Like in most other sectors, technological winds of changes have also blown in the warehousing business’ way. To remain relevant in the business, you have to keep up with the innovations and enhancements of technology.
The adoption of technology can be useful and could add untold value to your business. From supplier information management to automated inventory control, it’s time to realise the huge benefits that the following technologies can bring to your warehouse.
1. A warehouse management system
A warehouse management system (WMS) consolidates all your important warehouse data into one accessible platform. It provides a full map of your operations, with real-time reporting, comprehensible statistics, and full planning utilities.
Using a warehouse management system has the following benefits:
- You have increased visibility of your entire operation through real-time data.
- You receive an accurate forecast of demand.
- It could help reduce errors.
- It provides an efficient labour allocation and reduces your labour costs.
- It streamlines and maps your warehouse processes.
- A WMS is designed to optimise warehouse layouts.
- You’re guaranteed an improved inventory and pick accuracy.
- WMS could decrease the time between picks.
- You could improve your warehouse safety, security, responsiveness, and flexibility.
- There’re improved supplier relationships and customer service.
2. Automated guided vehicles
Automated guided vehicles (AGV) are pre-programmed self-guided warehouse vehicles such as carts and forklifts. They’re an efficient way of developing your transport in stocktake, loading, and put away. AGVs will follow a predesigned path through your warehouse to load and unload boxes, pallets, and other goods.
AGVs can be introduced in your warehouse without having to redesign your existing floor plan or your systems.
3. Automated inventory control
There’s really no need to be using a pen and paper to record your inventory in the 21st century. Why would you risk making data and consistency errors during transcription when you could implement an automated inventory control platform?
Automated inventory platforms enable you to conduct stock counting automatically. They also synthesise your data for accessible real-time accurate reporting.
4. The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the link between all the components of your warehouse. Because you won’t be able to be in two places at the same time, implementing the IoT may be just what you need to be able to have eyes on all your operations.
Because the IoT can link many components of your warehouse, it may indeed help reduce or prevent the risk of costly mistakes or accidents that could create losses in the supply chain.
If you implement IoT, the sensors in your warehouse can monitor elements like atmospheric conditions. IoT can reduce the risk of crime through shared information from stakeholders such as shipping conveyances.
5. The use of robots
If you’d want to share the market with modern and competitive warehouses, you have to seriously consider using robots in your warehouse. Robots can increase the productivity, efficiency, and general performance of your warehouse. Robots are now essential to any productive warehouse operations.
Warehouse automation adds value to warehousing enterprises by taking care of minimal, monotonous duties, thereby leaving humans to concentrate on more complex responsibilities.
6. Collaborative robots
For the best of both worlds, you could try implementing cobots in your warehouse. Collaborative robots work together with human effort. They’re semi-autonomous portable robots devised to assist human employees to do various jobs in warehouses.
Some cobots, for example, act as mobile bins by following pickers around the warehouse. Others can help with transporting goods in the warehouse. Some collaborative robots may have sensors that distinguish between barriers and boxes. This ensures precise navigation throughout your warehouse. Cobots can speed up your orders by delivering selected goods to your workers in different stations in the warehouse.
7. Articulated robotic arms
Articulated robotic arms are designed to perform lift-and-place tasks. They’re used to handle commodities within distribution centres and warehouses. Considering that the arms can manoeuvre items, you could use them for warehouse operations like:
- Picking and Packing
- Receiving and Storing
- Stacking goods
8. G2P technology
G2P stands for goods-to-person. This technology uses an automatic warehouse system to send goods to fixed pick locations where workers fulfil orders. However, G2P systems potentially need significant changes to infrastructure, which could add to large capital expenditures and work stoppage during their implementation.
9. Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS)
Automated storage and retrieval systems have been used for some time now, and they’ve often been accused of being costly and overly rigid. Modern AS’s and RS’s can, however, be said to be sleeker and a bit more portable. They will still give you benefits, including decreased labour costs and increased precision.
The technological advancement of drones has enabled them to operate indoors with better stability and accuracy. The growth of global eCommerce may have led to the expansion of your warehouse. This means there’re times when tasks such as inventory checks and other related logistics may be a nightmare.
Such tedious applications can be taken care of by the use of drones. Indoor drone utilisation in warehouses can be classified into inventory management, indoor intra-logistics, and inspection and surveillance. Using drones in the warehouse could help you turn around such tasks in a fraction of the time you’d take manually.
11. Gamification of tasks
Gamification is whereby you could incentivise your employees by adding video game and scorekeeping elements to your work tasks. It gained popularity through mobile apps and games, and lately, it made its way into the workplace.
Gamification is said to trigger the neurotransmitter linked with compensation and motivation. Some studies have suggested that gamification in the workplace helps with increasing productivity and boosting job satisfaction.
Gamification is also said to prevent boring and repetitive tasks by turning the number of goods picked, and inventory items scanned into games that earn points. It’s certainly worth trying for your warehouse.
The adoption of the right technologies has many advantages to your warehouse, but the most benefit to you is increased productivity and reduced labour costs. Go ahead and try them. Enjoy the convenience. Most innovations have created tools that are cheap, portable, and easy to maintain. What more could you want?