Edward Burant of Cleveland has worked in logistics for over 30 years. As a logistics consultant, he assists businesses on reducing their shipping costs, fuel tax reporting, maintenance, repairs, and fuel programs. In the following article, Edward Burant discusses the role of technology in third party logistics, and how automation is revolutionizing the industry.
In the past year or so, more and more businesses have turned to AI to help grow their business. But if smaller companies can benefit from Artificial Intelligence and automation, even more so can logistics service providers.
But what can AI and automation provide to logistics? And how does it improve business operations?
In this article, Edward Burant of Cleveland discusses the role of AI and automation in warehouse operations – and how it can benefit third-party logistics companies, their employees, and customers.
Edward Burant on Automation Innovations – Transforming Storage Buildings into Smart Warehouses
Third-party logistics companies may have a reputation for utilizing high-tech innovations, but ResearchAndMarkets.com reported in 2021 that more than 80% of warehouses don’t have automation systems.
However, in the same research, they forecasted that the warehouse automation market will grow by over 38% – and it seems like people are witnessing the industry’s golden age.
But what are the reasons for the sudden demand for automation?
Efficiency in Operations
Warehouse workers deserve recognition – working in a busy and fast-paced environment can be exhausting.
However, with AI and automation, they need not work as hard as they typically do – since AI and robotics can aid them or automate some of the fulfillment process tasks. Such as:
- Analyze fulfillment invoices.
- Stock and restock inventories.
- Picking and packing.
Edward Burant says that with AI, 3PL companies can opt to automate the fulfillment process – by having AI-powered drones and robots locate each item, efficiently collect them (reducing the time for a person to go back and forth between the aisles) and pick and package the orders.
Moreover, if more 3PL companies utilize AI and robotics, they can protect their employees more.
Aids in a Safer Warehouse
According to the Department of Labor, the average incidence of warehouse injuries is 5.5 per 100 employees – these can be minor slips, falls, or pulling a muscle when reaching for the shelf.
Unfortunately, in some instances, these injuries can cause long-term musculoskeletal problems or even death, especially from forklift accidents.
Edward Burant of Cleveland notes that no third-party logistics company owner would want anyone, especially from their workforce, to experience such.
Fortunately, AI can detect which areas in the warehouse are prone to causing injuries – be it a faulty pallet or overstacked product supplies.
However, employees aren’t the only ones benefiting from warehouse AI and automation.
Improved Business Relationships
Most warehouses can smoothly function as is. However, what can set them apart from others is through AI’s predictive analytics.
- How often do consumers order the item?
- How long does the inventory typically last?
- When do consumers commonly order the item?
Edward Burant explains that Artificial Intelligence can calculate the trend and demand of each item, allowing 3PL companies to manage their inventory with minimal to no errors. In addition, AI can also provide third-party service providers with information on when to order more of the products from the businesses.
Moreover, business owners can also have better insight into their patrons’ demands, giving them more time to prepare their supplies.
Edward Burant of Cleveland says that this beneficial transaction can help 3PL companies retain and gain more customers – due to the consistent availability of the products and the efficiency in fulfillment processes.
Furthermore, AI can provide improved security and surveillance in third-party logistics warehouses.
Increased Security and Surveillance Systems
Apart from actual items, storing data is also paramount in 3PL companies.
Edward Burant of Cleveland envisions the substantial workforce required to systematically navigate a warehouse spanning tens of thousands of square feet, manually inspecting each stored item.
Therefore, third-party logistics providers need to safeguard this information from hackers. Furthermore, trespassers, burglars, and looters can break into the facility and/or steal items.
To prevent this, 3PL companies can use AI-powered cybersecurity tools that send automated alerts to warehouse personnel whenever there is suspicious activity in the area – or provide real-time reports when there are security breaches on the company’s internet and digital platforms.
Edward Burant says that regular surveillance cameras can provide businesses with these features. But AI can also do it while simultaneously minimizing the labor and safety threats it can inflict on security personnel and warehouse workers.
Most industries can benefit from Artificial Intelligence, especially in the logistics industry – given that E-Commerce is rapidly becoming the primary mode of shopping.
But along with online shopping, AI is also immensely helping people utilize technology to their benefit – whether the individual be the business owner, logistics service provider, or end-user.
Edward Burant of Cleveland says to expect many more AI-powered warehouse features soon. After all, AI has only grown in popularity in recent years.