worker safety will drive increased automation, especially in warehouses. Automating dangerous or repetitive tasks allows companies to provide their workers with a more engaging experience, thereby improving retention efforts.
Efficiency increases when warehouses and other segments of the supply chain use automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to handle tasks that carry a risk of worker fatigue and injury. Many AGVs can program themselves through machine learning, work at a predictable and consistent speed, and can operate when the facility is unstaffed, if desired.
Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, are also becoming popular in warehouses. Drones can conduct inventory counts and transport items within the facility without human direction. Their software can integrate with existing WMS technology, so integrating drones into your warehouse operations doesn’t need to be expensive.
A warehouse owner’s ability to visualize all elements of a supply chain is critical. Increased digitization can enable you to map items as they move from component to product to customer.
Although complete digitization is out of reach for many companies, teaming up with a 3PL provider like Brown West Logistics could help integrate your business into the realm of optimized digitalization. Working together and taking advantage of strategic partnerships, your warehouse can incorporate digital technology where it makes the most sense in the short-term, with an eye toward complete digitization over the long term.
Small to mid-size companies are vulnerable to sudden disruptions in the market, but they can protect themselves by partnering with a 3PL provider like Brown West Logistics that can offer access to technologies and systems which might otherwise be beyond their reach. Our logistics experts can effectively and efficiently respond to rapid changes in conditions, so you can focus on serving your customers.