XPO Logistics: the benefits of robotics
In 2018, XPO Logistics deployed 5,000 collaborati...
Supply Chain Digital takes a closer look at XPO Logistics' plans to utilise more intelligent robotics.
In 2018, XPO Logistics deployed 5,000 collaborative warehouse robots in North America and Europe. This week the company has released its plans to increase its use of intelligent robotics leading up to the festive period.
What does this mean for XPO Logistics?
The autonomous robots have been designed to work collaboratively alongside employees, as opposed to removing the need for humans. The robots have been designed to adapt quickly to fulfillment changes, guide employees to the correct inventory area, as well as validate and transport the items.
With the use of robotics and machine learning technology, XPO Logistics has seen productivity doubled and rates on average improve by as much as 40%. In addition XPO Logistics has seen enhanced safety as a result of reduced repetition and reduced time walking.
“Our successful collaboration with 6 River Systems in the US has led to a seamless roll-out of the robots at our UK sites. Based on our pilots with retail apparel, the system handles peaks in consumer demand with near-perfect accuracy by complementing the work performed by our employees. The synergies are ideal for retail and e-commerce fulfillment this holiday season,” commented Mario Harik, chief information officer of XPO Logistics.
Others utilising innovative technology in logistics include, FedEx who has been utilising robotics for small parcel deliveries to residential homes as well as trialing drone technology for urgent healthcare product deliveries in rural areas. In addition to FedEx, UPS has also been trialing drone deliveries for urgent healthcare products with successful residential and care home deliveries achieved.
For more information on all topics for Procurement, Supply Chain & Logistics - please take a look at the latest edition of Supply Chain Digital magazine.
Image source: XPO Logistics
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.