Inbound Logistics | May 2023

For instance, some cleaning solutions come in a case, with spray nozzles packed separately. To reduce the risk that the nozzles are forgotten when the solutions ship out, they also need to be scanned in and out of inventory. Over time, procedures for addressing issues like this should become second nature, so employees spend less time asking managers how to handle them. FIXING MISTAKES When a mistake is made, Folk and her team review the causes and put in place processes to keep it from re-occurring. This requires considering the cost of prevention, how often a problem is likely

to reoccur, and whether it makes sense to, in some cases, handle one-off issues as they arise. “In most cases, this is a great process for any company to use to streamline both inbound and outbound procedures,” she says. Technology. Avnet, a global technology distributor and solutions provider, is expanding the business analytics capabilities of its logistics operations. “Our goal is to achieve breakthrough performance through predictive and prescriptive insights,” says Shaune Pittman, vice president, Americas logistics operations. GAINING VISIBILITY One area of focus is gaining greater visibility into the volume and type of inbound deliveries received at Avnet’s warehouses. Currently, Avnet gets about 24 hours advance notice before shipments hit the receiving dock. Working with Avnet’s business analyst and business intelligence teams, Pittman aims to increase the forecasting window to 5 to 7 days. With more advanced notice, Avnet will be able to boost efciency in getting products from dock to stock and better manage resources, Pittman says. He and his team also are working with carriers to get details on each purchase order as soon as they collect a shipment and load it into their system. Using business intelligence, they’ll combine the information into a single dashboard. As of early April 2023, the analytics project was about 80% complete. When fully implemented, Avnet will be getting advance notication on, among other information, the number of parcels and pallets arriving each day, up to one week in advance. They’ll also have real-time access to order updates. Pittman and his team will continue to rene the process, with a goal of reaching an accuracy level of 90%. “Having this information available will allow us to schedule the optimal mix of resources needed at a given time and drive further efciencies in our processes,” Pittman says. n

Murthy and his colleagues also are looking at articial intelligence for exception recognition; this will help them gain a sense of where problems with incoming inventory might occur. “The earlier I can gure out a problem, the faster I can get to a resolution,” he says. Consumer Packaged Goods. Courtney Folk is co-founder and CEO of Renewal Logistics, which focuses on consumer packaged goods, among other verticals. Among the best practices she employs is requiring barcoding on all master cases and “eaches” so no items end up outside standard shipping and receiving protocols.

DHL Parcel and robot integrator AWL have developed a robot application that can pick and place parcels from a randomly mixed pallet onto the conveyor belt of a sorting installation. The innovation combines robot-controlled AI-Vision with gripping technology, enabling packages of various sizes and weights to be placed on the sorting belt. The robot can lift up to 70 pounds and process 800 parcels per hour, automating work that humans previously did. The diversity of parcels and the high speed at which the robot can depalletize is what makes this solution unique. DHL customers deliver shipments on pallets, among other things. The pallet with, for example, various orders from a webshop, is placed in a pallet station. The robot places the parcels on the sorting belt to be sorted to their destination. After the first application in its Rotterdam sorting center, DHL plans to implement the robot in other sorting centers. SORTING OUT PARCEL PICKS

44 Inbound Logistics • May 2023

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