A carefully planned combination of automation and more conventional logistics processes is the ideal supply chain solution, according to Dermot Connolly, Director Business Development Sales & Marketing, DSV Solutions Ireland.
"This is the best way to ensure that clients’ supply chains have maximum flexibility – and maximum cost efficiency," he told delegates at the End2End Supply Chain conference in Dublin on 17 June.
There are many opportunities for automation, from fully automated storage and retrieval, to pick by voice / light, to robotics and drones, and many require significant investment. "This means, in order to follow sound business practices, we need to see real commitment from our clients," Mr Connolly explained.
"Longer-term partnerships will allow third party logistics providers such as DSV Solutions to make the investment in highly sophisticated automated processes that will help drive efficiencies through the supply chain."
DSV Solutions in Ireland has been using pick by voice system in a warehouse operated for a key client for five years. It has resulted in a 16% increase in productivity as well as a significant reduction in reverse logistics.
"By ‘getting it right first time’ we obviously reduce costs but, just as importantly, we help our clients keep – and win – customers," says Mr Connolly. "We continue to work closely with our clients to develop the most flexible and efficient supply chains."
DSV Solutions in the Netherlands is monitoring a separate pilot operation with Google glasses. Preliminary results have shown that this system delivers a 14% efficiency improvement and 12% pick error improvement.
"Automation alone is not the answer, but combined with state of the art logistics processes, as well as professional and on-going training for all staff, it can help us deliver the most cost efficient and flexible supply chains," Mr Connolly concludes.
DSV Solutions is part of the DSV Group, the sixth largest logistics provider in the world. With the other divisions, DSV Road and DSV Air & Sea, it employs 22,000 employees in more than 70 countries and offers global supply chain services.
In Ireland, DSV Solutions offers warehousing and logistics solutions for clients in a wide range of market sector including fashion, white goods, automotive, healthcare and DIY.