Digital innovation in logistics warehouses

February 11, 2020 | 142 views

Business Chief takes a look at three leading logistics companies and how they are digitalising their warehouses. With technology evolving at an exponential rate, and the logistics industry needing flexible solutions for its complex operation, we take a closer look at some of the successful deployments of digitalisation within the warehouses of leading logistic companies around the world.

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Eagle Van Lines

At Eagle Van Lines, we know what it means to consistently provide world-class relocation and storage services to our customers while maintaining competitive pricing options. We are able to provide our award-winning service to our customers at such a competitive rate by being an asset-based company.

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FREIGHT

Put Strategy First When Pondering Automation for Your DC

Article | March 21, 2022

The unsurprising investment eagerness of venture capital funds is manifesting in an automation tech glut in the distribution center space. Motivated by enabling trends like labor and land shortages, DCs are amid an automation transformation. Never has defining an automation strategy been more important. There’s no shortage of VC cash available to logistics tech startups With a brightly shining spotlight centered on supply chains for the past two years, it’s no surprise that total funding in logistics startups has seen a dramatic increase – growing at over 70% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate). Logistics technology startups raked in over $25 billion in the first three quarters of 2021. That’s more than half of the total amount raised in the whole of 2020, and the incentives for continuing investment persist. The rise of the of the “micro” DC “Micro” is a relative term. The size of a micro fulfillment center (MFC) can range from 5,000 to 50,000 square feet. Those reduced square footages allow location in dense urban areas, typically within 40 miles of most of their intended customers. In addition, smaller footprints lead to reduced rents compared to a standard customer fulfillment center (CFC), and the proximity to consumers makes for lower final mile delivery costs. It’s no wonder that MFCs accounted for more than half of the logistics real estate leasing activity in the third quarter of 2021. The “urban logistics” trend is fueling demand for these highly automated, smaller locations. Vertical logistics integration grows ever more fashionable among retailers It’s a very “in” thing right now, these acquisitions and partnerships, and they won’t be going out of fashion soon. For example, American Eagle took in Airterra and its parcel optimization tech and third-party logistics (3PL) provider Quiet Logistics. Target started early. They bought Grand Junction, a software platform that helps retailers determine the best delivery method and track carrier performance, in 2017. Their 2020 acquisition of Deliv brought with it same-day delivery routing technology that they’re now applying to their 2021 purchase, on-demand delivery service Shipt. Target uses Delivs’ tech to generate more efficient routes for Shipt. Kroger has partnered with UK’s e-grocery specialist Ocado to build automated CFCs across the US and expand their retail footprint. The first CFC opened last spring in Ohio and their second in Florida later that year. They plan to open 20 CFCs over the next three years. “The proliferation of DC automation solutions and modalities, the rise of MFCs in high-density urban areas, the increasingly automated vertical integration of logistics, and the need to rapidly expand order fulfillment capacity have all, in combination, advanced the need for and application of clearly defined strategies concerning the implementation of automation technology. Do not operate without one.” Vikas Argod, Principal, Supply Chains Operations practice at Chainalytics Coping with shortages in warehouse space and labor availability Third quarter, 2021 US demand for industrial real estate exceeded supply by 41 million square feet. This pushed the national vacancy rate in the fourth quarter down to a record 3.7% in the Cushman & Wakefield US National Industrial MarketBeat report for Q4 2021. Who knows what the record might be when the Q1 2022 report breaks in a few weeks? On the labor side, the December 2021 US unemployment rate was 3.9%, lower than in December 2019 (3.6%) yet reflecting a tighter labor market. Labor force participation rates are at 61.9%, nearly 2% below February 2020 levels, because of lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rising wages and signing bonuses of the past year offer silent testimony to the ongoing constraints in today’s labor market. Both trends will remain with us for the near- and mid-term, making an automation strategy a necessary part of your DC operations as you attempt to mitigate the effects of both. In addition, warehouse labor shortages are most pronounced in markets with high distribution center densities – Greater Memphis, In-land Empire, Allentown, PA, et al.) Building the capability to rapidly open DCs at scale No other factor drives home the need for a coherent DC automation strategy like this one. Let’s explore it with an example. We’ll call this “A Tale of Two Companies.” One jumped on the automation bandwagon without hesitation – not a bad thing – but applied no strategic groundwork. The other is, well, Amazon. Company one responded to increasing demand by creating DCs in their usual, strategically located fashion. However, with automation, the lack of a logical strategy led to adopting “the best that money could buy.” So, while these DCs work fine on their own (most of the time), each employs unique implementations from a variety of vendors, with little to no overlap of methods, capabilities, and management procedures between DCs. It’s functional, but a needlessly complicated hodgepodge. On the other hand, it definitely looks like Amazon has a standardized automation strategy. One that can easily adapt to exploit the individual physical specifications of any space. This makes it simple to arrive and equip it with a standard package of automation solutions. That’s probably how Amazon blanketed the US with over 400 new DCs in just the last two years. They waste no time or money on repeating unnecessary decisions along the way. Now, we all can’t have the resources of an Amazon. However, the rise of on-demand warehousing companies like Stord and Flexe allow organizations to dramatically decrease the cycle time of standing up additional fulfillment capability. Developing an automation strategy will feel familiar. It begins with benchmarking, order profiling, current performance drivers, EBIT targets, and theoretical evaluations of newer technology options. All this leads to the creation of a decision framework for DC automation. The goal here is achieving alignment among the leadership on critical capabilities to focus on. These include rapid fulfillment, labor shortage, capacity constraints, safety challenges, or sustainability. Those that commit to this process will start slowly but finish with a strategy that will underpin thousands of decisions and enable sustained rapid growth. If, in the end, you decide that automation is not right for your operation, that’s a perfectly valid strategy as well. So long as you have a method to evaluate all of your options, and you base your decision on cost-service-sustainability trade-offs, the right strategy for your organization may be no automation at all. There’s no point in chasing shiny robotic objects if automation makes little sense‌. The rise of automation and the multitude of technologies to choose from require the development of a strategic decision framework. Contact us and see how Chainalytics – an NTT DATA company – can be your guide in developing this critical part of your foundation for growth. Our top supply chain talent, enabled by proven, leading-edge digital assets – tools, methods, and content – deliver actionable insights and measurable outcomes to some of today’s largest and most complex supply chains.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

TAKING YOUR WAREHOUSE INVENTORY FURTHER WITH RFID

Article | March 22, 2022

The modern competitive environment requires redesigning of functionality for warehouses to deliver the desired results and sustain their presence in their industry. In this context, a well-defined WMS plays a significant role in perfect performance. At the front of your business, an efficient warehouse is the face of your brand: it is essential for customer satisfaction because it helps ensure quick, accurate shipments. Happy customers mean happy business owners, which make happy staff, which just makes everything better.

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How to Test Major Changes in Your Supply Chain Process

Article | October 16, 2020

Did you know that the return of your supply chain process depends on how your software technology works as well as the efficiency of the people involved in the entire process? However, changes keep taking place, and you might feel clueless as to where your initiative is going. Supply chain testing is done in order to know and mark the various aspects where the supply chain is the weakest. Since data handling is a crucial aspect, managing it becomes even more necessary.

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Trends in Shipping by Vertical: Retail, Wholesale & OEM Shipping for 2020

Article | February 10, 2020

Global trends in shipping continue to evolve in the wake of uncertainty and risk. The recent outbreak of the Coronavirus threatens to undermine use of shipping options that would involve air freight between the U.S. and China, explains Wired. New hazmat regulations are taking effect in 2020. Retailers are trying to stay evergreen and compete with Amazon. The list of risks is endless, and the only way to really succeed will lie in understanding the trends in shipping by vertical and a few key sectors that require vigilance in the coming year.

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Spotlight

Eagle Van Lines

At Eagle Van Lines, we know what it means to consistently provide world-class relocation and storage services to our customers while maintaining competitive pricing options. We are able to provide our award-winning service to our customers at such a competitive rate by being an asset-based company.

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LOGISTICS

DealerOn partners with DRAIVER, an AI Powered Logistics platform with a nationwide on-demand vehicle delivery marketplace of drivers.

