If you work in the warehousing industry, it’s likely that you’re familiar with the term “technology.” The reality is that the world of warehouse logistics and supply chain management has been transformed by technology. In fact, it’s not uncommon for some warehouses to have more technology than many office buildings. That said, there are some specific areas where emerging technologies are making a big difference in efficiency and productivity within warehouses.
Technology Helps Make Warehouses More Efficient
As a warehouse manager, you’re probably familiar with the many benefits that warehouse technology can bring to your facility. There are several warehouse technologies on the market today that can help improve efficiency and reduce costs, waste, and the risk of accidents. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Warehouse Management System
A warehouse management system (WMS) typically includes a set of tools and applications that are used to automate and optimize the various tasks and processes involved in managing a warehouse, such as receiving and storing inventory, picking and packing orders, and shipping products to customers. Some of the key benefits of using a WMS include improved efficiency, accuracy, and productivity, as well as better inventory control and cost savings. In addition, many WMS systems include features that help businesses comply with industry regulations and standards, as well as provide real-time visibility into warehouse operations.
Warehouse Control System
A warehouse control system is a software tool used to monitor and/or track your inventory in real-time. This allows you to optimize the flow of goods through your warehouse which results in increased efficiency, more accurate inventories, and fewer employee hours required for restocking.
A typical warehouse control system contains several components: it collects data about what products are being moved through the system (the “targets”), analyzes that data to provide insight into target activity trends, then uses that analysis to direct decisions about what should be done next (the “actions”). Warehouse control systems can also help with forecasting based on past performance or predicting future demand based on seasonal trends or other factors.
In addition to tracking individual products as they move through different parts of your warehouse, many systems also allow for tracking at an item level — meaning you can see how often each individual piece is being handled by multiple employees over time so you can schedule more efficiently. The result? Fewer mistakes are made by workers who don’t understand their role within this larger process!
Warehouse Robotics and Automation
When it comes to warehouse robotics and automation, the possibilities are endless. No matter what your needs are, there’s a solution out there that can help you get the job done better and faster.
Robots in warehouses are typically used for tasks such as picking and packing items, moving and organizing inventory and transporting goods from one location to another. They are programmed to follow specific instructions and work efficiently and accurately to ensure that orders are fulfilled quickly and accurately. Some robots are also equipped with sensors and cameras to help them navigate the warehouse and avoid collisions with other objects or workers. In general, robots in warehouses help to improve productivity, reduce errors and improve overall operational efficiency.
So, what exactly does all this mean? It means that if you’re interested in improving efficiency at your warehouse or distribution center, then robotics is worth exploring further. It’s important to remember that warehouse technology alone isn’t enough; it must be paired with solid business processes so that everyone knows what their role is and how they contribute to overall success.
It’s no secret that voice technology is the future of warehouse management. A smart voice-enabled system can help you improve efficiency, accuracy, productivity, and reduce errors. As a result, it can have a positive impact on your bottom line.
Voice technology allows you to automate tasks. You can use voice technology to automate various tasks, such as picking items off shelves or scanning barcodes on pallets. The ability to do these things hands-free means that your workforce will be freed up for more important tasks like customer service and quality control checks instead of being tied down by the monotony of mundane warehouse activities.
Voice technology helps you improve accuracy. Having accurate information is essential for any business, but especially in warehousing because there are so many different products that need tracking, from item number coding through inventory management systems all the way to delivery schedules.
3D simulation is a great way to test your warehouse layout before you build it. 3D simulation allows you to visualize and experience your warehouse layout, including all equipment and materials before they are physically in place. This enables companies to optimize storage, reduce costs and improve productivity.
3D simulations also allow companies to better understand their supply chain logistics. Companies can use this warehouse technology to plan their supply chain by visualizing the flow of products through warehouses and distribution centers (DCs). This helps them avoid bottlenecks or other issues that could arise during the transportation or delivery of goods within the supply chain.
Sensors and Connected Devices in the Warehouse
Sensors and connected devices can be used to monitor warehouse conditions, including temperature, humidity, light levels, and noise. Sensors worn by workers can also track their activity levels — helping to improve worker productivity and safety.
In addition, sensors and connected devices can be used in conjunction with machine learning algorithms to monitor product quality across a warehouse or distribution center. For example, if the quantity of defective products increases over time (or if no defects are found), this could indicate that either the packaging needs improvement or there is an issue with one or more machines that are causing product damage during processing.
Finally, sensors and connected devices can also be used in conjunction with machine learning algorithms to monitor inventory levels throughout a warehouse or distribution center. By monitoring how much inventory has been moved from one location on an average day vs. another location on an average day — and making comparisons between different locations within a facility — companies gain insight into where they may need additional storage options for specific types of products (including shelf-stable items like food).
Emerging warehouse technology systems are quickly changing the way you can manage your facility and how efficiently you can fulfill and distribute products.
As we’ve seen, there are a lot of ways technology can make your warehouse more efficient, and the benefits just keep coming. There’s also an opportunity for greater visibility into what is happening in your facility, which will allow you to make better decisions about the future direction of your business and how it interacts with customers.
About the Author:
Bill Denbigh serves as the vice president of product marketing at Tecsys. Bill started working in supply chain software some 30 years ago; his entire career has been laser-focused on designing and building pragmatic supply chain solutions that address the real problems that customers are facing in their supply chain operations. Bill has worked on virtually every aspect of the software in the supply chain, gaining insight into the inner workings of some of the industry’s most complex challenges; Bill, however, tackles those challenges with a no-nonsense levelheadedness that has earned him great repute both internally and among customers.