The World Economic Forum expects that a more sustainable, circular economy could be worth $1 trillion worldwide by 2025. As green products continue to gain steam, conveying equipment and logistics industries need to embrace new approaches such as “embedded sustainability” – incorporating environmental, health, and social value into core business activities without a trade-off in price or quality.
Achieving this goal requires a proactive mindset to determine the right actions to take to improve the operation’s sustainability concerning all emission scopes. Scope 1 (direct emissions from sources an organization owns or has control over), Scope 2 (indirect emissions associated with the production of electricity), and Scope 3 (emissions related to supply chains).
Beyond the sustainability challenge will also be the transition from traditional siloed supply chain approaches to a focus on real-time, end-to-end supply chain visibility. Technology investment decisions that involve the digitization of operations, material handling firms must also consider both the origins of the products that come into their distribution centers and the logistics that determine the sustainable delivery of those products to the end consumer. The ability to link consumer data back to the supplier of suppliers requires both centralized control and end-to-end planning tools.
Technologies such as supply chain control towers, which currently serve the role of providing connected, personalized dashboards of data and the tracking of key business metrics and supply chain events, will continue to evolve. They will begin to address either the mitigation or the management of events happening upstream (e.g., supply shortages) and help better manage the reaction to and reception of end products downstream (e.g., consumer buying habits).
Supply chain digitization and customization creates new OEM opportunities
For the OEMs who support the logistics and conveying equipment industries, success or failure hinges on innovation, reduced machine design time, energy-efficient machines, and lowered manufacturing costs. These business goals are achieved through the acquisition, design, and assembly of optimized and flexible solutions. Today, a key-differentiating factor is a machine system’s ability to continuously adapt to changes required by the end users. Fluctuations in demand, different user preferences, and mass-customization of packaged goods are a few drivers of this change. Embedding this adaptability is difficult because machine system designs must also accommodate rapid production speed, high-quality output, and be flexible enough to manage varying specifications, all without compromising the machine operator’s safety.
Thanks to these challenges, the rising digitization of supply chain processes and the increasing level of order customization and personalization can generate more business opportunities for OEMs. If a machine can generate a product based on a single request and is capable of adapting to that request, then that machine owner possesses a clear marketplace advantage. Digitization is the catalyst to overcome the perceived complexity of being able to deliver mass order customization.
Partnerships and more open technology linkages act as modernization catalysts
As the industry evolves, no one organization can manage and integrate this new wave of digitization on its own. For a sustainable future, advanced automation and digitized conveying equipment systems are no longer an option. They are a prerequisite for remaining competitive.
As the tactical challenges of increasing labor costs, rising eCommerce-driven fast delivery expectations, safety concerns, and an increasing need for robots in warehousing and distribution center facilities present themselves, strong partnerships will be critical to achieving marketplace success.
Organizations such as Schneider Electric offer the logistics and material handling industries, and the OEMs who support them, the solutions and expertise needed to take on these tactical and strategic challenges. Gartner recently ranked Schneider Electric #4 on its annual Supply Chain List of the Top 25 global supply chain leaders. A panel of more than 40 chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) and leading academics also selected Schneider Electric as one of the winners of the 2020 Power of the Profession Awards for its submission of “Smart Logistics” solutions. Schneider Electric won by redefining the meaning of “Smart Logistics” through a platform that delivers increased performance and customer visibility to the end-to-end customer fulfillment process.
Schneider Electric experts work with supply chain partners to extract energy savings and sustainability benefits throughout the entire product creation, delivery, and support lifecycle. 73% of Schneider Electric’s investments are directed towards developing newer and even more sustainable solutions.
This kind of commitment helps logistics and material handling firms to seamlessly integrate OT automation solutions with IT to extend the power of data analytics. The improved linkage between the digital order entry, warehouse and distribution facility inbound and outbound traffic management, robotics deployment, and shipment tracking results in several business advantages for end users. Logistics firms are achieving:
- higher levels of agile management
- improved process efficiency
- optimized asset performance
- lower energy consumption
- empowered operators to drive positive profitability
For more information
To learn more, about how Schneider Electric supports both OEMs and end users in their effort to modernize their conveying equipment and logistics operations, download the new Schneider Electric e-book “Smart conveying systems for sustainable logistics”