Technology is engrained into our daily lives, both in a personal and professional sense, so it was only a matter of time before it started changing the way we look at distribution and logistics in warehouses. Let’s take a closer look at the technologies that are transforming warehouses, and why businesses are implementing smart technology to improve the way they operate.
Cloud-Based Warehouse Management Systems
Warehouse management systems are a must in today’s fast-paced logistics industry, but most of them use local hardware that limits their capability and means the team must have an IT professional on hand to maintain it. A cloud-based management system uses software as a service (SaaS), creating a system that can seamlessly integrate with existing systems and require minimal management. Cloud-based warehouse management systems are one step closer to turning the logistics and warehousing industry ‘smart’.
Sustainability is a hot-button topic these days, and this focus is changing nearly every industry in the world. Technology can help companies reduce energy consumption, cut down on product waste and lower emissions whilst adhering to government guidelines and regulations. Smart warehouse designs rely on monitors to regulate power usage, becoming more energy efficient over time by powering down when they’re not in use. Technology is helping warehouses become more sustainable through integrated smart technology.
Handheld devices, such as barcode scanners, have always been a part of the logistics and distribution industry in recent years, but the latest technological advances have helped these devices become more vital than ever before. Warehouses that still rely on manual counts and physical paperwork should consider transitioning to digital inventories and handheld devices equipped with RFID scanners and GPS to increase efficiency and reduce theft and inventory loss.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things or ‘IoT’, is a broad term that encompasses all smart and/or networked devices or systems. A warehouse that adopts the IoT can make picking and packaging more efficient by reducing the workload on employees. Instead of sending a member of the team with a list of items to pull, smart storage, such as our smart mobile shelving system which encompasses the ‘IoT’, can help speed up the process.
Smart mobile storage systems offer a whole host of benefits; reduced floor space, increased capacity, ease of access, improved management, and improved security (systems can be locked and you can track access). The integrated software can be programmed to record and document each item stored within the unit. Products can be quickly located and accessed by searching for your item in the database which then tells you the exact location of the product and records you are looking for.
Improved Warehouse Design
Space efficiency is critical when it comes to utilising your warehouse to maximum capacity; this is where the use of effective storage comes in to play. Using new technology can help you find your optimal warehouse layout, maximizing the efficiency of product storage and gaining access to invaluable data to help you review your existing processes. This is all possible with smart storage facilities such as Simplicity smart lockers for example, which produce real-time data reports around access to help you determine the amount and level of storage facilities needed within certain parts of the warehouse.
Big data is a tech industry buzzword that refers to all the information a company generates and collects. In warehouse management, this could be anything from inventory counts to sales and productivity numbers, and everything in between. A big data system collects this information and sorts through it. Algorithms can navigate through the data, identifying patterns and even predicting future changes with a surprising degree of accuracy. While this technology does represent a significant investment, the benefits are nearly limitless and can help transform your building to become a smart warehouse.
Technology Makes the Future Look Brighter
There may be a time a little way down the road where robotics and automation replace the human workforce in the logistics and distribution industry, we’re not there yet. In the meantime, new integrated smart technologies can help improve efficiency and make the job easier for your teams while reducing waste and cutting costs and improving the overall operation of your business.
Contact us to find out more about smart storage systems.