Making existing resources work smarter for you
With such rapid new innovations and advancements, it’s easy to act hastily and begin adding solutions by hiring new talent or introducing new software, protocols, ideas, or paradigms. However, this is often the wrong mindset from which to start. In general, the place to start is right under your nose. You already have the resources you depend on. You’ve already mapped the best routes. The best routes already exist. The patterns are already being made. The answers are there. You just need to wait for them to reveal themselves.
The best examples of this mentality are how third-party logistics brokers like Coyote Logistics and C. H. Robinson revolutionized freight management over the last 10 to 20 years. H. Robinson and Coyote struck gold in developing a solution to a problem that had plagued the industry for years: empty backhaul trips, called “deadheads.” A full truckload of product would move from one location to the next and, when unloaded, carriers and even company-owned trucks would drive empty hundreds of miles to their next pickup. Fuel was burned and time lost with no dollars to show for it.
Coyote — which UPS acquired in 2015 — solved this problem by using proprietary software systems to track thousands of deliveries, syncing empty drivers with nearby pickups to grab next. As a result, enterprise companies get faster service and rates are lowered because of greater visibility and competition for pickups. Greater accountability across the board means promises are kept and passed down to the consumer.
Amazon’s Kiva robots are another great example of how to get the most value from resources at hand. They are not only the cornerstone of Amazon’s remarkably efficient inventory management and fulfillment processes, but have also continued to develop new models and strategies for Amazon and other businesses to follow. The Kiva units’ continuous, iterative improvement and learning are just as valuable as their ability to pull product.