Purpose-Driven Logistics

A new generation of socially aware consumers are engaging with brands that share their values. But how can this be injected into the supply chain?

July 15, 2020

Harnessing the power of values 

As markets become more competitive, companies look for new ways to stand out from the crowd. “Purpose” may be the answer. 

 

The B2B Purpose Paradox report defines purpose as “a company’s reason for being beyond profits that guides its business growth and impact on society.” And according to a survey by PwC, 79% of business leaders believe that an organization’s purpose is central to business success. It is no secret that businesses that strive to make the world better are attractive to customers, employees, and investors.

 

The challenge is harnessing this power without appearing to be exploiting consumer interests for financial gain. The supply chain is essential in enabling a purpose-driven business strategy backed up by meaningful action.

Creating a purpose-driven supply chain

The supply chain is how organizations connect to other businesses and their customers. Without a supply chain, companies would have no way of turning raw materials into a finished product and delivering it to customers. That makes the supply chain an ideal platform for purpose. A small shift in priorities could ripple across multiple organizations and be felt directly by customers. 

 

So, what does a value-driven supply chain look like? Some of the goals of a business fueled by purpose include efficiency, cost reduction, customer satisfaction, sustainability, optimization, and effectiveness. These are the same goals we hear when we talk about introducing data-driven technology into a warehouse operation. By introducing these technologies into the warehouse you have the opportunity to make relatively small changes that create a “network effect” of benefits for the string of businesses connected to the supply chain. Here’s how to get started.

1. Eliminate unproductive practices 

Picking is often considered the most labor-intensive process in intralogistics. It takes valuable time for individual order lines to become a complete order. With tasks such as walking the length of the warehouse to find the correct items; ensuring they are counted, separated, checked and labelled; as well as documenting each pick using a scanner or touchscreen monitor, it’s clear that manual picking is much more than just grabbing something out of a bin.

Instead of having the people move to the goods, consider investing in a highly efficient goods-to-person solution. By letting people do what they are good at, and having machines take care of the rest, laborers experience much less fatigue over the course of a shift. These solutions focus on the health of people, protecting them from the risk of injury. In addition, it is a waste to have people running around when machines can do it faster and more accurately. Especially when a healthier workforce equals a happier one.  

2. Cut back on emissions

Keeping your operations as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible plays a huge part in a purpose-driven logistics operation. And this doesn’t have to be difficult for those looking to take advantage of Swisslog’s future ready automation solutions. Swisslog’s GreenLog initiative means energy optimizations throughout your entire system, including reduction of waste and unnecessary transports. 

Warehouse automation has benefited in recent years from advances such as light-weighting that doesn’t compromise performance and regenerative energy technology that captures heat and transforms it into energy. 

In addition, future-ready, modular automation solutions give you the flexibility to deploy the exact level of automation required based on current demand and easily expand when necessary, ensuring energy is not being consumed by idle equipment. That is why Swisslog engineers products to be as light as possible, so they take less energy to run. GreenLog also means that heat created from the system motors are transformed to power other aspects of the warehouse. This breaking power is an eco-solution that ensures every bit of energy within a warehouse is utilized.

The GreenLog initiative is not only about delivering energy efficient products. It is also about our wider responsibility to focus on the impact on organizations and individuals by optimizing our product development and supplier management.

3. Use your data

What really supports the streamlining of a purpose-driven logistics operation is the intelligence to back up your decisions. With a powerful WMS, like Swisslog’s SynQ, data-driven decision-making can become a reality in your warehouse. SynQ has a world of functionalities that can support you in your mission to improve warehouse processes. Here are just a few of the more useful tools for a purpose-driven logistics operation:

  • Condition Monitoring allows you to view the current state of your intralogistics system at any time and ensures that your equipment works at maximum efficiency for the longest lifespan.
  • A Single Point of Control (SPOC) provides a unique, easy-to-use, user interface for visualizing and controlling all Internet of Things (IoT) devices in your warehouse operation.
  • SynQ enables Machine Learning, where data is collected from robotic technologies and analysed by the system to detect a more efficient method of handling goods.
  • Freight Optimization allows you to optimize freight routes and consolidate shipments into fewer journeys to reduce environmental impact.

 

Utilizing these tools allows intelligence to flow down through the database and into your everyday operation for tracking and monitoring as well as enhanced demand forecasting. From one single source, you will have access to data from all your technology and processes. 

Transparency for purpose

Where supply chains are seeking to become more purpose-driven, the key is transparency throughout the entire operation. Ensure your processes are crystal clear, sharing intelligence across several systems for one well-defined purpose.

At Swisslog, our purpose is to shape the future of intralogistics by introducing a new era of flexible robotic and data-driven automated solutions which protect people and assets and are sustainable. To do this, we use data from our customer’s warehouse operation to design the best possible solution. Later in the value chain, these data-driven automated solutions help our customers to operate a sustainable warehouse.

Our solutions also help you prioritize the health of your workforce. A happy workforce is an efficient one. And a happy, efficient workforce makes it easier to attract and retain talent. All Swisslog solutions are based on robotics so you can protect the wellbeing of your employees while they prioritize more value-adding tasks.

With future-ready automation, you can reduce waste and emissions, predict and prepare for peaks, and be as cost-efficient as possible. These technologies enable the change to your processes today that could result in large improvements to the wider supply chain tomorrow. 

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