Technology is constantly advancing, with various trends reaching different industries. This includes the warehousing industry, as it continuously applies technology to improve management. Multiple technologies are utilized to take care of repetitive processes and help minimize human errors. More than ever, technology is vital to keep up with business demands for efficient warehousing operations. Here are ways that technology is implemented in warehousing today.
1. Warehouse Robotics For Improved Productivity
A retail business can experience seasonal fluctuations in the demands of customers looking for specific products. For example, during the holidays, shoppers will look for trending items to buy as gifts, like electronics, housewares, toys, and more. Another example is when a sporting goods brand receives more orders or inquiries regarding water sports equipment during summer.
During these times, the staff is more likely to feel stress when there isn’t enough workforce. Sometimes, the company must hire seasonal employees to meet the high demand. The rush to keep productivity up while staying on schedule for deliveries could cause errors in various areas, such as packing the wrong item variant.
Solutions providers or a company like 6 River develop robots to assist in repetitive warehouse tasks like picking, loading and unloading, packaging, and transportation. Robotics can help workers relocate inventory for picking, thus making assembly and fulfillment of orders faster and easier.
2. Drones For Efficient Inventory Management
Among warehousing issues that staff can encounter is the need for inventory visibility. Storing stocks, supplies, and materials in the warehouse can sometimes become challenging when they are difficult to locate. It can result in delayed, incorrect, and partial shipments when specific items are hard to find or identify. Time and money are wasted in the process of looking for particular items that are vital to daily operations. It can also affect fulfillment and could tarnish the reputation of the company.
Warehouses have since employed the use of drones to regain control on account of warehouse goods. Along with drone technology, you can use infrared and video cameras to locate and count the number of stocks you have on hand in a few minutes. Warehouse managers can employ this method to practice safety guidelines and for dispatch through the picking of goods. Drones can assist in accurate inventory recording through faster real-time storeroom auditing.
Management can control drones to fly around warehouse sections, locate boxes or pallets, and scan barcodes. At the same time, drones are instrumental in the success of intralogistics, which is the automation and management of the logistical flow of data and material within the warehouse. For example, drones can also carry materials like samples to specific areas like remote laboratories.
3. Internet Of Things, Scanners, And Sensors For Precision Data Management
The Internet of Things (IoT) covers many practical warehouse data management areas for administrative tasks. It can help monitor goods, inventory management, forecast trends, and real-time operations. The use of IoT can improve customer satisfaction, performance, and productivity.
Also, IoT can be used in many ways, like sensors and scanners for digitizing processes that used to be time-consuming and prone to errors. Back then, through manual means, stocks and inventory were counted, and stock-keeping units (SKUs) were recorded in hardcopies that can be tedious and are subject to mistakes when writing down codes.
To remediate this issue, warehouses began using barcode scanners to scan barcode labels found on pallets or products that digitally copy the barcode in inventory management software. Another option is the use of RFID tags that automatically send data to the warehouse’s central database using an electromagnetic signal. Real-time location tracking using global positioning system (GPS) helps reduce theft and inventory loss.
4. Automated Guided Vehicles For Safety In Operations
Meeting customer demands may sometimes force companies to hire more individuals. That means more people to compensate for and more risks with too many people in the warehouse, such as safety concerns.
With automated guided vehicles (AVGs), warehouse operations are becoming safer for products, materials, and workers. The AVGs can navigate the warehouse layout using directional tools like floor stickers, magnets, lasers, or cameras. Instead of an individual carrying a package, AVGs are used to transport these materials, raw or finished products, around the different sections of the warehouse.
The AVGs are also equipped with GPS to help precisely direct them to specific locations for cargo pickup and delivery. These machines are more efficient as they’re operational 24/7 and move faster.
The AVGs are efficient in increasing safety in the warehouse environment because accidents are unlikely to happen. They can perform heavy lifting and handling of hazardous materials that could risk workers’ health and safety. They can also be directed to work in areas that have high temperatures. Workers are then safe from harm’s way, lessening the company’s liability.
There are more technological integrations that are used in warehouses to improve operations in different areas of management. They enhance data security, lessen human errors, optimize productivity, and provide a safe environment.
5. LED And Solar Panels For Sustainability
Consumer awareness prompts companies to participate in the green economy wherein operations and the business must also benefit the environment. Various industries can participate in many ways, such as adapting renewable energy and energy-saving means.
Green warehousing is accomplished by using light-emitting diode (LED) lighting that can help save up to 85% of energy usage. In turn, fewer emissions are created. Because LED lighting is also long-lasting, it saves on lighting purchases and energy bills.
At the same time, warehouses can use solar panels to draw sunlight and convert it to electric energy. Specific solar systems can convert sunlight and store the energy for later use during power outages. It can help warehouses depend less on energy grids and continue operations during emergency power interruptions.
There are ways that technology is influencing the warehouse industry right now. Various innovations are utilized in the modernization of warehousing to improve productivity, efficient inventory management, precision data management, and safety. Robotics, drones, and automated guided vehicles are some of the technological breakthroughs that warehouses need to make daily operations in the warehouse more manageable by optimizing worker performance, streamlining workflows, and providing a safe environment for staff. Warehouses can also become more sustainable using renewable energy and energy-saving methods.