In logistics, there is no shortage of situations that can be challenging. If, for example, your transport costs increase, supply chains come to a standstill or there is a shortage of skilled personnel, you are faced with what initially appears to be an insurmountable challenge. But here, too, there are solutions. But especially in economically difficult times, it is more important than ever to set up your intralogistics carefully and future-proof: Keyword automation. This is where logistics consulting by consultants and planners comes in, compensating for a lack of methodological knowledge within the company, for example, and bringing in external impulses. We talk about where consulting is needed and why it is an important piece of the puzzle on the way to smooth logistics processes.
A concrete example from practice: Let's assume that, in view of the many problems that have arisen in your machinery, you are wondering whether it is worth investing in new warehouse technology at this point in time and how much savings can be achieved. You already know which technology or which devices have long been considered susceptible to faults and need to be replaced, but you wonder whether you should tackle more extensive automation measures right away instead and what expenditure you would have to reckon with for this.
Logistics consulting is a service that can be used individually or in conjunction with subsequent logistics planning. Logistics consulting usually starts one step before -planning. This provides companies with certainty as to whether they will be able to absorb the order load in the coming years, for example. Logistics consulting also makes sense for specific issues.
The scope of services within logistics consulting usually refers to
- Strategy consulting
- Definition of the time schedule
- Definition of the budget
- Definition of the personnel expenditure
In practice, the first step is to visit the company site (e.g. logistics center, production, warehouse) for which logistics consulting is required.
A consulting appointment can then proceed as follows, for example:
- Inspection of the warehouse areas
- Analysis of the "pain points" and "bottlenecks
- Coordination of requirements (big picture)
- Presentation of logistics planning incl. potential and weak point analysis
- Scoping and proposal of further procedure
The main component of the first logistics consulting appointment is the recording and discussion of the existing actual situation and the discussion of the company's ideas as well as those of the "sparring partner", the external logistics consulting company. The goal of the first appointment is the definition of the desired target state. The personal "chemistry" also plays a major role; after all, the consultant is also entrusted with business secrets and strategic considerations
Up to a certain point, questions that would be asked by a logistics consultancy can certainly be answered internally. Larger companies in particular often already have experience of how business has been successfully scaled up at other locations and in other countries.
However, when it comes to more complex issues, in-house employees are usually too deeply involved in their own logistics structures to be able to take an objective, neutral look at the optimization potential of their own intralogistics. With a "healthy distance" and neutrality, external logistics consultants who advise "at eye level" have more to offer here. It can also overtax one's own team when market knowledge, concrete methodological knowledge and the right tools are required.
In addition, stumbling blocks could be overlooked if one goes it alone: e.g., costly planning errors often occur in the construction of facades or in the dimensioning of buildings. We have provided an overview and summarized the most important points in the blog post "7 stumbling blocks in logistics planning".
Finding the right level of automation
No wonder! Because the amount of choices can be downright overwhelming. It is hardly possible to set the course for the future based only on one's own experience and research. It depends on the individual case to decide which level of automation is suitable (e.g., partially automated or fully automated warehouse; you can find more about the different warehouse automation levels in our blog post "When does automation in the warehouse make sense?")- and on the right advice.
Professional logistics consulting can be the optimal approach to such a problem: An external logistics consultant (and logistics planner) has a wealth of experience from similar projects that you can take advantage of. Benchmark values from the same industry are also provided against which you can measure yourself.
A company that offers comprehensive logistics consulting sees itself as a sparring partner at eye level and taps into the most important strategic information in a dialog:
- Where does a company stand and where does it see its logistics in the near future?
- What do the article and order structures look like?
- How does the company compare with the rest of the industry? (Benchmark)
- What investments are generally required to increase competitiveness?
- In which time frame should the project be realized?
- Which (foreseeable) events in the company or its environment collide with the project or have to be taken into account?
- What budget is available for a planning phase?
- Which human resources of the company should be involved?
- With which storage technology or plant engineering has one already dealt or made experiences?
Once these points have been discussed and expectations have been clarified, the logistics consultation will provide an overview of the time horizon and scope for logistics planning. Once these points have been clarified for all parties involved, it is possible to proceed with a well-founded logistics planning. What this involves in detail is presented in this video:
There are many reasons for external logistics consulting: When it comes to finding the right level of automation for one's own warehouse project and positioning oneself for the future, a sparring partner at eye level with knowledge of procedures in comparable companies and industries is a great help.
Especially when it comes to selecting the right level of automation from manual, partially and/or fully automated systems, logistics consultants are available as objective contacts with experience from similar projects. This helps to achieve more planning reliability in the later planning phase and smooth processes during implementation. In case of IGZ as partner you can count on IGZ's experience as consultant, planner and implementer and are well positioned for your ideas - please contact us for a mutual exchange if you have any questions.
For more information on warehouse automation and logistics planning, click here.
In the whitepaper "Gradations in warehouse automation", you will receive all information on the topic of warehouse automation at a glance.
In diesem Whitepaper behandeln wir die verschiedenen Ausprägungsstufen in der Lagerautomatisierung und gehen darauf ein, was sie unterscheidet. Mit dieser Entscheidungshilfe können Sie am Ende besser abwägen, mit welcher Stufe Sie die besten Ergebnisse in Ihrem Lager erzielen. Auf S. 8 erfahren Sie außerdem mehr zu flexibel einsetzbaren Kommissionierrobotern – ein zukunftsträchtiges Thema, bei dem sich schon heute eine genaue Auseinandersetzung lohnt.
- Vorteile der Automatisierung manueller Prozesse im Lager
- Robotergesteuerte Kommissionierung: Pick-by-Robot®
- Die unterschiedlichen Abstufungen der Lagerautomatisierung
- Entscheidungskriterien für Lagerautomatisierungs-Maßnahmen
- Wichtige Faktoren für die Entscheidungsfindung über die richtige Lagerautomatisierung