As the world shifts to more and more online shopping, warehouses are seeing a spike in traffic and the ability to run with the trends and automate their once manual process. Here are some of the biggest warehouse technology trends as we go into the next year of 2021.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to grow and thrive in many industries, especially in logistics and warehouse technologies. The use of AI means you can program the machines to do a task over and over again, 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 more effectively do the job, it can increase productivity and be continuously improving processes over time.
Advanced Data Analytics
For a warehouse to run effectively, it needs to fully utilize big data to be able to know how their processes are working and how to improve them. Advancements in data collection and tracking allow more insights into the business as well as boosting 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 when it comes to inventory planning.
Autonomous Mobile Robots or AMRs are a growing trend in warehouse technology. AMRs work especially great for previously operator reliant machinery. AMRs combine the use of 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 up to 15 times by next year.
Driverless vehicles, or automated vehicles, are different from autonomous mobile robots. Driverless vehicles in the warehouse can help to carry things like pallets and large items to and from locations in the warehouse. The combination of AMRs and driverless vehicles helps to completely 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.
Blockchain technology applications can be used in a multitude of 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, and then 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.
Working in a warehouse requires the use of your hands. You are probably multi-tasking as you load a truck, scan items in, pick, pack, ship, and more. Utilizing voice-activated technologies can free up employee’s hands so they can be more productive and stay organized and un-distracted.
Plus, voice-activated technologies have become incredibly more accurate. No longer do you need to speak loudly and annunciate as much as in the past. It is sensitive enough to pick up your regular speaking voice, and that makes things even easier.
More Mobile Device Capabilities
Many warehouse management technologies continue to make mobile applications more manageable and more 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, which makes navigating the warehouse and accessing a multitude of data more accessible than ever. By being able to scan and search 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.
We see more and more warehouse’s embracing technology to the point that it eliminates paper and tons of waste. By shifting everything to digital, it 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 quite 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.
As warehouse technologies continue to boom and become more advanced, we will see many of these trends and more. 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.