March 24, 2016

If you’re anyone other than Amazon, it might feel like you’re constantly behind the curve of advances in fulfillment technology. Whether it’s robots and drones or Big Data and cloud computing, the rapid evolution of supply chain tech makes it tough to keep up with your reading on the subject, let alone actually taking action that could benefit your business.

Thankfully, not every headline has to mean a new headache for your fulfillment team. Continue reading Fulfillment Technology: How Sophisticated Should Your Tech Get?

April 7, 2015

Is it really April already? Yes, the seasons have changed and one-third of the year has already rushed by. If you haven’t yet planned an annual review of your operations, spring is a great time to do so.

Even as we’re busy preparing a must-attend webinar for all of you who want to keep customers coming back for your outstanding order fulfillment, we’ve still compiled the most important logistics industry stories from the past month, in case you missed them. Continue reading Logistics Industry Review: March 2015

July 23, 2014
Drone sunset
Image Credit: Gregory Younger

It’s been a while since we dealt with the potential for delivery drones here, and even when we did it was with tongue firmly in cheek.

The phenomenon is rarely far from the headlines, however, and more logistics professionals are beginning to analyze the effect that drone technology could have, from internal warehouse management to external distribution.

While the latter has been widely derided as a pipe dream, at least in the near term, due to FAA restrictions and very real concerns over safety, the former may be closer than you think.

The use of drones to improve internal storage operations isn’t such a leap when we consider the existing automation within warehouses and along assembly lines. In fact Amazon, the pioneer of publicity-seeking drones late last year, already has drones at work within its own warehouse infrastructure.

Although we tend to look to the skies when we consider drone technology, that’s more media hype than reality. In some cases flying drones will have uses within the warehouse environment, but the most immediate applications will be for ground drones that can connect up routine tasks.

Some of the suggested areas for drone use in internal supply chain operations include:

  • Simple A to B product relocation for automated assembly processes,
  • Automatic replenishment of stocked items when an inventory system flags low levels,
  • Integrated hybrid human-drone packaging lines, in which drones fill the repetitive but tedious tasks that have high rates of human rework,
  • Light item lifting to high shelving units typically accessed by human-operated lift tools,
  • Performing functional tasks during off-peak hours, when skeleton crews are running and employee costs would run into higher rates of pay,
  • Automated palletizing systems where product dimensions are standard and packing routines do not vary.

 

Delivery drones that serve external customers will continue to hog the headlines, but the real advantage for supply chain professionals is likely to come from applying the technology internally.

Keep this in mind as you consider adjustments to your warehouse operations in the weeks and months to come!

 

December 3, 2013

Rarely a company to fly far from the news, Amazon hit the headlines again over the weekend, this time with the revelation of Prime Air delivery drones to CBS’s ’60 Minutes’.

Setting aside the (purely coincidental, of course) publicity received just in time for a competitive Cyber Monday and the sheer weight of regulatory/privacy/Skynet concerns, the story has set the social web alight with alternative ideas for delivery drones. Continue reading Five Fantastic Alternatives to Amazon’s Delivery Drones