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Here are the tools that help Greater Cincinnati’s supply chain make holiday “magic” year round

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and for locally based retailers, warehouse staff and supply chain managers, that means one thing: Regional logistics are in full swing.

The business of moving everyday essentials is booming in Greater Cincinnati, and with the holidays now upon us, retailers are feverishly readying their warehouses and supply chains. But in reality, preparing for the hectic holiday sales spike is a year-round job. In fact, retailers and suppliers who fail to start planning at the close of each holiday season often find themselves struggling to remain competitive.

Ever wonder how companies like Amazon Prime keep orders filled, delivery routes synced and packages arriving on time — sometimes with just one or two days from warehouse to endpoint — throughout the busy global retail season?

For starters, they make sure they have the right tools for the job.

Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) play an increasingly important role in advanced logistical capabilities. Technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) are now essential to the global supply chain, while sophisticated pickers, automated vehicles and facility management systems have become essential for seamless warehouse-floor activity.

iHerb is one Greater Cincinnati company that uses pick systems to keep fulfillment moving at a steady clip. Using these systems — which range in size from small assembly-line models to vast warehousing units — products are pre-loaded, and when an order comes in, a specific code triggers a robot to pick the product and keep it moving through packing and distribution.

Similarly, the Northern Kentucky production sites for L’Oréal USA rely on automated guided vehicles (or AGVs) for seamless order fulfillment and delivery. In recent years, the multinational manufacturer of cosmetics and beauty care products contracted Belgian company Egemin Automation to provide state-of-the-art AGV systems which resulted in increased safety, efficiency and comfort at its sites.

Meanwhile, Kroger and DHL rely on high-tech warehouse management systems to control goods’ flow and storage, while supporting staff performance and accountability.

These modern systems represent just some of the tools and strategies Greater Cincinnati logistics leaders use to produce impressive wins and results like the following:

  • In January 2017, Amazon announced it will build a $1.5 billion Prime Air hub at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). Click here to learn what this means for job creation and our region’s role as a global logistics leader.
  • Kroger will build a $60-million replenishment facility in Northern Kentucky, a move that will create 100 regional jobs and provide direct-to-store distribution services for the eastern half of the country.

To learn more about the companies big and small that make up our region’s growing (and diversifying) distribution/delivery framework, visit REDICincinnati.com, or contact Kevin Donnelly, REDI Cincinnati’s senior manager, business development and project management, at KDonnelly@REDICincinnati.com or (513) 562-8462.