Significant technological developments emerging in warehousing are changing the way goods are received, stored, shipped and distributed. In the coming years, many of the warehouse activities and processes are expected to evolve to the next level with the help of technology, transforming supply chain operations and making it more efficient and productive. The need to react quickly to the latest trends is becoming more prevalent in order to stay ahead in a highly competitive environment. By embracing warehouse digitalization and new technologies, businesses will be able to focus on the right tasks at the right times and improve efficiency in the logistics supply chain thereby enabling them to boost their bottom line and gain significant cost and time savings.
Below are some of the future trends and technologies in warehousing that are all set to transform the warehousing landscape.
Given the ever-changing business landscapes, warehouse management is growing increasingly to become a complex and vital requirement. Warehouse Management System (WMS) is one of the technological trends that is fast becoming a popular software solution in the warehousing landscape. WMS enhances inventory management by making it much easier, faster and efficient. WMS solutions range from simple to complex and are designed to control all of the warehouse activities thus enabling inventory accuracy and improved order fulfilment. The right WMS solution can help logistics companies achieve operational excellence in warehousing by optimizing the various processes involved as well as providing the visibility and the transparency to better manage the inventory thereby leading to minimize operational expenses and improved customer service.
In response to rapidly changing demand for fast deliveries and error-free order fulfilment, logistics companies are turning to robotics to help keep up. Robotics are slowly changing the warehousing environment in the supply chain by simplifying traditional labour-intensive and monotonous tasks and increasing efficiency and productivity. Though robotics has been in use for many years especially in the industrial manufacturing sector, it is only now that they are gaining traction as technological advances which include artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), cognitive computing, etc, have enabled improvement in the way they perform. Today, Robotics is fast becoming a vital part of supply chain automation by adding value to the fulfilment process and bringing advanced functionality to the supply chain.
AGVs-Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)
AGVs are computer-controlled portable robots that are capable of transporting goods from one place to another in the warehouse. They use sensor technology to work and are among the most flexible and scalable automation solutions. They can handle many warehousing applications which includes cross-docking, pallet storage and retrieval, loading and unloading and goods-to-person picking. AGVs can be handy for both small and large enterprises for warehouse inventory management. By investing in AGVs, companies can look forward to reduced labour costs, improved productivity and efficiency in their supply chain operations.
The shrinking labour pool is driving the need to optimize warehouse operations and move to automation and robotics. Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) are enabling fulfilment warehouses to keep pace with the changing demands and significantly improve their capability and efficiency in warehouse operations. Like AGVs, AMRs use sensor technology to deliver inventory in the warehouse. These small robots offer consistent accuracy regardless of the work assigned, helping to increase operational productivity and efficiency. By adopting this technology, logistics companies can streamline the fulfilment process and scale up to meet the changing demand thus enabling better customer service and satisfaction.
Drones or aerial unmanned vehicles are all set to transform the warehousing industry. They have great potential in the logistics industry as they are safe and economical to use when it comes to taking a physical inventory, locating goods, inventory and asset verification, and performing stock-taking operations.
Drones use optical systems along with computer vision to navigate warehouses and when equipped with sensors, camera’s, IoT or RFID technology, they can reach even the most hard-to-reach and innermost areas of the warehouse. With their ability to improve overall operational efficiency, increase accuracy in inventory management and enhance productivity, drones can be a good technological investment that’s worth investing in.
The continual effort to drive costs out of the supply chain and increase the speed and predictability of product movement to meet growing market demands is playing an important part in encouraging many companies to modernise their materials handling capabilities.
Some of the latest technologies in material handling that are put in use include – Software Systems such as forklift fleet management which are used to track vehicle impacts, equipment utilization and operator productivity, automated material handling equipments that increase efficiency and productivity, robotics for automating manual tasks and accurate material handling, mobile technology for displaying data, etc. As technology develops and matures in relation to material handling, warehouses and distribution centres can gain additional opportunities for productivity improvements, cost reduction as well as control over material handling operations.
The benefits of adopting technological advances in warehousing
Companies that invest in the latest technologies that support the overall objectives of their business can see many tangible benefits. These include:
- Improved productivity
- Flexibility to scale depending on changing requirements
- Less operational costs
- Enhanced brand image
- Efficiency in the fulfilment process
- Higher customer satisfaction
Digitalizing warehouse operations and adopting new technologies is a critical factor if you wish to optimize your supply chain and logistics operations and thrive in a highly competitive market. By leveraging on the latest warehousing technology that fits the company’s requirements, you can position your business competitively and keep pace with the continually changing business environment.
If you are looking to optimize your warehousing operations and be future-ready, Alsi Oman can help you with your requirements. Our company has the domain expertise to provide warehousing solutions that will help enhance efficiency and productivity.
Get in touch with us at Alsi Oman to know more.