DealerOn | March 03, 2022

DealerOn and DRAIVER announced a strategic partnership today that will give dealers a turnkey solution for test drives and vehicle delivery that is fully integrated into the online shopping process through DealerOn's Apex digital retailing tool. The agreement brings together DealerOn, the leader in automotive websites, with DRAIVER, the number one logistics platform, on-demand driver marketplace and vehicle delivery system. The process of moving inventory around is wildly inefficient and costly for dealers, DRAIVER comes to the dealer's rescue by offering a solution that pairs dealers with vetted drivers that can get cars into the hands of car shoppers without the overhead. The direct integration with DealerOn's Apex means it's never been easier for our mutual dealership customers to ensure test drives are quick and easy." DealerOn CEO Ali Amirrezvani. When using Apex to browse a dealership's inventory, customers have a safe and easy way to have any vehicle delivered to them for a test drive. DRAIVER is thrilled to partner with DealerOn, giving us the opportunity to integrate our AI powered vehicle delivery platform combined with our national marketplace of vetted and insured drivers directly with DealerOn, whose new products are poised to be the standard for online retailing will provide our mutual client dealerships the best-in-class tools and services they need to compete in today's digital retail and home delivery marketplace." Anthony Monteiro CRO at DRAIVER About DealerOn DealerOn is the leader in automotive digital marketing, providing dealerships with platforms scientifically engineered to generate more leads than the competition, to crafting a web presence as personal as each individual dealership. DealerOn has extensive partnerships with the biggest names in the industry from Ford to GM and looks forward to a long and fruitful collaboration with DRAIVER.

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FREIGHT

ExFreight Launches Pioneering Digital Air Freight Service

ExFreight | March 03, 2022

ExFreight continues to lead the transportation industry with innovative online technology for shippers and transportation providers. ExFreight's newly launched instant, dynamic air freight rating and carrier booking functionality is a game-changing advancement within the sphere of air freight shipping. This latest release expands the existing digital functionality of ExFreight's instant rating, booking, and map-based tracking platform for trucking, ocean freight, and air freight services. Shippers can now obtain an instant air freight shipping quote rate across multiple carriers with real-time visibility of flight details and available capacity. Options can be sorted by price, transit time, and reliability. Bookings and space can be secured immediately via a direct connection with the respective carrier's air cargo management system along with receipt of space confirmation. This new functionality is the next step in the ongoing evolution of ExFreight's best of breed digital freight system. By applying advanced technology to time sensitive air freight shipping, customers are able to realize supply-chain efficiencies while avoiding antiquated methodologies of traditional freight forwarders. The days of sending email back and forth with a freight forwarder for a singular air freight rate and attempted booking are now over. No other transportation provider within the industry is able to provide instant door to door international air freight rates with multiple carrier and routing options coupled with space confirmations. This is augmented with up-front carrier reliability ratings, carbon emission estimates and the optional addition of cargo insurance. Lastly, shippers are able to login to a central dashboard to access active shipment, carbon footprint, billing, and quote history reporting. On an individual shipment basis, highly detailed information is provided that shows every step of the shipment plan and process throughout the cargo journey. Our existing system functionality has been enhanced once again to provide shippers with a valuable tool to facilitate their supply-chain needs. Utilization of our online system continues to provide a distinct competitive advantage to our customers and partners." CEO Charles Marrale

