Warehouse management teams and logistics companies have invested heavily in automation and technological processes, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected the supply chain significantly. Businesses are running towards automation in their supply chains because of the need to adapt to future disruptions and keep up with the warehouse industry trends.
Warehouse automation solutions depend on technology to solve the ongoing challenges in the supply chain. Custom warehouse software developers and vendors are expected to develop systems that will provide answers to unique warehouses across the world. It is imperative to keep up with the new technology and trends to engineer efficient automated warehouse systems for consumers.
Here are some of the warehouse automation trends to look out for in this and the coming year, 2023.
- Industrial IoT
- Voice Technology
- Augmented reality wearables
- Mobile Robots as a Service
- Cloud-based WMS
- Blockchain tech
- Big data and analytics
- Warehouse drones
- Optical recognition
Most modern items, including cars, home appliances, televisions, smartphones, manufacturing machinery, and others, are equipped with software, detectors, processing capabilities, and other technologies that communicate and transfer data through the internet or local communications systems. This is referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT).
IoT can help your warehouse with automated inventory management, sorting and packaging, and even innovative lighting systems on an industrial scale. Remote data access and system control may boost efficiency and cut expenses.
If employees still had to key-in directions or read information on a screen, the new technology would be less beneficial. Those tasks take time, and most individuals have become used to utilizing hands-free technologies, such as Alexa, to place orders or a vehicle phone to make and receive calls securely.
Voice technology can be applied in the warehouse and combined with the right technological tools to make it easier for the workers.
How can voice technology be utilized?
Voice-directed warehousing is called ‘voice picking,’ an eyes and hands-free system that utilizes speech recognition software and voice agent to issue directions to the workers. Employees are expected to put on headsets connected to a management system that assigns them jobs and provides detailed instructions. Voice technology can be utilized in almost all functions within a warehouse, including instructions on shipping and receiving, replenishing inventory, and repairs and maintenance.
Augmented Reality (AR) Wearables
Rather than replacing all of your employees with robots, you may be better fortified to train them to accomplish their duties faster. They’ll take fewer steps to complete each assignment. Common wearables include eyeglasses, wristbands, and headsets. Together with RFID tags and the general warehouse management system, wearables can be utilized by employees to execute their jobs. For instance, when a worker completes their task, the system will automatically log in and allocate the worker another task on the list.
Mobile Robots As A Service
Mobile robots may or may not be similar to automated machinery. A mobile robot is not permanently positioned. They’re designed to move about the warehouse as desired. Warehouse automation robots may be self-contained or follow a predetermined course. Companies may use Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) to implement automation and associated services in a warehouse, including packaging and transportation.
Mobile robots are trends in automation, adopted into warehousing companies quickly because there is no need to change infrastructure since they can integrate easily into the available environment.
A warehouse management system (WMS) that runs in the cloud is referred to as a cloud-based WMS. It may be accessible from any device with an internet connection because of its 100% web-based interface. The firm does not need to keep any hardware since the application is executed and stored on external servers. The customer pays a monthly licensing fee instead of paying for infrastructure or server upkeep.
Cobots or collaborative robots are devices that engage with people in the workplace to relieve employees of more monotonous, complicated, or dangerous jobs. Two critical technologies: AI and machine learning, can be used to apply this breakthrough to create a robot picking warehouse. In this way, cobots don’t take the position of operators; instead, they learn from them how to accomplish tasks with pinpoint precision and minor wear and tear.
The blockchain technology provides a link that can be used by manufacturers, warehouses, suppliers, distribution centers and production centers. The data is subsequently saved and made available to everyone on the network. Using this technology, manufacturers can observe real-time customer demand, enabling them to correctly estimate demand and schedule manufacture and restocking.
Big Data And Analytics
Regardless of the industry, all businesses have inventory, logistics, and supply chains as their backbone, determining their success or failure. Having the best warehouse management in place is critical to logistics and overall company efficiency when it comes to physical goods. The quantity of data or information created daily might be vast, depending on the size and complexity of your company.
Big data analytics led to forecasting, inventory management, and monitoring evolution. Big Data can analyze vast amounts of data that conventional tactics can’t, enabling you to acquire more significant insights to help your warehouse achieve peak performance.
Drones may seem fashionable, but they are finding new applications in enormous warehouses. Drones are an economical and scalable alternative for identifying inventories in difficult-to-reach regions, thanks to enhanced hardware, software advances and decreased equipment costs.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) converts a typed, printed, or handwritten document into a digital form that computers can understand. It eliminates the need to input or enter information manually. Scanning the paper and using OCR software instantly converts it into an editable and searchable file.
The primary focus of warehouses in 2022 is flexibility. The next thing is a continuous business improvement that ensures operations are growing fast in response to external stresses such as increased demand and workforce shortages. The year 2021 was marked by reaction, a painful lesson learned that still stings. The firms that will succeed in 2022 will build up resources to minimize losses, construct high-performing automation, and closely adjust to target customer habits.