This series is commissioned by UPS. Discover the new logistics. It levels playing fields and lets you act locally or globally. It’s for the individual entrepreneur, the small business, or the large company. Put the new logistics to work for you.
Many of today’s businesses are taking the initiative and changing the way we approach daily logistics.
Whether it’s incorporating technology into the traditional work structure or rearranging it entirely, small and medium businesses that once shied away from such changes are rethinking their supply chain models for increased productivity.
Here are some ways companies are innovating their processes:
1. Companies like Gilt Groupe, Crate and Barrel, Diapers.com and Gap use Kiva System’s squat orange robots that sort through storage racks and bring them to workers who then pack up the products. These robot teams were designed to operate like ant colonies. They can carry up to 3,000 pounds at a time and rely on barcode stickers placed on the floor to avoid crashing into one other.
2. Aethon’s TUG robots are revolutionizing hospital care at the El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California. Leased for $1,200 – $2,000 per month, TUG’s are programmed to transport medication, linen, medical reports and blood samples. They can operate for 10 hours at a stretch and have sensors in place to help them avoid people and other obstacles in its path.
3. Verian Technologies allows businesses to track costs through an expense management system and has upgraded its technology to include information on distance traveled via Google maps. It even allows users to photograph receipts; the information is fed into the system, saving employees time and minimising calculation errors.
4. In July 2009, InTouch Health Technologies launched MultiPresence, a system that enables doctors and surgeons from different locations to connect with their patients via one interface. Not only does this allow for easy consultations, the robots can even monitor a patient’s heartbeat and his or her vitals back to the physician.
5. IBM teamed up with Toronto East General Hospital to set-up an efficient wireless communication network. Each employee gets a communication badge: two taps of the badge opens up the system to the the entire security team, while one tap connects it with one other employee. The hospital no longer needs to rely on its cumbersome switchboard, and response time has been cut by 61%.
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