With made-to-order products, personalised service, and priority shipping becoming the norm, your warehouse operations need to get smart. We look at the many ways in which smart warehouse technology can change your business.
Smart warehouse technology is intelligent automation which aids the operations of your warehouse or distribution centre.
Your warehouse has unique requirements and varying customer demands to fulfil and will require a different approach to any other. Different warehouses require a different approach to automation, wave planning, work efficiency, and other smart technologies like MHE and robots.
The ideal warehouse is agile, scalable, and has comprehensive data visibility for management and labour alike.
Smart technology is the bottom line for top-performing warehouses.
Automation of manual tasks allows you to reduce the number of workers on the floor at any given time. With labour in certain regions in short supply (for example, Saudi Arabia), this is critical to the success of your business. In warehouses elsewhere in the world, the volume : efficiency ratio is what needs to be addressed. With automation, workers can get more done in the time they have, thanks to efficiency streamlining.
Quick response and accuracy in order processing is the top consideration in customer satisfaction and high profitability. Using interconnected or interfaced systems to improve planning and visibility allows you to respond faster and process more effectively.
As touched on above, visibility and transparency are critical to a robust warehouse process. The more you know about your inventory, handling procedures, labour activities, warehouse conditions, and more, the better your customer communication and response to challenges.
Scalability requires transparency and agility in all your warehouse processes. Should you expand your warehouse operations, diversify your product offering, or even downsize your warehouse area, a smart warehouse system will scale with your warehouse and help you avoid service interruption, communication downtime, and labour shortages or overload.
Changes in demand have become the norm, not the exception, and from this, floor space requirements and utilisation in your warehouse are variable. Adjusting your approach to change as the conditions do is recommended; adjusting your operations to accommodate the changing demand of customers is critical.
There’s no need to hop into the deep end. Start at the beginning and build your smart warehouse from the ground up.
Why? Your visibility, planning, and analytics capabilities will expand to accommodate any future smart technology, demand changes, or process upheaval you may face. Start here.
Why? Everybody knows why inventory management is so important. The automated inventory gives you real-time data on your inventory, counting and reporting any changes as they happen.
Why? Accurate labelling is the key to keeping track of your inventory – no matter how you manage it. Bringing this capability into your warehouse allows your workers to receive, label, store, pick and pack with fewer errors and losses.
Why? Handheld scanners speed up your inbound and outbound processes, save enough paper to rescue multiple forests, and reduce inventory losses due to misdirection or theft of goods.
Why? Reducing the margin for error in your outbound order processing will allow you to deliver faster, more accurately, with less chance of product damage.
Why? These autonomous vehicles - like forklifts and pickers - operate independently of your labour, reducing time wastage and human error.
Why? The Internet of Things is made up of connected technology in your warehouse. Once you’ve built up the support structure – your WMS – you can add your smart technologies to the mix for improved efficiency and productivity.
We haven’t touched on Robots, Automated Storage and Retrieval, or Sustainability yet – our next Smart Warehouse Technology blog will look at these technologies and give the low-down on the advancements, pitfalls, and benefits.