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The latest in warehouse technology trends

Written by Simon Abi Saad
Created: 18 April 2019

warehouse tech trends

Currently, in thousands of warehouses across the world, many of the essential processes are still being performed manually. Naturally, due to human nature, fulfilment accuracy, absenteeism and shipping delay issues will always be present resulting in reduced profitability and efficiency. However, with the rapid evolution of new technologies, the world will without doubt be dramatically transformed, allowing your warehouse and supply chain to take full advantage.

 

Here at Supply Chain Junction, we’re committed to ensuring you’re kept updated on the latest warehouse technology trends, providing you with the knowledge required to leverage and improve your operations.

 

 

All about automation of man & machine

Warehouses are a popular space for the successful implementation of automation. Whilst much of this technology is in ongoing research and development, a lot of automated and material handling technologies have been in place for decades and are fast becoming required to support the changing fulfilment requirements of the Omni Channel world.

 

There’s considerable pressure ahead for your entire supply chain as we see a continued rise in Omni Channel demand. This is where modern automation will offer significant benefit for your warehouse.

 

Robots significantly reduce labour shortages and can be used individually or as an entire automated system. Using complex onboard navigation guides that utilise intricate warehouse mapping technology, robots are the new workhorses. With customisation a necessity in the modern customer service space, altering customer requests is a labour intensive, manual activity and the evolution of collaborative robots are an exciting progression.

 

There are a growing number of driverless or unmanned technologies, which include drones, forklifts, trucks and shuttles. The drone is currently the most popular and fastest developing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), reputed to have a scanning accuracy close to %. Further, two drones can manage the work of 100 humans over the same time .

 

UAVs are also able to improve processes within your warehouse such as picking, putaway, replenishment and cycle counting all without the need for humans to operate them.

 

While UAVs, or drones, clearly illustrate their ability to add to an optimised warehouse operation, there are a number of limitations to be aware of. In addition to safety and capacity restrictions, a far wider acceptance is required to see their full adoption. Watch this space!

 

 

Mobile & handheld devices

We’re all very comfortable with our smartphones and tablets and their software and it thus makes total sense to incorporate this technology into your warehouse.

 

Many handheld devices are now equipped with scanners, touch-screens, cameras and WiFi and are a lot cheaper than traditional RF scanners. This enables and ensures they are talking to the other forms of technology in your warehouse. Plus, due to their ergonomic design, the potential for workplace injuries due to repetitive tasks is greatly reduced and greatly improves employee engagement and job satisfaction.

 

Further advancements in this space include embedded voice technology enabling the rapid implementation of voice picking.

 

 

Big Data is big news

Unequivocally powerful, big data harvests, processes and interprets the information provided, influencing so much of what happens minute by minute in your warehouse.

 

More than ever, data is readily available and easy to capture. Always be cognisant however, that data is largely irrelevant unless analysed and used positively. Technologies available now use hardware such as sensors, scanners and GPS trackers to establish exactly where inventory and associates are in your warehouse at any given time.

 

Enabling the identification, and even the prediction, of changing customer needs is an advancement that no warehouse can afford to be without. Today we see this positively impacting the planning and execution of labour to satisfy ever-changing customer order patterns and profiles via successful implementation of labour management technology within the warehouse.

 

 

Embedding intelligence with IoT

The internet of things or IoT, is simplifying processes considerably. With internet availability on cell phones and other handheld devices, users can connect and obtain data instantaneously, quickly processing it for analysis. This technology is revolutionising supply chain management as it provides users with immediate visibility thus promoting accuracy. Users can receive a clear picture with immediate tracking updates through GPS location devices and freight accuracy through real-time metrics, enabling decisive analysis capabilities.

 

Providing users with clarity and access to IoT data prevents supply chain interruptions. Combined with cognitive analysis technology, like AI or machine learning, decision making is rapidly increased.

 

 

Cloud-Based Warehouse Management Software

To make the most of all of the efficiencies offered by other technologies, many companies are moving their WMS to the cloud. There are many benefits to this adoption, they include the ability to scale your business as required, with their rapid upgrade ability you will always be able to take advantage of the latest features and functions resulting in a reduced internal IT burden.

 

While cloud-based technology may not be considered brand new, its ongoing innovation ensures there are consistent advancements, especially with its ability to integrate with all of your other technologies, allowing you to keep pace with developments across your entire supply chain.

 

 

The supply chain of the future is here, now.

Rapidly progressing as technology advances and becoming more readily available and affordable, you cannot afford not to have a world-class warehouse management system (WMS) such as Manhattan. IoT and sensor technology has ensured WMSs of the future can accurately map your warehouse, record detailed SKU inventories and reveal your product cycle placement and location literally at the click of a button, all on your request.

 

Use our latest warehouse technology trends to plan an agile and efficient supply chain. Whilst the business may not be able to support all of the changes immediately, it’s the perfect opportunity to build a foundation for innovation.

 

Witness the future, now. Download our Practical Guide to Warehouse Optimisation

 

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