Technology is constantly evolving and this is certainly the case in warehouses. Not only are companies moving from paper based systems to warehouse management software (according to recent research), they are also looking to get the edge on their competitors by taking advantage of the latest innovative warehouse technologies. We list 5 of the latest technology trends that are currently being used in warehouses.
Although robot technology to some still seems like a million light years away, in reality we are just seeing the beginning of how they can assist in warehouses. Many see robotics as a way to help retailers keep up with increasing consumer demand due to rise of online orders.
Logistics giant DHL have recently announced that they have successfully tested the use of robot technology in one of their warehouses. The robot is effectively a fully automated trolley that follows pickers through the warehouse and takes care of most of the physical work, allowing staff to work hands free.
Commonly used in the military, drones are beginning to become more common in larger warehouses. Two of the biggest companies in the world, Walmart and Amazon both see potential in the technology.
Walmart are currently testing custom-built drones to look for misplaced stock in their vast warehouses and capture images in real-time. Amazon are currently testing a drone delivery system that aims to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less.
Normally you wouldn’t associate forklifts with advancements in warehouse technologies, but Crown Equipment have developed trucks that help them make optimal use of their warehouse space.
Alongside the development of very narrow aisle (VNA) racking, the specialised trucks have laser guided fork positioning, Quick Change Load Wheels that can be changed in 2.5 minutes and a reach lift height of 17.1m. All of which are designed to drive down storage and material handling costs.
As we have discussed in a previous blog post, the use of handheld devices in warehouses is increasing, with one study finding that by 2018, 66% of respondents plan to use handheld mobile devices with real-time access to WMS systems.
Types of handheld devices in warehousing include:
- Radio Frequency (RF) devices
- Smartphones and Tablets
- Total Mobile Solutions
- RFID devices
These have started to become more prominent in warehouses. Some of the most well-known include:
- Voice Control Headsets – Being first used in the late 1990s, voice control headsets are one of the oldest wearable technologies that are mainly used in warehouses. They are often linked with ERP software, to give real-time inventory updates.
- Smart Watches – Because of their similarity to fitness bands, these can be used to track your employee’s efficiency, by tracking how many steps they take when they’re completing a certain task. They can also display KPI information so you can ensure customer service levels are met.
- Smart Glasses – Although not widely used at the moment, smart glasses allows operators to work hands-free, as well as become more efficient due to no longer needing to use paper to record movements in the warehouse.
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