Logistics Minded

Logistics 4.0

Nowadays, the consumer wishes to have access to an unlimited supply of goods and services and asks for a fast delivery. In this situation, logistics plays a major part. Orders treatment processes must be more and more efficient and fast. To adapt to consumer’s demand, a new organization has emerged in the world of logistics: logistics 4.0. But what is it?



Logistics 4.0 is in breach of previous practices, especially thanks to the development of robotization within warehouses. First of all, I must tell the difference between robotization and automation, two close but different concepts. Automation, which has existed for a long time, is characterized by machines, usually fixed on the ground, which work by themselves, without human intervention. Robotization, as for it, involves a notion of intelligence: robots are thus able to make the same movements as the human beings, at the same time as collecting information about the environment in which they manoeuvre. They adapt their activity. We talk about artificial intelligence.
The whole of supply chain can be robotized and the logistics warehouses become thus some smart infrastructures.

Take the example of La Redoute, which recently robotized the whole of his logistics processes within his warehouse near to Roubaix. The firm deployed particularly miniload, autonomous storage system, and multishuttles, automated shuttles, which makes possible to bring goods to logistics operators (good-to-man logic). Decrease in orders preparation time, reduction of difficult working conditions, increase in the number of references processed, are part of the benefits obtained by robotization.
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A connected system

Thanks to robotization, objects, machines, and systems presents within the warehouse become smart, communicating and connected to a network that allows to exchange information in real time. We have been witnessing an interconnection of the set of objects.

Evian, from the Danone Waters Group, equipped with communicating sensors 200 wagons. These sensors provide different information on wagons situation: movements, temperature, humidity, prolonged stop, impact, collision, and so on. Real-time monitoring of railway flows permits Evian to analyze the data delivered by the wagons and thus to create performance indicators.
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At Cdiscount, it is through the use of drones that the company makes inventory at night. Drone is directly connected to the WMS (Warehouse Management Software), in order to give the number of goods in stock. The WMS is then able to process the data collected by the drone, in order to produce sales predictions and thus improve the stocks management.
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Picavi company developed smart and collaborative glasses. This system of Pick-by-vision allows to reduce the time of order preparation and improve the quality of picking.
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Information digitalization and big data

The whole of supply chain players (customers, distributors, etc.) today need and require to know in real time where is located their goods. Interconnection with the set of connected objects in the warehouse permits to have at your disposal information in real time and continuously. This interconnection needs a digitalization of the information flows. Digitalization is the key factor to succeed at transforming in logistics 4.0. Real-time localization of goods allows thus anticipate, organize and forecast. In this digitalized organization, Big Data plays obviously a major role to treat data faster. The analyze of collected data thanks to the connected objects (sensors, drones, smart glasses, etc.) allows to optimize goods flows, permits to anticipate and forecasts the sales, just like the big player Amazon.

In 2014, user of Big Data, Amazon thinked about an anticipated delivery system of the goods. Thanks to the treatment and analysis of the customers’ data, the company offered to forecast the future buys of his customers.
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And the people in all of that?

Robotization, artificial intelligence, digitalization, the human beings stay, despite those technological innovations, essential in the organization of logistics 4.0. Robots free people from repetitive and hard tasks, in order to leave for humans, creative tasks. In this logistics 4.0 context, some types of jobs will disappear and others will develop, like engineers or programmers.
Logistics 4.0 also aims for the decrease of difficult working conditions. Some of technological innovations enable to improve work conditions, particularly with exoskeletons, that are a relief for the operators responsible for unloading trucks, the good-to-man, that avoid the useless movements of logistics operators, and so on.



After all, logistics 4.0 comes down to the use of Cyber Physical Systems, in other words, an organization where the computing elements collaborate and communicate in order to control and operate some connected objects. This collaborative and communicating whole permits to increase the warehouse performance.


And you, have you switched to logistics 4.0?

Transporeon’s company offers you a benchmark tool named  “Logistics 4.0 Maturity Benchmark”. Through some thirty questions, Transporeon determines your overall level of digitalization and automation.

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To finish, the evolution of logistics

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  • Web Technology says:

    Thanks for the blog post! Really helpful information.