Oracle on information driven logistics
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Written by John Murphy of Oracle
Today’s logistics landscape is undergoing a major transformation. As globalization and data access become both more prevalent and less costly, the ability to aggregate data across channels, partners and systems is easier to accomplish and occurs more quickly than ever before. But creating useful information from this data is a unique challenge, a challenge that is being met with breakthrough thinking in the area of business operations and logistics technology.
ORACLE ON THE FUTURE OF SUPPLY CHAIN
Companies are now moving from batch-processed optimization methods and operations management to new ‘streaming optimization’ techniques and management styles. This has enormous implications to the way applications are viewed, developed, implemented, and managed. Why are companies changing the way they manage logistics? Three major technological changes are the main reasons for this shift in thinking and application development.
Nearly every participant in the supply chain now has a low-cost way in which to send and receive data. The proliferation of mobile applications and cell phone usage has caused an explosion in data availability and communication. Today, more than 60 percent of adults access the Internet from a wireless device, and that number is growing at an annual rate of about 25 percent.
2. Internet usage
While obviously not a new technology, the way the Internet is being used is new. It’s now available almost anywhere. This access alone creates new uses, but when combined with the increased speed that information is transmitted, it changes what we can and will do on the Internet. Largely driven by social communication demand, this increased speed and availability of the Internet is creating new opportunities for businesses to manage their logistics operations.
In combination with the Internet and mobile data access, globalization, in the area of logistics means more customers and trading partners in new geographies. It also means the turnover of customers and trading partners is more prevalent, so flexibility is critical to on-boarding and servicing them successfully. Easy-to- use and flexible tools are vital in supporting this new business requirement.
ORACLE'S DEREK GITTOES ON ENHANCING LOGISTICS EFFICIENCY
Combined, these changes have led to streaming logistics management – the idea and practical development of new techniques to accept and consider information as it occurs rather than in batches. One example of this is the ability to accept and communicate order and shipment status as weather and other factors change the routes and/or transit time of goods. This occurs daily across all geographies, but interpreting the data into meaningful actions is the area causing application providers to rethink how they are engineering tomorrow’s systems. Once received, this data should cause multiple automated actions to take place that improve logistics performance and supply chain efficiency.
In short, the implication of adding streaming logistics to an operation goes across business units and extends to trading partners and the efficiency gains are the next phase in supply chain evolution and will be the hallmarks of those organizations that succeed into the next decade and beyond.
FedEx is Reshaping Last Mile with Autonomous Vehicles
FedEx is embarking on an expanded test of autonomous, driver-less delivery vehicles to develop its last-mile logistics.
The US logistics firm piloted autonomous vehicles from Nuro in April this year, and the pair will now explore that further in a multi-year partnership. Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partnerships, said the collaboration "will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener".
FedEx will explore a variety of on-road use cases for the autonomous fleet, including multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries, going beyond more traditional applications of the technology in single-route movement of goods from A-B. Exponential growth in ecommerce is spurring its broader experimentation in new autonomy solutions, Fed-Ex says, both in-warehouse and on-road.
“FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy,” said Rebecca Yeung, Vice President, Advanced Technology and Innovation, FedEx Corporation. “We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”
The changing role of couriers
Unlike structured delivery networks, operating under long-term partnerships and contracts, agility is where couriers deliver true value - and their ability to deftly solve last-mile fulfilment has most acutely been felt during the pandemic. For the billions of people around the world forced to stay at home to protect themselves and their communities from the spreading COVID-19 virus, couriers have been a constant. They may have been the only knock at the door some people experienced for weeks or months at a time.
But the last-mile has been uprooted by a boom in ecommerce, a shift that has been most apparent in the UK, US, China and Japan, according to the Global Parcel Delivery Market Insight Report 2021 by Apex Insight. These are markets with dominant economies and populations used to running their lives with a tap of a screen or double-click of a mouse.
“Getting last mile delivery right has long been a challenge for retailers,” says Kees Jacobs, Vice President, Consumer Goods and Retail at Capgemini. “In 2019, 97% of retail organisations felt their last-mile delivery models were not sustainable for full-scale implementation across all locations. Despite increasing demand from customers, companies were struggling to make the last mile profitable and efficient.”
Jacobs says that the pandemic alleviated some of these stresses in the short term. With no other option, consumers were understanding and tolerant, if not entirely happy, with longer delivery times and less transparent tracking. “But, as extremely high delivery demand continues to be normal, customers will expect brands to contract their delivery times,” he adds.
Last mile's role in ESG
Demand and volume weren’t the only things that have changed during the pandemic - businesses looked closer to home and as a result became more sustainable. Bricks and mortar stores were transformed from mini-showrooms to quasi-fulfilment centres. Online retailers and other businesses sought local solutions to ship more faster. In densely populated London, UK alone, Accenture found that delivery van emissions dropped by 17%, while Chicago, USA and Sydney, Australia saw similar emissions savings.