Warehouse management is, first and foremost, about improvement. Warehouse and distribution centers are constantly on the lookout for ways to evolve. This includes expediting shipping to customers, maximizing space and improving general efficiencies. One way to ensure improvement is to implement new available technologies. Warehouse technology continues to evolve in 2020, changing the expectations of our customers and the entire industry. Today, warehouse managers have a wide variety of new technologies to choose from. As they aim to streamline operations, improve profitability and stay competitive, optimized warehouse operations lead to new opportunities. Let’s take a closer look at the technologies that are transforming the warehousing industry, and why supervisors and CEOs should consider these advances for their facilities.
Warehouse Technology #1: The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the way that all devices are now connected. It is a broad term that indicates how most devices are now connected by a network. This network enables each device or piece of equipment to talk to each other. This allows for a more streamlined process. A warehouse or distribution center that features IoT has more efficient picking and packaging. So, it reduces the workload on human employees. For example, instead of using a human to pull items from shelves, smart shelves indicate the need to automated robotic pickers. The shelf lets the robotic pickers know where each item is located. IoT can play a role in virtually every part of the logistics process, from packing to labeling to shipping.
Warehouse Technology #2: Warehouse Design
In a lot of cases, it is very easy for a warehouse manager to choose short-term favorability over long-term success. For example, a manager might choose to sacrifice efficiency in favor of squeezing as much inventory as possible into the limited square footage. Warehouses in the United States cost an average of $5.50 per square foot, but space efficiency is just as critical as having quantities of inventory in the long-run. New technology can help businesses design, develop and implement an optimized warehouse layout. This maximizes the efficiency of product storage, internal operations, and additional processes in your space. Specialized Storage uses one such piece of technology, CET Configura, to help businesses design the perfect layout. An expert sits down with the company’s key stakeholders to get a better understanding of the business and together, they implement an efficient layout.
Warehouse Technology #3: Big Data
“Big data” has been on the Top 10 list of business buzzwords for a few years now. In the tech industry, big data refers to all the information a company generates and collects. As it relates specifically to warehouse management, big data could include inventory counts, sales figures, or productivity numbers. Any statistic or figure relating to the function of a warehouse business could be considered big data for the industry. Therefore, implementing a system that collects and sort through big data can be very helpful in identifying patterns, missteps, and overlooked efficiencies. This technology features algorithms that navigate through large chunks of your data, identifying patterns and even predicting future changes. Having access to this type of information is not cheap; this technology does represent a significant investment. However, the benefits that a business sees in the long-term from this technology are crucial to meet constantly changing demand.
Warehouse Technology #4: Drones, Robots & More
So many businesses across the United States already adopted the idea of technology like drones and robots replacing humans. This is especially beneficial in scenarios with any heavy or dangerous inventory. These drones, robots and other forms of tech will eventually be capable of autonomous work. This means picking things off shelves, packing in boxes, and shipping orders on their own. However, as of 2020, these machines still require human oversight. The margin for error is not worth entrusting the technology to get it right the first time. As a result, for logistics and distribution, it is inevitable that drones and robots will play a large role in the future.
Specialized Storage Can Help You
As you adopt the technologies mentioned above, finding the right partner to help you plan will be crucial. Specialized Storage has years of experience and a staff of experts to help you maximize efficiency. By properly planning your available space and implementing the most up-t0-date warehouse technology, you can streamline the efforts of your business. Finally, this will make your customers happy much faster, generate word-of-mouth and new leads, and finally, improve the profitability of your business. Learn more about warehouse design and how our team can help you by contacting us today!