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LOGISTICS

TRAC INTERMODAL TEAMS WITH ZEBOX TO TRANSFORM TRANSPORTATION AND LOGISTICS

TRAC Intermodal | March 01, 2022

TRAC Intermodal, the largest marine chassis provider in the United States, today announced its new partnership with ZEBOX, the international accelerator and innovation hub for the supply chain, logistics, and Industry 4.0 spaces. Committed to fostering talent and supporting technological innovation, ZEBOX's mission is forging connections between disruptive startups and established industry leaders accelerating sustainable innovation to transform the global supply chain. Working together, TRAC and ZEBOX will create opportunities for high-impact innovation and accelerate the digital transformation of global supply chains. Created in 2018 by Rodolphe Saade, Chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM group, a world leader in shipping and logistics, the ZEBOX network supports startups throughout their development by helping them to rapidly scale and gain exposure in the international community. The industry-leading companies that comprise the ZEBOX network similarly gain important opportunities to collaborate and benefit from the innovations developed by startups in their respective sectors. At ZEBOX, we strongly believe in the power of collaborations between large companies and startups. That's why it's so important to us to build close relationships with corporate partners who are leaders in their field, TRAC has been a pioneer in providing intermodal solutions for nearly half a century. Their leadership, insights, and guidance will add great value not only for startups, but also for the core members of our international network." Charley Dehoney, Vice-President of ZEBOX America. Since our founding, TRAC has set the standard for quality, reliability and innovation in intermodal transportation, Our partnership with ZEBOX provides an invaluable opportunity to help chart the future for our industry and meet supply chain challenges head-on by tapping into some of the brightest young minds, innovative engineering designs, and breakthrough technologies coming out of the startup community." Daniel Walsh, President and CEO at TRAC Intermodal. Launched in Marseille, France, ZEBOX now also operates innovation hubs in the Caribbean area, in Guadeloupe, and in Arlington, Va., at National Landing, the first 5G smart city at scale in the United States and a prime environment for startups on the cutting edge of robotics, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and autonomous mobility. More locations will be soon announced. 55 startups have already been supported by ZEBOX, and the first call for applications dedicated to ZEBOX AMERICA has just been launched. About ZEBOX ZEBOX is a global incubator and accelerator dedicated to fostering innovation by forging compelling collaborations between early-stage startups and corporate stakeholders. Created in 2018 by Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and CEO of CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics, ZEBOX enables the supply chain of the future by focusing on two key segments: Transportation/logistics and Industry 4.0. ZEBOX accelerates digitalization, automation, and sustainability by harnessing new technologies including AI, IoT, Big Data, and robotics. Led by Massimo Magnifico, an expert in startup incubator management, ZEBOX is building a diverse ecosystem bringing together stakeholders including corporate partners, entrepreneurs, early-stage startups, and a wide range of professional services providers. Launched in February 2021, ZEBOX AMERICA is led by Charley Dehoney, a veteran entrepreneur and recognized transportation, supply chain, and logistics technology expert.

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LOGISTICS

DealerOn partners with DRAIVER, an AI Powered Logistics platform with a nationwide on-demand vehicle delivery marketplace of drivers.

DealerOn | March 03, 2022

DealerOn and DRAIVER announced a strategic partnership today that will give dealers a turnkey solution for test drives and vehicle delivery that is fully integrated into the online shopping process through DealerOn's Apex digital retailing tool. The agreement brings together DealerOn, the leader in automotive websites, with DRAIVER, the number one logistics platform, on-demand driver marketplace and vehicle delivery system. The process of moving inventory around is wildly inefficient and costly for dealers, DRAIVER comes to the dealer's rescue by offering a solution that pairs dealers with vetted drivers that can get cars into the hands of car shoppers without the overhead. The direct integration with DealerOn's Apex means it's never been easier for our mutual dealership customers to ensure test drives are quick and easy." DealerOn CEO Ali Amirrezvani. When using Apex to browse a dealership's inventory, customers have a safe and easy way to have any vehicle delivered to them for a test drive. DRAIVER is thrilled to partner with DealerOn, giving us the opportunity to integrate our AI powered vehicle delivery platform combined with our national marketplace of vetted and insured drivers directly with DealerOn, whose new products are poised to be the standard for online retailing will provide our mutual client dealerships the best-in-class tools and services they need to compete in today's digital retail and home delivery marketplace." Anthony Monteiro CRO at DRAIVER About DealerOn DealerOn is the leader in automotive digital marketing, providing dealerships with platforms scientifically engineered to generate more leads than the competition, to crafting a web presence as personal as each individual dealership. DealerOn has extensive partnerships with the biggest names in the industry from Ford to GM and looks forward to a long and fruitful collaboration with DRAIVER.

