Today’s solutions for todays logistics and warehouses: part II
Lowering operational expenditure is a timeless and relentless effort. Often alongside enhancing productivity it feeds into the betterment of the bottom line. Some OpEx reduction methods are common across all industries. But for a logistics company, or a company with a sizeable logistics department, there are specific challenges. And today those are met with appropriately specific and often technologically innovative solutions.
When it comes to cutting operational costs, logistics and warehousing share some of the challenges with other industries or departments. This can make some of the current go-to solutions seem more or less similar. Others differ or need a more particular approach.
Let’s take a closer look at some of those more logistics-specific focal points, difficulties and the new ways technological innovation have recently proven to be of substantial assistance.
Automation aside, labor force remains a key factor
Your workforce often represents the biggest controllable expenditure. Logistics has a long and strong track-record of automation. It continues to be an early adopter of new and improved ways in how robotics, AI and IoT solutions can free workers from repetitive/hazardous/straining tasks. Or allowing them advancement into new, more attractive assignments and opportunities.
That’s why even a sector or department with a strong potential for automation needs to also focus on worker retention. Hiring a replacement is almost always more expensive than keeping existing workers. And that’s without taking into consideration any loss of productivity while newcomers are getting up to speed with the job, their team, machinery, etc.
It’s also worth knowing that a recent Goldman Sachs research paper put ‘Transportation and Material Moving’ as one of the industries that will be the least affected by (further) AI automatization.
Despite meaningful strides towards the end-goal of zero accidents, we’re not there yet. So every opportunity of improving on (worker) safety should be thoroughly explored. Like any investments, safety might come with a cost, but one that is dramatically outweighed by the way accidents will hurt your productivity. Just as it will your OpEx, bottom line, reputation and recruitment pool.
New technologies are increasingly making a notable mark in accident prevention, safety coaching, risk mitigation and even hazard prediction in logistics environments. Often these innovative tech-solutions come at a low cost and often with additional features for lowering OpEx. For example a digital solution that ensures safer forklift driver behavior, will also provide lower fuel and maintenance costs.
Safeguarding the inventory
Stock damage, wastage and to a lesser degree theft can seriously harm an inventory, conceivably with expensive consequences. From disrupted supply/production chains to loss of business. This is where new technologies in accident prevention, authentication, control of work, zone management and an ever wider range of solutions come into play. Either directly or indirectly helping you to lower your TCO.
Saving on energy
We’re not talking about the systems that are (or should be) in place to reduce your Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. Although, that eco-driving example above proves new technologies can offer significant benefits in that area. These technologies, whether or not incorporating AI, also affect the energy column in your OpEx. They to this in a variety of ways. Such as optimized workflows, smart (energy-saving) lighting and climate control solutions, shorter and more efficient routes for your (internal) vehicle fleet, … .
Lowering OpEx through smart maintenance
A forklift or other vehicle that tells you where your logistics site needs a pothole filled. That alerts you of workers playing fast and loose with loading dock leveler/lift protocols. Where there’s a rate of impacts worth looking into. Being able to collect and analyze this data not only makes for a safer place to work, but also significantly reduces wear and tear on infrastructure and vehicles (and drivers’ backs, joints, … ). Resulting in a lower need for maintenance and a compellingly longer lifespan of that infrastructure and fleet.
Want to get into specific new yet proven solutions for lowering OpEx in logistics? Then make sure to check out part III.