Distribution & Logistics
Critical Infrastructure Solutions for Distribution & Logistics
The distribution and logistics industry faces many challenges in today’s rapidly changing landscape with the demand for immediate fulfillment, the rise of e-commerce, and increasing fuel prices topping the list. Learn how our products and services can help strengthen your distribution and logistics business’s critical infrastructure.
The Role of Data Centers in Distributions & Logistics
The distribution and logistics industry is more than just moving goods from point A to point B using the nation’s air, motor, rail, and shipping systems. It encompasses the overall process of managing how resources are acquired, stored, and transported to a final destination.
Moore’s Law states that technology tends to double every two years while simultaneously becoming more accessible and affordable. This is certainly true in distribution and logistics as giants like Amazon forge ahead forever changing the industry.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has brought technology to the Edge of distribution and logistics companies, allowing them to become more efficient and better meet the immediate demands of their clients. While helpful in many areas, this evolving industry also provides significant challenges.
Distribution and logistics operations require continuous, clean, and reliable power to support their critical IT infrastructure and ensure 24/7 continuity. Loss of power can result in unacceptable downtime and data loss, causing distrust from clients and potential customers.
The keys to protecting your business start with building your organization’s reliability. This is done through optimized critical infrastructure, along with flexible services and support for customers and staff.
Other factors that contribute to technology risks for distribution and logistics entities are rising energy costs, natural disasters, aging physical infrastructures, ever-changing regulatory requirements, and the shortage of workers. Recent events, such as the global pandemic, have also posed challenges to global supply chains and the availability of international supplies. Dependable technology can help solve these problems with communication and visibility.
How Technology Is Transforming the Distribution & Logistics Landscape
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the idea that the internet will expand to many items in the world besides phones and computers. These items will be accessible via the internet wherein you can affect them and/or pull data.
Here are four ways the IoT can change your work today:
- Can provide status updates and up-time reports for critical infrastructure through wireless communications, which allows the distribution facility to quickly resolve potential problems.
Precision Recording and Reporting
- One of the major benefits of using machines is their objectivity. If the machine is functioning properly, it is very unlikely to make data-entry mistakes.
The Advent of “Smart Facilities”
- IoT is allowing logistics and distribution facilities to become “smart” through connecting various devices, industrial equipment, tools, monitoring software, and many more technologies that collect, analyze, and transmit data. This data can be used to improve production workflow, enhance the quality of service and response time, and much more.
Cost and Time Savings
- Like any major upgrade, the initial investment of both money and time into the IoT will be high. You might need to completely revamp your technology base and retrain your staff. The returns, however, are unbelievable. No more faulty data recording, no more inaccurate reports, no more wasted time and money on inaccurate analysis or data records. In the long run, the IoT is the next big step toward efficiency, automation, and accuracy.
Interoperability & Secure Data Transfers
The idea of interoperability refers to multiple distribution centers working together while exchanging data and trends to provide the best services and most optimal workflow. To do this, each organization must communicate well and send sensitive documents through the internet. Here are a few perks of interoperability:
- Fast Access to Data: Collaborating with other organizations allows logistics and distribution warehouse managers to get the key data at faster speeds than ever before.
- Expanded Knowledge: Sharing information allows everyone to develop a complete knowledge base, expanding the possibilities for every organization.
- Better Decisions: With more information, distribution and logistics managers will be well-informed and make better decisions.
- Improved Learning Experience: The goal of interoperability is to improve production for each facility. Sharing data empowers your staff to make the best decisions and build the best services possible.
Despite these benefits, there are some drawbacks to interoperability and regular data transfer.
- Risk of Hacks: As more documents are sent over the web, secure connections must be ensured to protect from hackers. Equipment downtime from ransomware can cause disruptions throughout the entire supply chain. If your tech isn’t up to security standards, interoperability isn’t going to be safe for your employees until you upgrade.
- Regulatory Compliances: Any breach can result in incredibly large fines, loss of trust, and even a loss of funding. Your tech needs to be able to protect your employees and your reputation before interoperability can begin.
- Data Security: The biggest source of data breaches at any organization isn’t hackers or faulty tech, it’s the staff in the workplace. Your staff will need to be trained on proper usage of the new technology and procedures to ensure that data isn’t compromised due to operator error.
The logistics and distribution industry can be incredibly stressful and have significant impacts on consumers and the market in general. In addition to supplying quality services, it’s imperative to maintain facilities and ensure that staff have the necessary technology in place to do their work well.
