Technology in Warehousing: Ultimate Guide on Innovative with 10 Trends
Warehouse technology is used in the logistics industry for operations automation, productivity enhancement, and efficiency maximization. At the same time, technology in warehousing aims to improve the processes of inventory control, order fulfillment, and the internal movement of goods in one warehouse or between warehouses.
The market of warehouse automation solutions is predicted to reach $38.23 billion in value by 2027.
We’ve created a comprehensive article explaining how to choose warehouse technologies and how to implement them in business operations.
Technology Overview, Trends, & Statistics
Despite this, consider that more than 80% of the warehouses have no automation.
Only 15% of warehouses are mechanized, and only 5% use sophisticated automation and equipment. As a result, companies are wasting a lot of money.
Problems You Can Solve by Using Warehouse Technologies
- Automates control over logistics operations
- Coordinates multiple logistics processes and programs
- Organizes employees and vendors by syncing the tasks of operators and machines
- Provides real-time stock control
- Maximizes efficiency in logistics operations
- Guarantees greater ROI
Ready to innovate your warehouse and streamline operations?
Get in touch with MLSDev for a discussion of your operations and requirements. We’ll help you decide what solution you need to improve business operations.
Top 10 Technologies to Utilize in Warehouses
A lot of technologies are finding their way into warehousing.
Depending on your business needs, you can automate data processing, implement robotics instead of manual work, or adopt cloud technologies.
Let’s look at some of the most popular technologies in warehousing.
1. Warehouse Management Systems
Such a solution should provide the following benefits:
- An overview of the whole supply chain
- Accurate demand forecasting
- Efficient labor allocation and reduced labor costs
- Better inventory accuracy
- Efficient warehouse processes
- Better warehouse security
- Reduced level of warehouse injuries
- Better relationships with suppliers
- Maximized space utilization
- Improved profitability
There are numerous solutions for warehouse management, including TECSYS Warehouse Management, vTradEX Warehouse Management System, Microlistics WMS, and many others.
2. Automated Picking Tools
Picking the technology provides several benefits:
- Supports accurate picking and packing
- Reduces walking time and shorten picking routes
- Improves labor allocation
- Reduces human error
- Provides near-perfect picking rates
The solution reduces the heavy manual work, such as lifting, that Amazon employees need to do every day.
3. Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)
There are a few types of AVGs:
- Unit load AGV — this is a type of compact vehicle for transporting a single (or multiple) unit load for long distances. AVGs of this type can’t pick up loads and work in sync with other equipment that can pick and load goods.
- Forklift AGV — this is a pallet truck that picks up floor-level pallets and stacks them at various heights.
- Towing AGV — this tugger vehicle is like a train; it drags one or more non-motorised carriers loaded with goods to deliver them across warehouses.
4. Robotics & Automation
Robotics and automation are interconnected solutions that streamline warehouse operations.
Walmart partnered with Symbotic to introduce robotics to their distribution centers back in 2017.
Before you start with the development of such a solution, first understand the following points:
- Processes you want to automate with robotics
- Average weight and size of your products
- Level of human involvement in the processes
- Conditions where robots will work
5. Cloud Technology
Cloud technology is a must-have in modern warehouses. Instead of putting physical servers in your warehouse, you can find a suitable provider and store all business data in the cloud. You can store anything there — from inventory records to sales numbers and analytical data.
6. Business Intelligence & Predictive Analytics
The use of business intelligence solutions brings several benefits:
- Marketing team can track campaign metrics and customer behavior in real-time
- Finance department can see what affects profit and loss
- Sales team can use BI to track KPIs
- Operation department can optimize business operations
7. IoT Technology
The Internet of Things (IoT) connects devices, such as sensors, barcode scanners, mobile phones, and wearable gadgets into a network of equipment.
Verizon Connect offers advanced GPS fleet tracking software that allows users to monitor and manage a mobile workforce. The solution helps uncover hidden costs and reveal the potential for higher productivity and efficiency.
8. Blockchain Technology for Warehousing
Blockchain in warehouses can change key operations — from inventory management to transportation tracking. Thanks to data transparency, manufacturers can manage product origins, track products back to their manufacturers, and ensure that they are using authentic products.
IBM Blockchain is a great example of this technology being used in warehousing. Thanks to the use of a blockchain, partners within a supply chain can share trusted data from the allowed blockchain solutions.
9. AI Technology
Artificial Intelligence works with other technologies, such as machine learning, neural networking, deep learning, computer vision, and speech and visual recognition.
10. Mobile & Wearable Technologies
Mobile and wearable technologies are small devices users wear or carry around. They allow employees to view the necessary information while moving through the warehouse.
Zebra WS50 is an excellent example of wearable devices and their use in warehouses. The device is the world’s smallest all-in-one Android enterprise-class wearable mobile computer and an industrial barcode scanner.
Things to Consider Before Using Warehouse Technologies
We’ve analyzed all the points you need to consider before jumping in head-first.
These technologies provide everything you need right out of the box while ensuring a fast and easy setup process. Typically, they are great for small businesses with requirements that fit the capabilities of off-the-shelf solutions.
What is Customized Technology?
Customized solutions are great if you have intricate business needs that ready-made technology can’t meet. These solutions are better suited for big businesses with extensive warehouses across different locations.
Ready-Made vs. Custom Solutions
Between ready-made and custom solutions, which should you choose?
Ready-made solutions provide a pack of features. Your business might need only some not others; however, the provider will charge you for the entire package of functionality.
With custom solutions, you can invest in the development of only those features that you need. In the long run, building a custom solution might be more cost effective than using one that is ready-made.
- Integration capabilities
Here are a few solutions you might want to integrate your warehouse system with:
1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
2. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
3. Product Information Management
MLSDev, a software development agency, can help you build custom solutions based on your business needs. We use a microservices architecture to make solutions easy to customize, scale, and support. When your business continues to grow, you’ll be able to extend the functionality, add new integrations, or customize the existing features.
3-Step Process to Incorporate Technology
Before incorporating technology in warehousing, let’s start with a few things to consider.
1. Define Business & Technical Requirements
2. Select a Suitable IT Vendor
You need to take into account a few factors in order to make the right choice:
- Portfolio of successful projects
- Technologies the company uses
- Positive client reviews
- Similar projects in the portfolio
- Location and time difference
3. Set Your Budget & Create Version 1.0
Final Takeaways on Implementing Warehouse Technology
Let’s briefly summarize the key points:
- These technologies automate tasks and reduce the time, errors, and effort needed for manual and repetitive tasks
- You can use numerous technologies in a warehouse such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, blockchain, robotics, wearables, automated picking tools, automated vehicles, and other smart devices
- Understand your business needs in order to choose the right solution. Sometimes, a ready-made warehouse solution will do the job, while in other cases, you’ll need to invest in custom-made development
- After you know your requirements, find the right tech partner to build the custom-made solution for your business