Whilst eCommerce is making the life of consumers extremely convenient, the demand to deliver orders at a lightning pace has brought many challenges in the life of retailers and logistics providers. The rising unpredictability and complexities in shopping trends have impacted the entire supply chain in multiple ways. Retailers, 3PLs and logistic players now need more than traditional technology solutions that could support the highly dynamic logistics scenarios.
Today’s retail and logistics managers are expected to respond to any new kind of changes not only quickly but also in a cost-effective manner. Some challenges they face to do so include-
- Rising customer expectation & unpredictable volume growth: Consumers nowadays expect and even enjoy options like same or next day, or even 4-hours express delivery. A rapid increase in eCommerce parcel volumes is allowing warehouse & logistics managers little time to anticipate, plan and adapt to the volume growth.
- Volatile demand and seasonal peaks: The complexity is further amplifying in the supply chain due to multiple seasonal peaks and promotional volatility in parcel volumes. It is resulting in missed deliveries and dissatisfied consumers.
- Changing sortation footprint: As retailers try to keep their logistics footprint tuned with the rapidly changing supply chain landscape, they will need to switch or expand locations more to continually optimize their network and meet other warehousing objectives.
- Speed-to-market: While it’s economical to transport standard bulk orders across the globe, the cost of operation tends to shoot up to fulfill express online deliveries every day.
Sortation is considered as the heart of the order fulfillment process and shippers largely depend on their sorting systems to rapidly & accurately deliver goods. To address current as well as future challenges, these sortation systems should be well prepared so that they can:
- Handle volatile peaks
- Bring agility to relocate or redesign layouts using mobile, portable systems
- Flexibly scale and adapt to changing external as well as internal environmental or business needs
- Optimize supply chain mechanism to exploit market readiness strategy
Flexible automation is the future for sortation
Businesses in post & parcel, retailers and 3PLs react to the market challenges by employing scarce and expensive manpower or invest in elaborate fixed infrastructure-based sortation automation. However, traditional rigid automation fails to adapt to dynamic scenarios like increasing throughput, increasing sort locations, changing warehouse layouts, or shifting warehouse locations. Even after going through the rigors of a long drawn installation project, the peace of mind is not guaranteed with such systems.
Designed to work on today challenges and be ready for the future, players now respite in AI-powered flexible and scalable “mobile sortation robots” to address the demand peaks and unpredictable scenarios. Advanced technologies like robotics and AI are helping to strike a balance between customers’ delivery expectations and sustaining profitability.
The GreyOrange Flexo is one classic example in this category. It is a modular & mobile sortation system that can with minimal additional infrastructure can provide the fluidity and capability to scale, operate 24x7, reduce cost per shipment and meet evolving business needs. Flexo gives retail ecosystem the flexibility to buy a solution for tomorrow with today’s knowledge.
To know more about flexible sortation and how Flexo robots can solve the sortation problems of today and tomorrow, please feel free to write to us