Lead Forensics

Seven innovative technology trends in the warehouse

Efficient warehouses combine technology with manually operated equipment. Artificial intelligence and automated machines work alongside pickers pushing trolleys and packers working at packing tables. Here are seven innovative technology trends that can increase the productivity and efficiency of a warehouse.

1. The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things, commonly known as IoT, uses sensors to connect people and equipment in a network so that information can be collected, shared and stored to improve systems.

2. Robots

Amazon is one of the largest users of robots. It is reported to have over 200,000 robots operating in its fulfilment centres. This does not mean that human workers are not needed – robots work alongside human staff at Amazon.

For many small businesses, robots are too expensive, so they will continue to rely primarily on human employees for picking and packing operations.

3. Modular and flexible storage

It is almost impossible to predict future business levels. Increasingly, warehouses are using modular shelving or racking systems that can be deconstructed, relocated and assembled in different configurations to adapt to changing business conditions.

As the business grows, shelving can be built on top of existing shelves to maximise the full height of the building. Shelving layouts need to be capable of being changed quickly to reorganise inventory.

4. Automated machines

Automated machines are increasingly being used in warehouses. Though warehouses may rely on workers for picking and packing, other services can be automated. Cleaning robots can keep the warehouse clean, drones can be used to check inventory levels and delivery vehicle loading can be automated.

5. Audio technology

Sound technology can improve efficiency. Pickers are guided to items location through audio signal systems. Voice-operated computers and tablets can be used hands free.

6. Warehouse management systems

Warehouse management software is becoming more sophisticated. It can monitor and organise every operation of the warehouse. Systems track the whole order process, from receiving an order and guiding pickers to the order dispatch.

Warehouse management systems can also monitor inventory levels and order new items before they go out of stock.

7. Renewable energy

Warehouses use a large amount of energy to power facilities and keep the building warm and lit. Most warehouses with large roofs are suitable for the installation of solar panels, which reduce energy costs. Some warehouses have wind turbines to generate renewable energy.

The continuing use of manual technology

Despite the advances in warehouse technology, most warehouses rely on manual labour and traditional warehouse equipment made from tubular steel, including trolleys, shelves, benches and tables.

Steely Products continues to supply end users with quality equipment. We recognise that technology can help warehouses be more efficient, but most warehouses are not ready or able to replace all human operators with robots and artificial intelligence. Our trolleys, shelving systems and packing tables have a continuing role to play in the modern warehouse.

To find out more about our warehouse equipment, call us today or use the contact form below.

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