Technology and artificial intelligence have changed the face of Brazilian logistics, following a global trend. If in the past the difference was in the size of the truck fleet and in the area served, today companies need to bet on it advanced systems and automation to handle the increasing demand while ensuring greater efficiency for customers. This is because the sector has become an essential part of corporate strategic planning in terms of cost reduction – logistics costs represent 12% of total corporate revenue.
In addition, with digital transformations and the advancement of e-commerce, the speed of delivery is becoming a contention in the market as to who can reach the end consumer first. For this, a lot of technology is needed in product tracking and in packet separation, which gives more speed to the process.
Says Kayo Rena, President and Founder of Routine, a startup that uses artificial intelligence to improve delivery management solutions. He says that recently, especially after the pandemic, demand has changed due to the importance of e-commerce.
The level of demand increased. The three to five day period, which used to be fine, is now stale. “The consumer today wants to receive the product the next day or the same day,” says Rina. This required new formats from companies to meet the new requirements. Logie, the company that was born in 2013 and has the technology in its DNA, is already capable of same-day deliveries depending on the region.
Advance changes with inventory reduction
More than half of logistics companies believe that technology is the key to reducing costs, providing new services to customers and meeting market demands. To achieve these goals, they are investing in innovating a series of processes, such as shipment tracking, order processing, order planning technology and distribution automation, according to a survey conducted by Fundação Dom Cabral with 275 business sectors.
Professor Paolo Resende, who is responsible for the research, says technology has gained more importance within companies after production chains began operating with fewer stocks. With the advancement of the Internet and licenses for accessing information and data, companies began to question whether they should stockpile products or bet on a fluid and information system.
“Once there is no separation between supply and demand, they need information technology, innovation in equipment, modern vehicles, and artificial intelligence,” Resende says. Additionally, he adds, there has been end-consumer empowerment on demand. “Today, they have hundreds of millions of apps at their disposal to make decisions about purchases.”
In this scenario, Loggi has already emerged with the goal of using technology to improve logistics. The company owns 10 distribution centers in the country. Three years ago, the company’s vice president of sales, communications and marketing, Ariel Herzenhorn, says the company served 50 municipalities in the country. Today, there are 4200.
To maintain this growth, the solution was to bet on automated systems and algorithms that aid in the process. At its distribution center in Cajamar, in São Paulo, the company has the capacity to process 1.2 million parcels per day. On a giant conveyor belt, packets are separated automatically – by barcode – by regions and some major cities, such as São Paulo. From there, packages are transported on trucks according to the designated routes.
The company’s technological solutions are created by teams dedicated to this topic in Brazil and Portugal. At the Lisbon Technology Center, around 70 specialists strive to improve tools and create new sales outlets to make the process more efficient. In 2020, Loggi invested R$150 million in automation and technology. Last year, this amount exceeded 250 million R$.
At JSL, one of the country’s most traditional logistics companies, with more than 1,300 customers, technology and artificial intelligence have become an indispensable strategy to sustain business, says company president, Ramon Alcaraz. “We are investing a lot of money in this. We are still far from our goals, but we are on the right track.” In one of the company’s areas of activity, the raw material chain, the use of algorithms to improve the use of vehicles has been very important to reduce costs.
In pulp, for example, 30% of the cost from planting to factory is logistics. “If I can be so efficient that the trucks don’t stop, I’ll be able to do the same production with fewer vehicles and I’ll make huge gains. At this point, I’m using AI to find that equation,” he says.
The same thing happens in the sugarcane industry. The boiler cannot be stopped, but the plant does not have space for all the necessary raw materials. “Previously, I’d put in a lot of trucks to take the stick to the boiler, but it was too expensive. With technology, I can do the same with fewer trucks,” Alcaraz says.
According to him, in some operations, the truck driver passes his badge and the system shows which path he will take and for how long. “If for some reason that driver stops, the system will ask why it stopped. With more technology, we need fewer machines, fewer people, and we have greater efficiency gains.”