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How Codeless Automation Can Help Modernize Complex Logistics Chains

Anna Thorsen

Anna Thorsen

According to Deloitte's annual industry report, robotics and automation are considered the top disruptive force and competitive advantage for organizations in the year to come. But only 39% of companies are using it today.

So how can logistics companies better implement the potential of automation?

Supply chain management is already an area of enormous potential for automation, as many of the processes involve repetitive and repeatable tasks.

What you’ll find in this article

The challenges of running manual logistics processes: a use case

Determining the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of freight is a complex, resource-intensive process.

It’s complex because the delivery of freight from one side of the world to the other can involve a network of trains, tracks, ocean carriers, and air providers.

It’s resource-intensive because in some of the largest logistics firms in the world, tracking ETA and notifying the relevant persons is done manually.

The complexity of scheduling and tracking ETA’s

Think about the delivery of fabric from a factory that’s 200 km away in Bangkok, Thailand, that’s due for arrival in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Normally, a package like this is delivered by a combination of partners with different tracking systems. If customers are depending on the delivery of this cargo to keep their production line moving, delays can cause bottlenecks, so they have to be notified.

This information is constantly changing and requires tracking through complex excel sheets. Step by step, a person will monitor third-party systems to get information on where the cargo is, when and where it will be unloaded, the route it’s taking, and the ETA. All this information is entered into your system.

Most often, this process is done manually, taking an inordinate amount of time. This repetitive and repeatable task is the perfect example of an automatable process.

Finding the resources for automation

“The challenges of digitizing your supply chain and bridging the talent gap go hand in hand — one can’t be done without the other.” - George Prest, CEO of MHI

Organizations are investing heavily in new technology to digitize their supply chains, and they’re adopting automation. However, not every organization has employees with the skill sets needed to make use of this technology.

While it’s much easier for businesses to fund new technology and tools, finding the necessary talent to support it is tough.

It requires the upskilling of people. In the case of automation, you’re upskilling supply chain management experts with the technical know-how to script process automation. Is that too much to ask of people when alternatives exist?

As MHI states, companies need to adopt tools that “empower people on the expand their capabilities, which is easy and intuitive to use like the other digital technologies they use today.”

Upskilling employees with the technical skills needed to code complex automation can take years to master. It isn’t always the right choice, especially when more intuitive versions exist, like codeless process automation.

The benefits of codeless automatio in logistics

“The adoption of robotics and automation is expected to increase to 79% in the next five years” - MHI

When it comes to benefiting from automation fast and securing low start-up costs and a short learning curve, no-code changes everything.

From the employee perspective, more accessible solutions like codeless automation can bridge the talent gap by giving business experts an easy-to-use tool to build automation flows. This frees time for rewarding higher value tasks.

From the strategic perspective, it helps businesses find more efficient ways to run their processes, and automate faster than competitors.

In sum, logistics chains, in particular, would have the capabilities to:

  • Automate without increasing headcount
  • Reduce costs and increase the quality of the delivery pipeline
  • Pull and integrate data from internal and external systems and deliver it in real-time
  • Automate communication by sending emails when an order is delayed, processed, or shipped.
  • Monitor inventory levels, reorder and give real-time reporting to find the optimal inventory needed based on past data.

Want to learn more about process automation and how it compares to test automation? Watch our on-demand webinar on the differences between test automation and RPA, and how to select the right automation tool.

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