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Smart logistics: How smart is the logistics industry, really?

The need for adaptable logistics systems is increasing: As online retailers promise bigger and better things, consumers’ expectations grow accordingly.

How Smart is the Logistics Industry

For example, they’ve come to expect faster delivery and better service. As a result, supply chain organizations need to better orchestrate and synchronize supply chain processes and activities (e.g. customer service, warehousing, transportation and manufacturing). Logistics is increasingly becoming a crucial competitive factor in nearly all industries.

These developments, together with the general digitization wave, need to be addressed by the logistics industry. To this end, smart logistics is usually considered the magic formula that promises the necessary flexibility of all logistics processes and the integrated logistics IT systems with which to control them intelligently. But what does this world of smart logistics look like? How can you reach it? And how smart is the logistics industry really?

On the Smart Logistics Trail

Smart logistics starts with the use of essential technologies:

It links IT systems of the supply chain across processes and beyond company premises. The use of cloud services for demand-based and flexible provision of IT services via the Internet has proven very successful. The Internet of things (IoT) provides additional options for vertical supply chain networks. This makes it possible to use and integrate a wide variety of sensors along the supply chain. 

Advanced analytics (AA) and artificial intelligence (AI) are the basis for making decisions regarding the core processes of logistics handling. Intelligent algorithms are used to detect patterns in supply chain data. They quickly find the most important factors influencing the success of a delivery network and continue learning.

This enables you to enter the logistics fast lane.

Smart Logistics in the Fast Lane

Smart logistics promises amazing things: Artificial intelligence (AI) that provides information on which to base decisions that make the warehouse significantly more efficient. Connected, AI-controlled robots that contribute to increased productivity and greatly reduce picking times. Real-time communication that helps employees respond quickly to changes or issues in order to improve processing and significantly increase the quality of services. In addition, AI technologies promise lower stock levels and faster processing times.

How can these promises be fulfilled?

Conclusion: The logistics industry is already smarter than expected

Even though we still have a long way to go to reach the true world of smart logistics, the logistics industry is smarter than you might think at first glance. Currently, developments in smart logistics are being analyzed, tested and integrated into supply chains. It's never too late to get started, but perhaps you should take small steps at first. Co-creation is a good way to minimize risks and learn from the experiences of others. 

Körber Supply Chain has been active in the areas of digitization and artificial intelligence for several years. Our customers benefit from our use cases for artificial intelligence in logistics. Do you want your warehouse to become smarter, too? If you do, contact us! 

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