Show Nav
Innovative Packaging Solutions since 1950.

Mastering the Art of Supply Chain Optimization Through Automation

Supply Chain Optimization


Read the original Blog post here

When you hear the phrase “supply chain automation,” do you think of science-fiction robots gliding around your warehouse, pulling orders and building pallets? While that’s not as futuristic as it sounds, that’s not what most industry professionals are talking about when they refer to automation. For most companies, automation is simply the most efficient path to supply chain optimization. It’s about figuring out how to use technology to reduce waste, streamline processes, and reduce inventory levels and cycle times. In a nutshell, it means setting up all of those tedious, repetitive processes to run in the background, so that employees can concentrate on core business activities. Let’s take a look at just few of the many real-world examples of how some supply chains are already rocking automation.


Not surprisingly, in the 1980’s Wal-Mart was one of the first companies to explore the potential uses of automation for supply chain optimization. While the evolution took a few years, today, within the 14 seconds it takes for a customer to make a purchase, the central warehouse is notified that the item needs to be replenished. But it doesn’t stop there. Wal-Mart’s automated procurement system continues sending ripples throughout the entire chain, to the point where even the suppliers of raw materials are notified that the manufacturers need to be replenished. This automation, and the resulting decrease in cycle times, allows Wal-Mart stores to reduce inventory levels without sacrificing customer service.


A number of companies have already invested in and implemented robust yard automation systems that can alert workers, in real time, the moment a load is delivered or a truck or location becomes available. These systems can even generate tasks automatically and send them to the next-available employee, forecast equipment availability, and eliminate the need for paper-based communications.

Companies that have implemented yard management automation have enjoyed impressive results: a 30% improvement in driver productivity, a 25% reduction in the number of trucks required, a 95% reduction in time spent looking for lost trailers, and an ROI of less than 12 months – just to name a few.


Each of the three are helping companies boost warehouse productivity while reducing worker fatigue. Cutting-edge mobile computers, for example, can eliminate the need for the precision required by traditional scanning tools. That results in labor savings of one hour per worker per shift and a 14% improvement in workflow productivity.


Due to the huge impact of labor costs and fuel consumption, fleet management was an early target for automation. Fleet management automation can do everything from selecting the most cost-efficient shipper for a particular order to helping drivers navigating around traffic jams and road construction – all while providing complete visibility every step of the way.

We’re only beginning to explore the possibilities for supply chain optimization and automation, and this list touches on only a few of the most common applications. If you have employees who are doing the same tasks day in and day out, it’s likely that many of those tasks could be automated, leaving employees free to take care of core business objectives. If you haven’t looked into automation, you should – your competitors are already doing it.


Take the Elevate challenge to optimize your supply chain

Related Articles

workplace productivity

Five ways to increase productivity

First quarter is a great time to review the previous year’s successes and struggles and to start thinking about how to address your packaging process in order to increase your productivity. Below are five ways that you can set yourself up for success and optimize your end of line packaging processes in 2017:   REORGANIZE Reorganizing


Minimize Shipping Costs with Bagging Equipment

According to the website Internet, 1/3 of all 2015 retail sales growth came from online sales, a 14.6% increase over 2014 in the US alone. The total online sales for 2015 equated to $341.7 billion. One way these growing companies can increase their revenue streams is by looking for new ways to minimize their

marking and coding

Marking and Coding

Marking and coding has come a long way in a very short time. As recently as 8-9 years ago, customers were mainly using messy, leaky, operator-unfriendly, and very maintenance-oriented ink printers and bottles to print poorly legible information on the side of these boxes. In most growing companies, immediately after they purchase a uniform or


Going Green: Automation

In the trend of going green, companies also have to asses the use of their equipment: how is the equipment that is being currently used affecting the environment, and what changes can be made to get the business closer to a more sustainable packaging processes through automation? In some cases answer to these questions are


Going Green: The Benefits

Oftentimes, companies are expected to be economically friendly, especially by consumers. Luckily, becoming a more eco-conscious company is also becoming more practical, with many benefits outweighing the negatives. Applying green processes in business helps facilitate a healthy environment for workers, reduces unnecessary waste, and can save you time and money in the packaging process.  


Semi-Automatic vs Fully-Automatic Machines

One of the first questions asked by both internal sales representatives and external end-users is when should I automate? The answer is consists of several factors, including but not limited to: Type of equipment the customer is needing or thinks they need Increased efficiency – getting more out the door in similar or in less time

Talk to someone now! Call 1-888-604-5185