The future of logistics
Autonomous transport vehicles are already moving through the warehouse today while employees guided by voice systems or data glasses are shown the most efficient picking route. Cobots (collaborative robots), which work hand in hand with people, also show how humans and machines can interact in production and logistics. They all showcasehow rob ots are making their way into logistics. Advanced analytics (AA) and artificial intelligence (AI) processes are key technologies. They are also fundamental for planning and controlling logistics processes while the Internet of things (IoT) creates further opportunities for the comprehensive vertical connection of objects along the entire supply chain.
Opportunities and requirements
More and more companies must therefore consider using these technologies not only with regard to their operational processes, but also the strategic development of their logistics processes. Investing in the digital supply chain should, after all, result in cost savings, improve process quality or support new business models. But what procedures and mechanisms should be used to implement these changes? It is one thing to research the system requirements and the company’s current situation, but it is another to delve into the options for turning an idea into reality.
First things first: Integrative logistics systems are the basic prerequisite for this. The systems should be ready for the integration of technologies such as sensors, image recognition, voice control or assisted reality. Cloud solutions centrally administrate the logistic data in order to be able to forecast and further optimize transport, picking and shipping tasks using the analysis tools. Regular releases need to keep the systems up-to-date, especially in this dynamic environment. Only then is it possible to implement technology expansions to improve processes and increase efficiency. In the end, however, it is not the technologies, but rather the customer benefits, i.e. optimal, flexible and dynamic logistics operations that are essential for success.
It is not a long road
Experienced software partners with a holistic view of technologies and opportunities are often the first contacts for digitization initiatives that can unlock the potential of the digital age. In many cases, however, there is one thing that cannot be done without – which is: Co-creation. Because new business models and innovative solutions also require a holistic view of situations and potential, which must be assessed from a corporate and IT perspective.
Working together for success
The basic idea of co-creation already implies that inconso, customers and innovative companies cut development time through the use of agile concepts and a proven multi-level Stage-Gate framework. Teamwork is strongly encouraged. User stories go through phases defined in great detail – from ideation to concept design and detailing through to the pilot MVP (minimum viable product).
Solution development is carried out by a cross-functional team consisting of the project manager, process experts, technical experts, software developers and other external project participants.
The benefits are obvious: The objectives of the solution idea are clearly communicated, essential deadlines and supplied goods can be traced via the Stage-Gate logic, responsibilities and roles are assigned and the defined Stage-Gate reviews provide a clear overview of the project’s progress.
To the future
Experience has shown that the development of use cases using the process model outlined above provides an excellent introduction to a more comprehensive digitization initiative. Technologies can be evaluated selectively with this procedure. This reduces risks, especially for changed work processes in change management.
What is certain is that constantly changing requirements in logistics create unprecedented challenges that also require special approaches. But the opportunities are just as varied as the challenges.