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Smart city logistics – one step ahead with advanced urban fulfillment concepts

Urban fulfillment is marked by radical change: industries, retailers and consumers want their orders within a few hours. For logistics providers, this means delivering orders to customers in urban areas quickly, efficiently, and within the specified time frame. An unsolvable conflict? Swisslog understands the requirements of the future and is working on new smart city solutions.

People live where the jobs are. That’s why more than 50 percent of the world’s population has settled in urban centers. Megacities are sprouting up all over the world. Online ordering allows customers to avoid traffic jams and long wait times at the cash register, especially in urban areas.

That is why e-commerce is rapidly advancing in the B2B field. Service technicians use the Internet to procure spare parts. Industrial companies prosper when production needs a less specialized supply part. But speed is of the essence. Only same-day or next-hour delivery offers a competitive edge. Logistics providers have to find the right solutions to the challenges associated with goods delivery in big cities.

To boost efficiency along the entire supply chain means rethinking business models and switching to innovative, data-based technologies and solutions.

Antonio Trioschi, CEO Swisslog

Digitalization promotes and demands new directions in logistics

For some time now, digitalization has been revolutionizing far more than just e-commerce. There is no doubt that digitalization has been one of the biggest disruptive movements in recent decades. Industry 4.0 is transforming business models in entire industries. More and more businesses are starting to produce goods solely on demand and ship them directly to their destinations.

This reduces the cost of logistics for industrial companies that produce goods. At the same time, planning processes need to meet ever more complex requirements. Logistics providers in industry and commerce must be able to precisely forecast their delivery times, routes and costs. This challenge can only be solved through intelligent data analytics.

Traditional push supply chain

Today: different distribution points and long delivery times

Many companies still use the push principle to bring goods to market. Products pass through several intermediate warehouses and distribution centers on their way from the manufacturer to the consumer. 

Tomorrow: from producer to destination in 24 hours

The trend toward demand-driven manufacturing based on the pull principle is turning traditional supply chain concepts upside down. Far fewer items are made to stock. The high-speed procurement route from producer to destination within 24 hours has become a reality. Making this happen requires efficient information flows. 

Innovative thinking and action are needed. Concepts for global goods procurement have to be coupled with the new concepts of smart city logistics. Digitalization is an important driver here. It makes it possible to analyze, plan, control and monitor increasingly complex data streams and product flows.

Smart City Logistics Concept are driving fast Urban Fulfillment
The supply chain will become more dynamic thanks to new smart city logistics concepts such as small urban warehouses or drones.

Logistics providers need to be prepared for drastic changes, especially in urban centers with heavy traffic. What is feasible?

  • Shared warehouses for pre-consolidation of shipments by multiple service providers are being tested with great success on the periphery of urban centers. This allows effective bundling of shipments to recipients in the city center.
  • More compact types of storage will need to be used in central city districts.
  • Delivery taxis, cargo bikes, drones, and robots will figure prominently in urban areas. Fast and flexible delivery services will only be possible using new methods.

In addition, the large number of approaches in existence today will need to be orchestrated. Big data analytics – the evaluation of data from a large number of sources – helps to harmonize existing delivery concepts.

Swisslog offers intelligent logistics

Robots and data-based solutions are Swisslog’s answer to the challenges of tomorrow. We want to help make the dream come true, from production to point-of-use in 24 hours – anywhere in the world.

  • Planning

    Our 3D visualization tool gives you a solid foundation for planning when a change of location becomes necessary on short notice.

  • Picking robots

    Our scalable robotics solutions ensure that no picking order will need to wait longer than necessary for processing – even in the face of ever tighter delivery windows.

  • Data exchange

    We are committed to the efficient exchange of data between you and your partner companies.

  • Forecasting

    We focus on intelligent and forward-looking software systems to bring greater transparency to your supply chain.

The Swisslog contribution to smart city logistics