Warehouse automation has replaced humans with technology; This has saved time and money as 3PLs annually invest in new technology to maximize warehouse operations. Here are warehouse automation trends 3PLs should be aware of:
Robots are one of the warehouse automation trends a company should be aware of. So, they’re in most industries across the country—and they’re even in warehouses. Automated solutions are critical to keeping warehouse employees safe and efficient. You can use robotics to boost efficiencies in your warehouse operations. Note that there are different types of robots that you can use for various tasks.
Many warehouses use forklifts to move goods from one place to another. Warehouse robots can guide these forklifts around a warehouse. But do you have to set up an entire system with each type of robot? No way! You have to look at what kind of ecosystem is best for your organization’s needs.
Robotic palletizers can sort outgoing products based on size or weight. This is to allow for more accessible storage. Convenience items like water bottles are perfect candidates for this type of robot. Doing this would be tedious, especially when other items need more attention.
Robotic arm machines help pick and place items onto shelves. They also free up human workers who might have had to go through this process themselves. For example, having a robotic arm machine available makes sense. The robot will help if you need someone else stationed at the front end.
This robot could also work with a selector’s station. It does this by helping them direct the product towards its destination, so it doesn’t get lost amid other boxes or fall off the shelf altogether. Quick read: How To Commence a Supply Chain Analysis.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT is the network of physical devices embedded with electronics. The devices have software and connectivity. So this enables these objects to connect and exchange data.
This term always makes me think of my dad calling me a “driverless car.” When I was little, I didn’t have my own driver’s license yet. He called all kids without charges “driverless cars.”
The IoT has been around for quite some time now. The term was coined in 1999 by the British technology consultant Kevin Ashton. He examined ways to track products using RFID tags. Today, we’ve come a long way toward an enterprise-wide IoT implementation.
As the IoT expands into every aspect of modern life, 3PLs will continue to be instrumental. And this will happen across the globe through their supply chain logistics networks. So, it is becoming more common practice for companies to install IoT technology. This would mean that warehouses would become more connected. Those who are prepared will reap the benefits. This is because firms need to keep up with this fast-paced technology.
A brand-new development in forklift technology is the autonomous variety. There are no levers or buttons for a human operator to press in these models. The forklift receives its instructions from a central control center. The commands travel over wireless signals and are beamed straight to the vehicle.
The technology has been deployed in other industries, such as aviation and shipping. Now it’s being used in warehouses on forklifts. The benefits are many:
- Forklifts don’t have to stop or slow down. When they encounter people or obstacles, they steer around them.
- Forklifts can move faster than those operated by humans. This is because they can follow preprogrammed instructions that consider moving objects.
- Forklifts have sensors that detect high temperatures. It could tip off operators if a fire is present and prompt them to take action before things get out of hand.
- There’s less risk of workers getting injured. This is because robots aren’t as prone to error as human workers.
Warehouse automation is becoming the new standard in warehouse operations. The productivity gains they offer are difficult to ignore. This means the future of warehousing will be automated. Intelligent warehouses are a trend that 3PLs should be aware of. This is because the technology behind them is still emerging.
Smart warehouses have several different advantages over other types of warehouses, including:
- Connecting to other systems to ease efficient communication.
- Improving warehouse safety through automation. Plus, it allows managers to react to any problems.
- Adding automation capabilities This includes things like machine learning algorithms. The algorithms assess data from sensors and cameras. This way, you should increase efficiency in the long run.
Warehouse Automation Trends Can Make Warehouses More Efficient
Automation is the future of warehouses. As long as everything’s going, it’s easy to forget technological benefits. There are various ways in which technology can upgrade and streamline operations. You may be missing out on opportunities. If your warehouse isn’t looking into automated solutions, Here are a few areas where automation can help:
Finding items in a warehouse is stressful and time-consuming. This is true when an article has been misplaced or is hidden under or behind something else. Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) can assist inventory management. It does this by helping employees find what they’re looking for. In the process, employees can focus their efforts on other aspects of the job.
An AS/RS system makes it easy for employees to identify which items are available for pick-up. The system helps you determine which items are available for delivery. No more frantic searching through rows of shelves! If you must retrieve an item from another part of the facility, an AS/RS system will move it from one section to another. So, employees will not spend time driving back and forth between locations. This saves time while also minimizing fuel consumption.
Picking and Packaging
An AS/RS system may be able to streamline processes. It will also choose items from inventory databases. This means less time spent searching by employees. Also, due to robots’ fast pace and accuracy, they can often reduce labor costs. At the same time, they will increase efficiency in the packing process. This presents a win-win situation for everyone involved!
Loading & Unloading Trucks
Many warehouses use forklifts for loading and unloading trucks. Pallet jacks are slower and less reliable than forklifts.
Finally, this post has highlighted the latest warehouse automation trends. 3PLs can’t control which technologies OEMs adopt. But the ones described above will make the most significant difference. Third-party companies will be better positioned to help customers with their budgets. This is possible if they offer customers an even more comprehensive range of choices. Contact sales support for more details.