Smart Warehouse of the Future
Digitization of various logistics and warehousing operations in today's day and age is rapidly becoming an absolute necessity for businesses not only to improve upon their bottom-line but also to maintain a strong competitive edge.
With the advent of digital commerce and modern technology-enabled enterprises, there is an increased need for the warehouses to be smart, intelligent and automated. At the heart of Smart Warehouse, is a combination of a mesh of connected devices and algorithms that make can transform the sensor generated data into actionable insights.
The following dimensions will form the corner-stone of the warehouse of the future:
Internet of Things
About a trillion devices are forecasted to be connected to the internet by 2025, and a significant chunk of those would form a mesh laid across warehouses. These smart connected devices will open the window to a host of applications right from tracking the real-time location of assets, gathering critical conditional parameters, improving warehouse security, automating processes, and so on. Sensors, for instance, can be installed within a warehouse to notify managers when a certain stock goes below a threshold limit. In the example of the food and beverage industry, sensors can warn warehouse operators about food items getting stale, so they can be restocked in time. The IoT will largely eliminate manual intervention and make warehouse management seamless.
Source: IoT in Logistics by DHL & Cisco
Like most sectors, warehouses and distribution centers can tremendously benefit from greater adoption of mobility in their operations. The evolution from desktops to smartphones and wearables has been a major shift in warehousing operations. Handheld devices loaded with smartphone apps, voice interfaces, and smart glasses are optimizing worker movements, picking, packing and kitting operations. Managers can also work on the go and keep track of stock and inventory through mobile dashboards and reports.
Machine learning and Analytics
Today, warehouse managers are keen on analyzing historical data to predict demand as well as optimize asset utilization and warehouse capacity. This is where machine learning and predictive analytics aid in being proactive than reactive. Another use case for analytics in warehousing is to derive insights from the data obtained through sensors in an IoT network. Sensors or smart chips installed throughout a warehouse can yield data about each product’s availability and signal when there is a need to restock.
Warehouses continue to operate under the constant pressure of high costs and expectations of greater operational accuracy. The growing need for collaborative planning, reduction in cycle times, same day shipping, higher throughputs add to that pressure.
The digitization of the warehouse presents an opportunity for businesses to combat these challenges with mature technologies such as Machine Learning and the Internet of Things.
To assist enterprises through their digital transformation journey, Hopstack built a nimble and easy to use software that leverages the Internet of things to power operational visibility and intelligence in warehouses and fulfilment centers.