Five ways to master low-touch logistics
Besides our compliance with COVID-19 measures, low-touch logistics can create faster, increasingly frictionless operations; here’s how.
The pandemic fallout has brought about new regulations for businesses, particularly, incorporating low or single touch logistics. By now, most of us have experienced the ‘hands face space’ guidance in shops. But, how can we apply this to our businesses without reducing our productivity? Besides our compliance with COVID-19 measures, low-touch logistics can create faster, increasingly frictionless operations. Here’s how:
1. Low-touch processes in our warehouses
When simplifying logistics, businesses often need to start with a hard look at their warehouse functions.
Begin by gaining enhanced visibility of your ongoing operations, including the flow of purchase orders, stock movement, and employee workloads. Analysing this information can endlessly help with optimising your operations. Additionally, utilising the right warehouse management software can help automate this process, all from one system. You can eliminate unnecessary touchpoints and rectify other inefficiencies that could be slowing your productivity down.
- Restructure your warehouse
Making the most of your warehouse space enables cleaner aisles, safer working, and faster picks, streamlining your team’s access logistically. Tracking your sales trends can pinpoint how to customise and restructure your warehouse layout for maximum efficiency and minimised touchpoints. Meanwhile, productive route planning can help maintain a compliant one-way system or dedicated staff sectioning to minimise workplace contact.
- Immediately access data
Enabling a free-flowing interchange of data electronically also produces touch-light processes, as well as faster, more precise operations across your pick, pack and ship procedures. Task lists and purchase order information can be automatically accessed in real-time by your team with low-touch technology like handheld devices.
From scanning products with barcode technology to order processing, your workers can handle tasks on the go within their workflows. Solutions such as tote picking can also remove the need for unnecessary double handling of items. Instead of manually touching and processing each individual item, complete all of the necessary paperwork and processes with a single scan.
2. Simpler supply chains
With greater knowledge of your operations, you can enable streamlined communication with suppliers, easily fixing any problems with stock, packaging, or logistics before they emerge. Reduce your unnecessary touchpoints, but also improve your supply chain as a whole.
- Premeditated purchasing, without the guesswork
Intelligent forecasting and purchasing technology uses your business data to take the guesswork out of purchasing. By analysing your flow of goods, you can form accurate predictions of the type and number of products you need in advance of demand. As a result, automating your stock replenishment becomes possible, with alerts ahead of time for required actions or any fluctuations in demand.
- Time to choose the best suppliers for you
Choosing the right suppliers limits any unnecessary logistical stresses. Rather than the cheapest or fastest option, a better knowledge of your business requirements ahead of time enables you to choose the most reliable, suitable supplier. You can even diversify with multiple suppliers, protecting your flow of goods in case of further restriction dilemmas. In all, having real-time business data at your fingertips will reduce the chance of any future delays and miscalculations holding back your flow of goods.
3. The ecommerce experience
In the B2B world, a smooth customer journey is also a key part of creating low-touch logistics. With simple yet connected online customer ordering and account management solution, both for customers and your internal team, you can formulate a system that keeps orders coming in like clockwork.
Give customers the choice of how they want to place orders while ensuring all your orders are processed automatically from just one central system, with multi-channel, order management and CRM software. The real-time visibility of stock allocation hands your customers item availably across your sales channels. So, with this data readily available, get simple, low-touch internal processes for your team and create additional cross-selling and upselling opportunities to boost your sales.
4. Courier communication and proof of delivery
Low-touch logistics shouldn’t fall short of the finish line. Integrating your systems with your couriers and pallet networks or using customised routing and delivery tech for your drivers can help to more accurately track and trace orders right to the destination, minimising manual processing steps. With real-time shipping notifications and proof of delivery, you can keep an open and helpful flow of communication with your customers, as well as creating precise lead-time data for your records.
5. Robotics and the low-touch warehouse of the future
Streamlined logistics would hardly be complete without mentioning one of the most exciting new branches of automation tech. Enable social distancing at the time same as dramatically increasing productivity with fast ROI warehouse robotics. With flexible A-B or goods to person solutions available, you can create your own 24/7 team of independent robot pickers. They safely do the lifting, shifting and routing tasks so your employees can social distance without effecting your throughput.
Even in a post-lockdown era, businesses will be expected to make their processes increasingly streamlined, from supply to delivery. Every logistics chain will be required to get shorter, and low-touch automation is a key way to make this possible. For more guidance on how to master low-touch logistics for your business, contact our expert team at OrderWise on 01522 704083 or visit our website to read more.