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Race to Logistics Automation: Amazon Approaching the Finish Line

Amazon’s new delivery service aims to compete with UPS and FedEx. The Shipping with Amazon (SWA) is an end-to-end shipping solution that picks up from businesses and ships to consumers. SWA is initially being rolled out in Los Angeles with the ultimate goal of offering shipping services to any other business undercutting both FedEx and UPS on rates. 

Photo courtesy: Warner Bros.

Photo courtesy: Warner Bros.

This means Amazon, potentially, becomes the first crossing the finish line to supply and logistics chain automation. That is going to have an unprecedented impact in the whole logistics industry.

It also means that traditional carriers need to find a way to stay relevant by jumping onto the digital transformation and automation wagon. Doing this sooner rather than later guarantees businesses to remain relevant in the race toward achieving logistics automation.

“It shouldn’t be a cause for panic,” Dan Stoll, technical product manager at Nintex told EBN, “but competition will definitely rise as automation becomes the new norm.” Indeed, automation is paramount to successfully scaling a business, which is any organization’s ultimate goal.  

“FedEx remains hopeful that the ‘Amazon Effect’ won’t take away too much business. Other providers, like USPS and UPS, will need to change their long-held logistics processes soon,” said Stoll. “Altering workflows can be difficult, but successful automation can reduce the time spent fixing avoidable problems that exhaust valuable work days,” he added. 

Delivery management system functionality

With the help of a third-party automation platform logistics providers can quickly tie together a number of disparate processes like manufacturing, distribution, and transportation, and can improve delivery management. 

Source: ChainLink Research 

Source: ChainLink Research 

 

According to Getting Real with Digital Supply Chains, a research paper published by ChainLink Research, delivery management systems provide rich functionality, such as truck load mapping, container management, dispatching, scanning into the truck, and condition monitoring. 

Automated systems are usually thought to be more suitable for organizations with a large fleet. However, companies that have modest-sized fleets or delivery is less central than for companies with a large fleet can benefit from the value that automated systems bring by implementing targeted workflows. 

An advantage of a workflow driven approach is that no matter how small you start you can quickly see great value by simply scanning orders at pickup and drop off. This simple but efficient task increases accuracy, reduces disputes, and accelerates time-to-invoice 

“A plan to automate will be critical for the traditional logistics providers to remain relevant. It shouldn’t go without saying that all industries, specially logistics, should be looking to automate in 2018, but it clearly hasn’t been a priority to legacy shipping providers,” said Stoll. Perhaps the Amazon Effect is about to change this long overdue update in logistics providers.

While the logistics industry continues to progress technologically, it may be a good idea for competitors to outsource automation experts while they focus on what they do best: Logistics, but offering a faster, more reliable, and automated delivery process.

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