4 Ways Warehouse Technology Improves Making Distribution Safer & More Efficient
Nowadays, technology is gaining more and more momentum as it causes faster, cheaper, and more efficient innovation, which affects just about every facet of our lives. From our mobile devices to the internet and even how our food is produced, technology impacts such speed and volume that it can make your head spin.
Along with this tsunami of change is the improvement through technology in warehousing and logistics service. It has played a significant role (and will continue doing so) in the increase of efficiency and productivity in fulfilling our customer’s needs. This is by doing on-point delivery and reducing lead times.
So the question is: What are the things that are happening right now that help the warehousing and logistics industry move forward with more accuracy and efficiency? Let’s keep in mind that the goal is to be lean, move with better agility, deliver accuracy, and have minimal to no errors in fulfilling customer orders.
This process has always been proven to be effective in using analytics to forecast demand predictions. Meaning, with the help of automation, the warehouse no longer has to contend with overstocking or even understocking. Too many stocks may add up to an increase in storage costs, which could mean more expenditures that will have to be deducted from the profit margin.
On the other hand, too few stocks could result in delivery delays that could mean the loss of customer confidence. Automation keeps the warehouse on schedule and with optimal stocks on hand. It also keeps storage costs at low levels translating to added income by way of savings. With physical mobile robots moving in tandem doing the auto-stock management, makes for a better inventory and accurate handling of stock movement.
2. Internet of Things
IoT is primarily defined as a system of intersecting computing digital and mechanical machines that work together. It includes other peripheral items such as objects, humans, and even animals. They all have unique ID’s while they work together to transfer data without having to wait for human intervention. This type of technological interaction acts as a total ecological system of both hardware and software that creates streamlined operations with little to no downtime.
Sensors and barcodes are just some things that work with Inventory management to make the inventorying process more accurate. Instead of employees manually punching the number code on items which is prone to error., they can now use sensors to scan the barcode, and the item is accurately identified and ready to go. In turn, the information gathered from the items is brought to the cloud for documentation and analysis.
Mobile devices are now equipped with bar code scanners as It allows the user to input or lift information from the cloud immediately. An employee would have to use a dedicated barcode scanner in the past, which is now replaced by a mobile device that can do more than scan. It can also do GPS tracking to show the item’s exact location, which reduces the risk of item loss or theft.
GPS also allows for real-time tracking for the delivery process that is en route to the customer. There is so much more going on in IoT to improve the warehouse operations‘ automation aspect. It even includes tasks that can already be done by robotic machines. These robots can now simultaneously process, pick, label, and pack at the same time.
It would be advantageous for the owner of the warehouse to consider Netsuite Implementations for the complete automation and intelligent operation of his services.
3. Drones and Robots
Efficient, accurate, and relatively inexpensive in the long run, robots are here to stay. This is especially true in repetitive tasks inside the warehouse. It can potentially triple productivity while rarely experiencing downtime.
Amazon, for one, has already begun to automate physical work in the warehouse by buying Kiva systems. A company that specializes in robotics for business applications. Amazon has decided to buy 30,000 units to be distributed in its centers around the world.
The robot pretty much does everything an employee can do in an accurate manner while requiring little to no rest. However, it is still being operated under supervision and monitoring by humans. Furthermore, drones are already being eyed to take over last-mile deliveries.
A sub-company named Prime Air by Amazon is being built to deliver packages by air using drones. They aim to deliver in less than 30 minutes. It is expected to be operational in the near future.
4. Artificial Intelligence Data Processing
This is it. It’s called machine learning. Some people might confuse AI with automation; however, these are two different things. It’s no secret that AI overshadows automation by a considerable margin. AI works not only to automate but also to learn how to improve and to optimize picking routes for collaborative robots. It then enhances time and efficiency, which ultimately cuts costs and saves money.
Remarkably, AI does all of this learning all on its own. It mimics a warehouse manager as it makes practical decisions to optimize operations, improving delivery lead time. One of the many benefits to this is that it allows humans to go to higher work processes like multi-tasking and other executive-level decision-making activities.
With these tremendous technological changes happening, the warehousing and logistics industry will always be on the beneficial side of the business as it reaches for the goals it wants to achieve.