My name is Hari Sivaprakasan, and I’m the Chief Operating Officer for Sunland. My role is to really help our teams servicing our customers in various locations, giving them what they need, from a tools perspective, to be successful. Job is to help the site teams drive value to our customers.
Sunland is coming up at our 40th anniversary this June. We are very proud of it. We have been in business for 40 years now, and we have grown tremendously in that timeframe, in the last decade or so, especially the last six to seven years have been a real growth trajectory for us. We have gone from being a predominantly Southeast 3PL to an Eastern Seaboard, Midwest, and now we are in the West Coast as well, in California. We have become a national provider and we are very grateful for Inbound Logistics to recognize Sunland as one of the top 100 3PLs in the US.
We do a lot of dedicated contract operations for some customers. We also have multi-client environments in some port cities, especially Charleston and Savannah, and California as well, really helping bring the multi-client environment for customers who need some flexibility.
In some of the cases, the operation is running well, but we got to take it to the next level, right? What is a focus on continuous improvement? What processes can be improved? How can we improve the metrics, the turnaround time of inventory and products flowing through our buildings? In those cases, when the setup is stable, then technology plays a key role, as well, to take it to the next level.
With this technology, like Vimaan, with the computer vision technology, we get a lot of things and this technology works. It does [inaudible 00:01:44] audits for us. It can read labels and tell us what’s in each location, and compare it against our WMS system. Instead of a human or a cycle counter, going up into third level, fourth level of the racks and trying to count, now you have the drone doing all the work for you, and then the images are available. So, for you to kind of compare against your system, if need be, to see any exceptions are there or any exception reporting, and in some cases, we are integrating for Vimaan software to automatically upgrade our WMS system as well.
Therefore, you’re taking away the human element of it, right? Also, it looks for exceptions, because the Vimaan software is machine learning the whole time and it is looking for exceptions and pattern. Cycle counting inventory accuracy is important. It picks up on packaging damages, picks up on any errors in the labeling side of it as well. There’s quite a bit of exception reporting that could be done, so cycle counting was a motivation. Other big motivation that we are working on in one of our sites as a project now is really the outbound accuracy. The technologies, computer vision sensor, products are going in and out, or in one of our sites, we have the vision sensors mounted on the forklifts for picking and the put away process.
You can make sure that the product is going to the right location. If somebody scans the wrong location and goes somewhere else, it’s going to pick it up and say that this is not going to the right location. It helps drive that, too. Big thing for us was cycle counting, inventory accuracy, and shipping accuracy. We can audit more products going out of the door without adding more headcount to be able to do that. Let’s say a cycle count workforce is turning over and you don’t have fully trained people there, then you help catch more errors with the technology that maybe the team members are missing, and that helps us, or where you needed to have, in a large operation, a 5-10 member inventory team. You can now have a 2-3 member inventory team, which are highly qualified set of individuals.
Now, they’re being more effective because they’re able to deploy the drone technology to get their job done, versus somebody physically going and counting those locations. The images are so high-resolution, and you could be sitting in your computer desk, and you could be scanning through what the drone has done or what your forklift is taking as pictures, and you might be able to solve some problems. Might be some customer complaints that you’re trying to solve. We are learning more about the technology every day. We intended to use it mainly for cycle counting and outbound audit. That’s where the initial deployments are getting worked on and putting in place. Then, there are at least a couple of benefits that we have realized is very helpful for us. From the time we first got introduced to wanting to go into the first project, and then the second project. Now, we are exploring more.
They are there. They want to serve. They want to understand, a lot of good feedback. Do not try to oversell. Try to identify what could be possible and what could help the business situation. We like that collaborative and the consultative approach, because we know that they have our best interests in mind. For me, the differentiator is the team that we work with on the Vimaan side. The experience has been really good. We are really excited because we are working on more complex projects with Vimaan as we speak. We are really excited about what the future is in hold for us as partnership between both our companies.
Learn more about warehouse drones here: Introduction to Warehouse Drones