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Intralogistics: its growth, its benefits for the supply chain and its future challenges in the era of Industry 4.0

Definition :

Intralogistics refers to the management of the internal flow of goods, materials and information within a company’s facilities. It encompasses all the planning, organisation, control and execution activities involved in moving and storing goods in a warehouse, factory or distribution centre.

Often overlooked in global supply chain strategies, intralogistics has quietly established itself as an essential pillar of business success: by optimising the flow and processing of goods, it enables companies to become more efficient, productive and competitive.

Yet intralogistics is still a little-known field. Let’s take a look at its growth, its advantages and the challenges and opportunities that await us in the era of Industry 4.0.

Origins linked to the rise of industrial production

The origins of intralogistics date back to the early 20th century, when the industrial revolution required the development of more complex systems for managing stocks and handling materials. Intralogistics was therefore born to meet the new demands of mass production.

Over the decades, intralogistics has evolved steadily, incorporating the latest technological advances. The boom in e-commerce in the early 2000s marked a turning point, making intralogistics a performance driver in its own right.

Since then, intralogistics has become a real competitive challenge, forming part of a global economic strategy. Intralogistics is no longer confined to simple warehouse management; it is now an integral part of the entire supply chain, linking suppliers to end customers.

With the advent of automation and IT systems, intralogistics is opening up a new chapter in its history and becoming fully integrated into Industry 4.0. Modern intralogistics solutions now rely on artificial intelligence and robotics to provide greater connectivity and flexibility, enabling them to adapt to changes in demand and disruptions in the supply chain.

What activities does intralogistics cover?

Intralogistics aims to optimise the flow of goods and information to ensure efficient and profitable operations. It encompasses the following activities

  • Reception and control: incoming goods are processed, recorded and integrated into the logistics system.
  • Stock management: goods are stored in appropriate locations according to their nature and frequency of rotation.
  • Order preparation and processing: goods are removed from stock, sorted, packaged and labelled before being dispatched.
  • Dispatch: goods are temporarily stored according to their destination and delivery order before being loaded onto lorries.
  • Returns management: Once goods have been received, they are recorded and repackaged before being put back into the system.

Each stage requires rigorous IT traceability in order to automate data collection and processing and adapt processes accordingly.

The benefits of intralogistics for supply chain performance

Process optimisation

Processes are streamlined and rationalised, from stock management to order preparation and dispatch.

Increased productivity

intralogistics increases the overall productivity of operators and equipment by automating and optimising workflows

Greater flexibility

the connectivity of systems enables decision-makers to react quickly to fluctuations in demand and to adapt stocks and processes as required.

 Reducing errors

intralogistics reduces human error and increases precision by automating repetitive tasks.

Better traceability

IT technologies and systems such as WCS, barcodes and RFID provide real-time visibility of all warehouse processes and goods.

Cost reduction

By optimising storage space, reducing error rates and order processing times, intralogistics helps to minimise overall supply chain costs.

Do you have an intralogistics project? Transitic can help you make it happen!

Towards smarter, more sustainable intralogistics

Intralogistics is a rapidly evolving sector, reflecting our society and our consumer habits. With the emergence of the green supply chain and connected industry, it is reinventing itself and embracing new issues, in particular :

  • Changing consumer habits, with customers increasingly demanding product availability and speed of delivery.
  • Heightened competition, reinforced by the technological race imposed by all business sectors.
  • Environmental issues, which are driving companies to adopt more sensible and sustainable intralogistics solutions.

To meet these challenges, intralogistics is turning to artificial intelligence through :

  • Automation: computer-controlled automated systems streamline processes and reduce order processing times, while adjusting production in real time.
  • Robotics: by taking on the most repetitive or arduous tasks, robotic arms, AGVs (automated guided vehicles) and AMRs (autonomous mobile robots) free up operators, allowing them to concentrate on higher added-value missions.
  • Energy efficiency: new energy-efficient technologies, such as LEDs and motion detectors, as well as the use of recycled materials by manufacturers, enable companies to make significant savings while respecting the environment.

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