Natural disasters and malicious attacks on your systems may seem like far-off threats that would never happen, but unfortunately, that’s not always true. These events are growing ever more frequent. Improving the physical and virtual security of your logistics or distribution site is essential to preserving the privacy of your operations and clients.
The result of a noncompliance inspection or lawsuit can be incredibly detrimental to your operations. Fines often stretch into the millions after a data breach, and this is generally considered to be a good outcome, considering worse alternatives like business closures. You need a partner who understands the stringent requirements you face, and who can build elegant code-minimum solutions for you and your business.
Pain Points Affecting the Distribution & Logistics Industry
Some of the biggest pain points affecting the distribution and logistics industry’s digital infrastructure are equipment availability, cost, ROI, and lead time. We thoroughly understand these challenges and can offer solutions to mitigate these concerns.
By identifying vulnerabilities, we can make a massive difference in your operations and accelerate your ROI. Through preventive maintenance, monitoring and management, performance optimization, and more, we’ll help you uncover greater productivity and root out causes of lost performance for maximum availability.
In all industries, downtime is costly, and in some, it can be life-threatening, too. We understand the immense repercussions lead time delays can have on a data center, so we make it our mission to mitigate challenges before they evolve into major issues. As a factory-direct service provider, we’re not limited to what we can store on-site. Our product line is constantly updating with new options for data center operators.
Challenges Affecting Distribution & Logistics Critical Infrastructure
Network Security & Infrastructure Protection
- Technology is an incredibly important part of distribution and logistics. Without a strong IT backbone, you won’t be able to rely on the critical technology needed to help your clients and employees.
- Your facilities and warehouses need reliable power all day, every day.
- As interoperability and the Internet of Things expand, so, too, will your needs for greater security and power.
Enable the Distribution & Logistics Technology Edge
- As industries become more technologically sophisticated, innovation must take place in order to ensure efficiency and drive rising costs back down.
- We advise carefully selecting Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Transportation Management Systems (TMS) that enhance speed, accuracy, and communication in your operation.
- Warehouse wireless coverage can be problematic and cause operations to grind to a halt. It’s imperative to use infrastructure that eliminates warehouse Wi-Fi blind-spots.
Distribution & Logistics Operations Efficiency
- With e-commerce only increasing, you need all the power you can get out of your IT systems in order to meet requirements and prepare for new technology adoption.
- Pressure is rising to reduce costs, improve performance, and increase staff productivity and efficiency.
- As real-time IoT grows, your systems will be increasingly taxed by the volume of incoming data and connected facilities and individual devices. Your infrastructure needs to keep up with growing requirements and its efficiency must increase with each addition. Items like wireless access points and wall racks or enclosures provide solutions.
Enable “Green” Solutions & Sustainability
- Distribution warehouses use a tremendous amount of energy. Getting the most efficient tech possible is a huge priority when driving down skyrocketing power costs.
- Energy-efficient equipment upgrades and replacements help decrease costs and the facility’s environmental footprint. Optimizing your infrastructure can be a simple but powerful way to lower costs.
Power Quality and Protection Concerns
- Low power quality, poor installation, or problems in your electrical grid can severely impact critical infrastructure equipment and lower the quality of the workplace for your employees.
- Unplanned equipment downtime due to power problems is detrimental to operations and puts your business at unnecessary risk.
- Overheating can cause downtime or system failure. With the sheer size and minimal HVAC measures in warehouses, thermal management consideration will be essential.
- Clean, reliable, and efficient power starts with proper design, equipment selection, and installation. Regular system testing can also help ensure efficient, safe, and continuous operation.
Distribution & Logistics Critical Infrastructure Services
As you look to optimize your distribution and logistics operations, we provide a variety of solutions to keep your infrastructure secure and online. Connect with us to schedule a call with one of our engineers to determine the best solution for your facilities.
How We Can Help
- Simplify the management and design of your IT infrastructure.
- Build your distribution facility’s power system into a reliable, efficient, and eco-friendly system.
- Aid your operations in the transition to IoT.
- Create compliant energy and data storage solutions.
- Empower you and your team to do the best work.
Empower Your Distribution & Logistics Operations with a Partner You Can Trust
The distribution and logistics industry is ever-expanding and growing quickly in complexity and cost. You need a partner who understands the need for immediate fulfillment and increased efficiency that warehouses face daily. You need a partner with industry experience, dedication to safety and efficiency, and expertise in IT fields.
We can help lower your power costs, increase your security, create an efficient network, establish strong infrastructure, and empower you to provide the best possible environment for your clients and employees. Contact us today to start moving toward tomorrow!