Technology has changed our everyday life over and over again. From the rise of the internet in the mid-to-late 90s to autonomy and smartphones throughout the 2000s, we’re seeing a whole new world that our ancestors could only dream of.
Warehouses get the best of technology changes, and they see some of the fastest increases and rises in technology. From robotics to cloud computing, there are so many ways to increase the productivity of your warehouse. But are you truly taking advantage of everything you should be?
Find out how you can make better use of technology in this blog!
Robots, Machines, and the Rise of Autonomy
Robots and machines have long been a conversation of the future. Still, they’re finally starting to become a more usable feature and more readily available to warehouses throughout the country and world.
If you’re trying to use robots and autonomy more throughout your warehouse,check out this resource. This video helps give an idea of how robots have helped warehouses keep up with the surges in ordering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to grow and thrive in many industries, especially logistics and warehouse technologies. The use of AI means you can program the machines to do a task repeatedly, and machine learning means they learn from experience, and their processes can change. Machine learning is incredibly advanced, and because the machine “learns” how to do the job more effectively, it can increase productivity and continuously improve processes over time.
Finding some way to regularly use AI within your warehouse management system isn’t as difficult as you think. ManyAI solutions are incorporated into warehouse management systems, supply chain management, retrieval systems, and automated guided vehicles.
Autonomous Mobile Robots or AMRs are a growing trend in warehouse technology. AMRs work especially great for previously operator-reliant machinery. AMRs combine robotics, AI, and machine learning to create a much faster way of picking up or putting back items onto shelving, etc. An AMR can work autonomously in a warehouse without the need to be on a track or having a programmed system in place that limits its mobile ability. This article claims that the number of robots in a warehouse could increase by 15 times by next year.
United States-based warehouses have spent billions on these robotics and are expected to spend nearly27 billion by 2025.
Driverless vehicles, or automated vehicles, are different from autonomous mobile robots. Driverless vehicles in the warehouse can help carry things like pallets and large items to and from locations in the warehouse. The combination of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and driverless vehicles helps to streamline the transport of items throughout the warehouse without the need for cumbersome forklifts and other vehicles that take up more space and can be at risk of injury to those around.
Cloud Computing and Logistics
The cloud, blockchain, and other logistics and computing software can make a dramatic increase in a warehouse’s productivity. Cloud computing gives your warehouse employees the ability to scan inventory into a software system that helps with space optimization and lower labor costs by automating inventory counts and management that employees had previously done.
Blockchain technology applications can be used in many industries and can fully streamline how processes work and link them all together in a way that makes sense. Virtually each “block” of the chain is for a specific transaction, plus who is involved, and it gets more granular as the chain goes on. This allows users full, live access to a multitude of data and transactions in one easy-to-view format.
For a warehouse to run effectively, it needs to fully utilize big data to know how their processes are working and how to improve them. Advancements in data collection and tracking allow more insights into the business and boost predictive analytics.
Predictive analytics is an incredibly useful warehouse technology that can help increase efficiency in all aspects of the supply chain. It can give more visibility to market trends, future pricing, shipment delays, or restrictions and get everyone ahead of the game regarding inventory planning.
Employee Friendly Technology and Productivity Tools
Modern warehouses should constantly improve productivity and workplace safety and make their human workers more excited to be at work. One thing that helps with this is implementing technology that makes their jobs easier. Here are two great tools that can be implemented in any typical warehouse.
Working in a warehouse requires the use of your hands. You are probably multi-tasking as you:
- Load a truck
- Scan items in
Utilizing voice-activated technologies can free up employees’ hands to be more productive and stay organized and un-distracted.
Plus, voice-activated technologies have become incredibly more accurate. You no longer need to speak loudly and enunciate as much as in the past. It is sensitive enough to pick up your regular speaking voice, which makes things even easier.
More Mobile Devices and Mobile Capabilities
Many warehouse management technologies make mobile applications more manageable and accessible. It’s likely your warehouse still has a combination of desk computers, laptops, portable scanners, and mobile phones so you can work on the run.
Eventually, your entire warehouse could work in a fully mobile capacity, making navigating the warehouse and accessing a multitude of data more accessible than ever. By scanning and searching items from anywhere, you can shave off time and energy from past workflows. Eliminating the need for manual input of barcodes and data will continue to be a trend every year.
Rethinking Distribution Centers and Modern Warehouses
For decades, warehouses haven’t been attractive parts of society, and instead are looked down on as places to work. But, there are ways that modern warehouses and distribution centers can be re-imagined to provide a better place for employees and a more positive view from the community.
Going Green and Limiting Emissions
We see more and more warehouse’s embracing technology to the point that it eliminates paper and tons of waste. Shifting everything to digital can save your company a lot of money and make a drastic impact on the planet by eliminating the amount of paper used and thrown away.
Also, as the industry shifts to more robots and automated vehicles, these electric devices do not require the same amount of materials or fuel to run. A fully electronic driverless vehicle is easy to maintain, update, and repair at a much lower cost.
New Warehouse Locations and Efficiency
Warehouses need to find ways to cut costs to provide lower costs to their customers while still paying a competitive wage to their employees. One way to do this is by implementing many of the technologies above to help avoid human errors and increase productivity, but another way is to build warehouses more efficiently and closer to their customers.
Many warehouse companies have recently been building locations closer to their customers and in locations where land is cheaper to improve on their cost basis.
Take Your Inventory Management Automation to the Next Level
As warehouse technologies continue to boom and become more advanced, we’ll see new technologies and trends all the time. The warehouse management software we utilize, topShelf, continues to keep up with the ever-changing market. TopShelf can help your warehouse use technology to the utmost degree and will allow you to focus on improving processes and speeding up shipments.
- Inventory Management Systems: A Comprehensive Guide For Warehouse Managers | Scout Inc.
- Write Eye-Catching And Engaging Product Descriptions (Guide)
- Why Is Inventory Management Important? | 8 Things To Know In 2021 | Scout Inc.
- Blind Shipping: What Is It & Should You Use It? [Breakdown]
- #1 Purchase Order Software | 3 Ways TopShelf Got Even Better