Smart Package Sorting – Add Intelligence to Your Warehouse
Jun 1, 2017
6 mins read
Smart, well informed and less tolerant is what defines new age digital consumers.
E-commerce business has advanced towards being more consumer-centric. Today, consumers are accustomed to ‘Click & Buy’ model with an expectation of shorter delivery time along with the flexibility in delivery anywhere & anytime.
Alain Ferard from Neopost put it aptly — “Customers expect convenience”.These words are the defining mantra in the delivery sector today.
A significant challenge for logistics industry has been last mile delivery as it is the final touch point with the consumers.
Parcel sorting — Still a conventional paper based process?
Warehouses are a pandemonium.
All retail businesses prioritize safe & faster shipment delivery. Ideally, manual decision making, at warehouses or fulfillment centers bodes well for shipments that run up to a few hundred, but this is a failing formula for packages that run up to thousands and above.
Naturally, Last-Mile variations – the difference in how we expect the warehouses to function and what actually happens — becomes a vexing issue. In order to address the problem of growing speed and volume, most businesses resort to employing more staff to handle their parcel sortation, which escalates cost incurred by the company without being sustainable on a long term.
Result of an Ad-hoc warehouse sorting methods
Consider a typical scenario at an In-house logistic warehouse or a distribution centre. Manual sorters heavily rely on reading address or pin codes attached to the packages and subsequently assigning it to the agent he thinks is well versed with a locality.
While packing and route planning are essential optimization problems in logistics, often a bigger challenge precedes these considerations which include-
1. Identifying the exact delivery destination –
In countries such as India, where the address system is ‘descriptive’ rather than ‘formatted’, geocoding can get very difficult. Further, malformed addresses that contain misspellings, wrong PIN codes and vague landmarks can further complicate the matter.
2. Assigning Right Rider to the Right Route –
Sorting of deliveries into their respective routes & riders is determined by the area PIN code fed by the end customer while placing an order. With lack of uniformity in clearly defining addresses in our country, the delivery routes often get overlapped which cuts into the delivery time leading to decrease in efficiency. 7–8% of the delivery shipments are routed to the wrong destination leading to escalation in cost to re-route it to the correct drop-off location.
Auto-Sortation – From Hours to Minutes
We at Locus have built advance geocoding solutions that combines Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and rule-based improvements to gather complete address information. Our solutions capture not only the diversity in address formats but also the diversity in language and the scripts in which addresses are provided.
Geocoding is the process of converting human written addresses to their global coordinates (latitude & longitude) which are unambiguously understandable by machines. In case of Google Geocoder, its autocorrecting feature is remarkable because of its ability to suggest you “correct” localities as you type. However, this feature becomes inept as the details get more granular because the addresses are already provided by the end users and the inability to fix the errors by prompting possible alternatives.
The following map depicts the location markup for the exact address “202, Esteem Gardenia behind swathi gardenia, Sahakara nagar, Bangalore”
The Google markup (Black pin) pinpoints to a nearby landmark ‘Swati Gardenia’, a restaurant instead of the delivery address.
Locus Geocoder (Green Pin) pinpoints the exact address on the map irrespective of any obscure landmark mentioned by the end customer in their addresses, thus capturing accurate location instead of vague landmark.
Most geocoding APIs are inefficient without the option of “suggestions” partially because of the missing “context”. Locus’ Geocoding API helps find the most accurate coordinates for the address under consideration, accurate to door number, lane and locality.
A significant reason for the success of Locus Geocoder is the access to a high volume of address data that our clients share with us along with the delivery information associated with those addresses. As the size of data increases, our geocoding accuracy leads to more profitable and optimized delivery routes.
How Auto-Sortation functions
On a daily basis, a massive amount of goods are packaged and shipped from one location to another. Delivering shipments from one point to another is never quite straightforward.
Locus automated parcel sorting engine works on resolving two significant challenges at warehouses
- Deciphering exact delivery destination
- Assigning of optimal routes to the right rider
Our advanced geocoding technology intelligently deciphers fuzzy addresses attached to the parcel and converts it to its respective geo-coordinates (latitude & longitudes) at the packaging level itself. Every package is automatically assigned to the most optimal delivery route and the rider best suited for it. The coordinates are grouped to create the most profitable routes or clusters and assigned with the right delivery agent beforehand.
This eliminates the need for human effort and intelligence for the process of sorting and allocating routes based on PIN codes. Our advanced algorithm supplants multiple manual checks involved in sorting of packages and aids increased rider efficiency leading to faster delivery.
Tangible metrics we helped our clients reduce their overhead costs and increase the number of shipments delivered on a daily basis-
- 65% reduction in Shipment Processing Time:
Automated sorting as per defined routes via Locus dynamic auto-sorting engine to remove human intervention & reduce mis-route
- 50% reduction in Man-hours involved:
Reducing man hours by automating inbound operations and do away with manual checks
- 27% Increase in Shipment Deliveries:
Riders are in the field for longer duration which leads to higher tasks execution rate with minimal errors, thus contributing to higher productivity by reducing cancellation rates and minimal SLA breaches.
Locus’ intelligent algorithm solves problems of the logistics industry by factoring in real world fuzziness to support unpredictable networks, dirty location points, and 100s of exception scenarios.
The key pain points addressed by the solution can be summarized as Consistency, Efficiency, and Transparency. Locus Solution, which automates the dispatch process, ensures that the planning output is not linked to a person, ensuring the most optimum quality at each distribution centre or warehouse, leading to consistent results.
To know more and understand how automated parcel sorting solutions can help enhance your business, reach out to us for a personalised demo.
This post was authored by: Vaisakhan PR
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Smart Package Sorting – Add Intelligence to Your Warehouse
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