In our last blog we looked at the reasons why the way in which we select, order and receive our goods is undergoing a radical change.
Here are 10 ways in which technology is being used to drive down costs and environmental impact, at the same time as meeting our tougher demands.
Some of these changes may sound far-fetched, but they are all being used or trialled right now.
Selecting and ordering
1. Most of us have probably already ordered direct via an app on smart phones and home computers.
Yesterday I ordered a pair of curtains on line. They were delivered free in under 24 hours. I could not have picked them up from my nearest store any quicker, or cheaper!
2. Objects or goods can also directly order a service or spare parts, if they are part of the Internet of Things (IoT).
My new British Gas boiler is supplied with Boiler IQ. It’s feasible that the first I know about a drop in performance is when the engineer phones me to arrange the repair.
The days of ERP systems scheduling weekly buckets (in a linear fashion), will be replaced by real time integrated systems that share demand, inventory and capacity information.
4. Predictive analytics (Big Data) is increasingly deployed to predict consumer’s requirements. The aim is to make exactly what is required, as close as possible to the time it is needed.
Storage and picking
5. Intelligent storage and distribution space allocation software is being used to improve accuracy and control of inventory.
6. The use of indoor GPS systems is allowing FLT drivers to increase pallets stored or retrieved by 30% per hour.
7. Operators with wearable tech will be able to work more quickly than using hand held devices.
8. Collaborative robots with “vision” are being developed to work alongside human pickers in warehouses.
9. Smartphone apps and GPS, support real time integrated delivery tracking from despatch right through third party delivery companies and to the customer.
I knew where my curtain delivery was at all times.
10. The growth in delivery options are, in my opinion, the most eye opening changes. We have:
- Uberized trucking. Mobile apps can help you find a faster, cheaper carrier. Equally they allow drivers to maximise payload, reduce fuel bills and ease congestion.
- Autonomous delivery vehicles, due in London at the end of 2016, and drones are already in use. Both need less infrastructure than traditional manned vehicles helping ease congestion.
- Lifestyle couriers, like the lady who dropped off my curtains. There are now tens of thousands of self-employed couriers in the UK alone, usually working hours to suit themselves for 3rd party carriers.
- Thousands of parcel shops and mini locker systems are also used by these carriers. They offer greater convenience and often cheaper services for many consumers wanting to return or receive goods.
Many of these systems are simple to install and use. They are increasingly affordable, scalable and can be added to existing equipment and operations.
This means your local craft brewer can access customers as readily as any large manufacturer.
If you want assistance on remapping your business, bear these developments in mind or contact the team.