Read More

FREIGHT

ExFreight Launches Pioneering Digital Air Freight Service

ExFreight | March 03, 2022

ExFreight continues to lead the transportation industry with innovative online technology for shippers and transportation providers. ExFreight's newly launched instant, dynamic air freight rating and carrier booking functionality is a game-changing advancement within the sphere of air freight shipping. This latest release expands the existing digital functionality of ExFreight's instant rating, booking, and map-based tracking platform for trucking, ocean freight, and air freight services. Shippers can now obtain an instant air freight shipping quote rate across multiple carriers with real-time visibility of flight details and available capacity. Options can be sorted by price, transit time, and reliability. Bookings and space can be secured immediately via a direct connection with the respective carrier's air cargo management system along with receipt of space confirmation. This new functionality is the next step in the ongoing evolution of ExFreight's best of breed digital freight system. By applying advanced technology to time sensitive air freight shipping, customers are able to realize supply-chain efficiencies while avoiding antiquated methodologies of traditional freight forwarders. The days of sending email back and forth with a freight forwarder for a singular air freight rate and attempted booking are now over. No other transportation provider within the industry is able to provide instant door to door international air freight rates with multiple carrier and routing options coupled with space confirmations. This is augmented with up-front carrier reliability ratings, carbon emission estimates and the optional addition of cargo insurance. Lastly, shippers are able to login to a central dashboard to access active shipment, carbon footprint, billing, and quote history reporting. On an individual shipment basis, highly detailed information is provided that shows every step of the shipment plan and process throughout the cargo journey. Our existing system functionality has been enhanced once again to provide shippers with a valuable tool to facilitate their supply-chain needs. Utilization of our online system continues to provide a distinct competitive advantage to our customers and partners." CEO Charles Marrale

Read More

LOGISTICS

TRAC INTERMODAL TEAMS WITH ZEBOX TO TRANSFORM TRANSPORTATION AND LOGISTICS

TRAC Intermodal | March 01, 2022

TRAC Intermodal, the largest marine chassis provider in the United States, today announced its new partnership with ZEBOX, the international accelerator and innovation hub for the supply chain, logistics, and Industry 4.0 spaces. Committed to fostering talent and supporting technological innovation, ZEBOX's mission is forging connections between disruptive startups and established industry leaders accelerating sustainable innovation to transform the global supply chain. Working together, TRAC and ZEBOX will create opportunities for high-impact innovation and accelerate the digital transformation of global supply chains. Created in 2018 by Rodolphe Saade, Chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM group, a world leader in shipping and logistics, the ZEBOX network supports startups throughout their development by helping them to rapidly scale and gain exposure in the international community. The industry-leading companies that comprise the ZEBOX network similarly gain important opportunities to collaborate and benefit from the innovations developed by startups in their respective sectors. At ZEBOX, we strongly believe in the power of collaborations between large companies and startups. That's why it's so important to us to build close relationships with corporate partners who are leaders in their field, TRAC has been a pioneer in providing intermodal solutions for nearly half a century. Their leadership, insights, and guidance will add great value not only for startups, but also for the core members of our international network." Charley Dehoney, Vice-President of ZEBOX America. Since our founding, TRAC has set the standard for quality, reliability and innovation in intermodal transportation, Our partnership with ZEBOX provides an invaluable opportunity to help chart the future for our industry and meet supply chain challenges head-on by tapping into some of the brightest young minds, innovative engineering designs, and breakthrough technologies coming out of the startup community." Daniel Walsh, President and CEO at TRAC Intermodal. Launched in Marseille, France, ZEBOX now also operates innovation hubs in the Caribbean area, in Guadeloupe, and in Arlington, Va., at National Landing, the first 5G smart city at scale in the United States and a prime environment for startups on the cutting edge of robotics, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and autonomous mobility. More locations will be soon announced. 55 startups have already been supported by ZEBOX, and the first call for applications dedicated to ZEBOX AMERICA has just been launched. About ZEBOX ZEBOX is a global incubator and accelerator dedicated to fostering innovation by forging compelling collaborations between early-stage startups and corporate stakeholders. Created in 2018 by Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and CEO of CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics, ZEBOX enables the supply chain of the future by focusing on two key segments: Transportation/logistics and Industry 4.0. ZEBOX accelerates digitalization, automation, and sustainability by harnessing new technologies including AI, IoT, Big Data, and robotics. Led by Massimo Magnifico, an expert in startup incubator management, ZEBOX is building a diverse ecosystem bringing together stakeholders including corporate partners, entrepreneurs, early-stage startups, and a wide range of professional services providers. Launched in February 2021, ZEBOX AMERICA is led by Charley Dehoney, a veteran entrepreneur and recognized transportation, supply chain, and logistics technology expert.

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