Since the rise of ecommerce, there has been a perennial need for businesses within the logistics sector to optimize their operations to expedite product movement. Technology is seen as a primary driver of those optimization efforts.
However, adopting technology into operations is easier said than done. Companies that run on lean margins often find it hard to pool enough resources to implement technology solutions – a situation that exacerbates the gap between small- and mid-tier companies and giants like Walmart and Amazon, which expend billions of dollars to bolster operations.
Take the case of warehousing, a key component within supply chains that have a sizeable impact on the end consumer’s satisfaction. To future-proof operations, companies would need to automate and optimize several segments with warehouses – something that could be beyond the reach of small- and mid-tier companies because their cost of doing business would exponentially increase during its set up.
California-based startup Locix is “democratizing” access to warehousing technology by developing connected solutions that provide spatial and contextual awareness to indoor spaces.
“We have a solution called the SmartDock, which is entirely motivated around reducing dwell times and detention times. We do this by monitoring both what’s happening outside and inside the dock to understand the activity at the warehouse during a truck’s loading and unloading period,” said Matt Davidson, the vice president of product and marketing at Locix.
Another key solution is called the SmartLPS, which leverages Locix’s local positioning system technology to collect and analyze indoor location information to provide real-time visibility on metrics like distance traveled, active and idling time to its customers. Locix can also integrate the warehouse management system (WMS) data into its platform that can be processed to provide operational insights.
“We are building solutions that are specifically designed for businesses to tackle warehousing problems through automation,” said Davidson. “Locix is a great way to cost-effectively start improving visibility in your operations and have the ability to react in real-time without any massive capital deployment to have a fully autonomous warehouse.”
Davidson explained that Locix was solving the issues that crop up when warehousing facilities are increasingly moving into urban areas in an attempt to expedite last-mile delivery and be closer to their end consumers. However, this has led to an increase in operational costs as real estate prices and labor costs have shot up tremendously.
While these expenses are inevitable, Locix understood that the lack of visibility into operations was costing warehousing businesses a lot of money, as they could not fully comprehend their equipment needs or the dwell time of trucks at the docks. “We gather data on operations and provide both real-time feedback and trend reporting, helping warehouses to reset their cost base and make their operations more efficient,” said Davidson.
Locix has raised $20 million in funding to date and operates across the U.S. and Japan. Davidson explained that the company chose the Japanese market very deliberately because the country suffers from issues of workforce unavailability and sky-high urban real estate prices.
“About 70 to 80% of the Japanese live in urban areas and so driving efficiency in warehousing is important. Our thought process is that if we can succeed in Japan, we can take that model and make it anywhere,” said Davidson.