Logistics Middle East


Retailers and their logistics partners are adopting mexible and modular technologi­es and software to meet the demands of the modern consumer


Retail sales across four Gulf countries (Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) are projected to increase by more than $24 billion over the next five years, with the UAE expected to lead this trend with an estimated growth rate of 16%, according to Euromonito­r Internatio­nal. Not only that, the same study indicates that the retail industry in the UAE is currently worth $55 billion and is forecast to steadily rise to $63.8 billion by 2023.

According to Alain Kaddoum, general manager, Swisslog Middle East, this is having a marked impact on the back-end operations of retailers and their logistics partners in four key ways.

Robotics: While automated picking and packing has been around for a while now, the next wave of change is being brought about by robotics. A warehouse that deploys robots reduces costs significan­tly while boosting efficiency. Focus on Supply Chain

Visibility and Orchestrat­ion: Increasing­ly businesses in the Middle East are focusing on better visibility of supply chains. This is only natural, given that the Middle East is a retail-strong economy. Greater visibility will mean an improved ability to orchestrat­e the supply chain for efficiency, service and lower costs.

Smart Last Mile Fulfilment: Last mile fulfilment is always a big expense for companies. Therefore, there is a clear need to look for efficient and economic solutions. It is becoming increasing­ly popular in the Middle East to use telematics and route planning software to achieve smart last mile fulfilment.

Blockchain & Smart Contracts: Blockchain and smart contracts are very popular in the financial services industry. While it is still a relatively new concept in warehousin­g and logistics, the current trend indicates that this will be a way of life in the future. Blockchain enables ‘smart contracts’, which is the ideal solution for quality issues, late payments, delivery disputes etc. that are daily issues for logistics companies.

“These trends are driving customers to focus more and more on intelligen­t automation using flexible and scalable technologi­es that deliver the dual benefits of performanc­e as well as the ability to adapt to changes in supply,” says Kaddoum. “This allows retailers to better cover seasonal peaks such as White Friday and the holiday season.”

The flexible and modular technologi­es and software in Swisslog’s Retail & E-Commerce portfolio are specifical­ly designed to meet these dynamic needs of retail, e-commerce and multichann­el logistics. “Retailers can increase the speed of order fulfillmen­t, improve order accuracy and effectivel­y manage an ever-increasing number of SKUs with Swisslog’s automated systems for e-commerce,” Kaddoum explains. “Order fulfillmen­t rates can be up to five times faster than manual systems.”

Modern warehouse automation and software systems must rise to today’s retail challenges then, as customers are looking for solutions ranging from world-class automated storage and retrieval systems to goods-to-person automation and advanced robotics.

“Swisslog’s automation solutions for retail range from the latest goods-to-person technologi­es such as CarryPick to dynamic storage and retrieval systems such as the CycloneCar­rier and AutoStore solutions, integrated with advanced robotics as well as its next generation picking technology for retail and e-commerce, operating at up to 1,000 picks an hour,” says Kaddoum.

Mile, a Dubai based logistic and delivery management software platform, adds that technology right now is having the greatest impact ever on the retail supply chain in the region. “The need to improve customer engagement

across all touch points has never been so important. Technology is one of the biggest catalysts in shaping retail logistics model in the GCC,” says Fawad Ahmed, CTO, Mile.

“We constantly see our clients maturing their logistics processes and trying different technologi­es to assist with operationa­l efficienci­es. Monitoring response times at each step from orders originatio­n, pick & pack, load planning, route optimisati­ons, dispatch, loading to final delivery, every aspect of the logistics process is constantly evolving,” he adds.

It’s a race against the competitio­n to give a better customer experience, fulfilling deliveries and return requests has to be done in a seamless fashion. The companies that excel in meeting the growing needs of the market have a better chance of becoming market leaders in their industry. It’s for this reason that Mile is seeing growing demand for its solution. “Mile consolidat­es orders from multiple channels, digitizes back office operations, allocates routes, prioritize­s shipments, automates load planning, provides digital route optimizati­ons, evaluates zone behaviours and recommends dispatch through AI algorithms,” says Ahmed.

The platform is also uniquely positioned across several verticals, from couriers, cargo, e-tailers, and retailers, to bakeries, restaurant­s, pharmacies and other niche operators like laundries. “Mile helps digitise everything that moves,” explains Ahmed. “Smartly positioned personaliz­ed promotions backed by intelligen­t data yield far better ROI to GCC businesses. The realizatio­n today to engage with the right customers at the right time through the correct mediums is critical to any retail operation.”

For this reason, retailers now are adapting omni channel approaches to give ubiquitous notificati­ons, shipment tracking, proof of deliveries, convenient scheduling and immediate customer satisfacti­on surveys.

“A well-integrated and unified system allows retailers to deliver unparallel­ed customer experience which can set a business apart and enhance loyalty for repeat customers,” says Ahmed. “Big Data also helps retailers analyse delivery behaviours across their channels for forecastin­g demand, evaluate trends and improve operationa­l efficienci­es.”

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 ??  ?? The flexible and modular technologi­es and software in Swisslog’s Retail & E-Commerce portfolio are specifical­ly designed to meet the dynamic needs of retail, e-commerce and multichann­el logistics.
The flexible and modular technologi­es and software in Swisslog’s Retail & E-Commerce portfolio are specifical­ly designed to meet the dynamic needs of retail, e-commerce and multichann­el logistics.
 ??  ?? Alain Kaddoum, general manager, Swisslog Middle East.
Alain Kaddoum, general manager, Swisslog Middle East.
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 ??  ?? Fawad Ahmed, CTO, Mile.
Fawad Ahmed, CTO, Mile.

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