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Consumer expectations, together with the “digitisation of all products”, has strongly polarised the supply of consumer goods towards the continuous search for new limits, which can combine product customisation with efficient mass production. The fourth Industrial Revolution, the so-called Industrie 4.0, came about as a response to this challenge and provides for the extensive integration of digital technologies within industrial manufacturing processes. This revolution is not merely confined to the production sphere, but also has an impact on logistical processes in terms of support as well as distribution.
The production process has, in fact, increasingly extended its scope along the supply chain, requiring solutions that facilitate the integration and sharing of information between the various players in the supply chain.
In a context where the supply chain is becoming increasingly broader in scope and interconnected, the margins of improvement which today can be capitalised on, no longer relate only to greater efficiency within the corporate logistics process, but are more and more strongly correlated to the synergies that players along the supply chain are able to achieve in order to improve the overall process.
The new LEA (Logistics Execution Architecture) technology platform developed by Logistics Reply, was designed as a response to these needs. New solutions based on LEA, supporting Warehouse Management and Collaboration processes across the supply chain, are designed to enable increasingly distributed and global businesses, which have a strong need to collaborate effectively with partners, to guarantee the distribution of their products to end users through processes characterised by speed and quality.
The LEA platform, an enabler of Logistics Reply’s solutions, is a technology platform developed in-house by Reply with the twofold purpose of facilitating the development of new applications and of addressing the underlying principles of Industrie 4.0. The platform is cloud-native from a technological point of view, service-based and driven by events. From an application point of view this enables and facilitates the concepts of modularity and “app-isation”, namely the ability to arrange these services into applications that support logistic processes.
The new Warehouse Management solution is based on this design, abandoning the monolithic approach of a traditional application in order to provide greater flexibility in reorganising and supporting today’s processes. These processes tend to be much more specific and increasingly extend beyond the boundaries of the central warehouse. The solution is Task-based and on the one hand, it facilitates the configuration of operational processes as a series of tasks, construed as individual operational activities, and on the other hand, it interacts with the “field” through the Task application layer, intended as a layer that enables an easy integration with devices acting as the “executors” of a task. The result is the ability to effortlessly support a process which combines multiple systems and channels of interaction, both manual and automatic.
On this basis, Logistics Reply is able to create logistics solutions to support specific processes in a much easier and more efficient manner, applied to contexts increasingly more distributed along the supply chain.
An area in which huge opportunities and benefits can be obtained is the Distribution function. From a logistical point of view, the principles of Industrie 4.0, traditionally characterised by a strong focus on production aspects, find effective application not so much in taking operational efficiency to extremes, but more in the strong need for collaboration and the sharing of information between the various supply chain players. In this regard, the logistics chain becomes a enormous production pipe, in which each element brings added value to the product, quantified not only through its intrinsic value, but in having a product available to the end customer when it is actually needed. The main benefit is a drastic reduction in the overall lead time.
Within this context, typical production environment technologies (smart labelling, automatic handling systems, operational efficiency devices, etc.) are complemented by additional Collaboration and Visibility aspects, supported by specific technologies - first and foremost the mobile sphere - enabled by the Cloud, which guarantees the availability of services for all players in the supply chain.
Reply’s solutions, Cloud-based and with a strong focus on the mobile channel, provide real value in these areas and contribute to the standardisation of the logistics process.
A real-life application in this area involves a major British retailer with the need to standardise and speed up the inbound process at its regional fresh food centres, characterised by very tight lead times and extremely high product perishability. For this important customer, Logistics Reply has developed a mobile solution that helps identify and track the composition and shipping information associated with the logistics units with respect to the retailer consolidation centres, and to convey this information on a cross-visibility tool to all players along the chain. Reusing elementary business services that are already available as part of the LEA infrastructure, common to those of the Warehouse Management System, a rapid solution was developed to support a process of collaboration, which does not have the connotations of strong efficiency typical of a WMS.
A critical aspect to meeting new business needs in Supply Chain Execution is that it is no longer as important to have ready-to-use solutions available, but rather to have ready-to-use business services, which can be quickly reused to design new applications. The approach forming the basis of the LEA platform enables users to effectively respond to this need.
Logistics Reply is the Reply Group company leader in the provision of advanced Supply Chain Execution solutions, developed with its proprietary
Click Reply™ and
SideUp Reply™ suites and using the latest technologies available. Click Reply™ is a solution that can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, while SideUp Reply™ is a multi-tenant SaaS solution. The solutions developed by Logistics Reply are now being successfully used worldwide, with customers in all geographical areas: North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania.