Can you Automate Everything in Supply Chain Logistics
With the boom of technology with robotics and AI, every player in the supply chain wants to be ahead in the market by using some form of automation. Every day one or the other tool is coming into the market. Renowned companies like DHL are seeing around 25% productivity improvement from the usage of the latest tech, Robotics. Few companies are using sensors, drones and wearable technologies in its warehouse to increase efficiency.
To an extent, its true as automation has helped many companies around the world to reduce costs, improve efficiency and performance, but a few experts don’t agree with it. They say that not everything can be automated in the supply chain, few things require human intervention like decision making in some of the processes.
Even Robotics has boundaries
Usage of robotics can improve capabilities and help in reducing costs in the supply chain. It also makes the warehouse process faster, safer and productive. However, usage of robots have still not reached its potential, they are limited to doing some menial tasks. They do simple tasks like navigate an aisle in a warehouse, scan and pick items, put it in the packing area, but they lack flexibility and agility which a human can do perfectly, like climbing stairs and rough surfaces.
Another thing, robots in the warehouse, doesn’t understand exceptions yet. For example, when a machine is performing pick an order, they can perform it perfectly, but in case of last minute changes by the customer, they can’t adhere to it as they cannot judge the last moment changes. Machines also can’t add human touch to understand adding value to a transaction.
A warehouse in India will still need a manager to run the warehouse and take decisions and issue orders for a work to be accomplished.
Many warehousing facilities won’t have the cost to automate the process, even though robots are cheaper now but straight line movement and carrying payloads, may require a robotic arm which can cost a fortune.
Human make the best managers and forecaster
Human touch is required even in the most sophisticated facilities to make the right decisions, even to service those robots. Any state-of-the-art warehouse will have modern equipment like forklifts, scanners but they also require human intervention to control it. Humans also need to make powerful and on-time decisions to plan and forecast, hence it can be said that automation can be used as an initial work but the decision maker is always the human.
Automation and human relationship goes hand in hand
You can easily gather data using automation, but it has to be analysed by a human mind. Any tool that’s being created needs human skill and mind to bring it into action. Machines cannot do what a human can do, the emotions that a human has, an AI cannot have that. For example, AI can automate most of the process, reduce human error in tasks line on-boarding but it can’t have any emotions or empathy to understand any health related illness.
The bottom line is, how much automation you add to your work process by using AI, Robotics and many such inventions, in the end it requires human intervention to operate, manage and maintain it. Automation to some extent can improve efficiency in the process but only a human can complete the whole process by providing the right directions.