Cutting-edge automation is transforming the way warehouses operate. Businesses that take advantage of the industry’s most recent trends have an easier time tracking inventory, combatting labor shortages, predicting fluctuations in supply and demand, and so much more. With modern innovation on your side, you can navigate challenges and optimize your business’s workflow to continuously achieve fantastic results despite the ups and downs of the industry.
Warehouse automation trends are about more than just the latest technology. Management systems, data analysis programs, and mobile applications all help warehouses and their teams improve flexibility, efficiency, and productivity. Learn more about the different warehouse automation trends that are changing the industry with this overview.
Monitor and Control With Warehouse Management Systems
As businesses implement more technology—especially automatic solutions—they need overarching systems to control all the moving parts of their operations. Warehouse management systems (WMS) empower better monitoring and control over all day-to-day operations within your facility. The ability to manage inventory, monitor workflow, and track movement throughout the supply chain allows businesses to quickly identify and adjust to fluctuations.
A good WMS acts as an all-encompassing system that connects and optimizes your entire facility. From generating schedules to suggesting optimized floor layouts, your WMS encourages more efficient use of time, space, and energy throughout your warehouse.
Your WMS should be flexible, secure, and intuitive—that’s why cloud-based WMS platforms are growing in popularity. Cloud-based solutions are easier to integrate into your existing IT infrastructure. They also offer better mobility and the promise of growth and scalability.
Boost Operating Speeds With Collaborative Robots
As both artificial intelligence and robotic technologies improve, robots are beginning to play a more significant role in industrial facilities. Collaborative robots, often nicknamed cobots, exist to work alongside employees. Robots are able to accomplish repetitive tasks with greater speed and consistency than manual alternatives. They specialize in jobs that are tedious, physically demanding, hazardous, or detail-oriented.
While robots improve operating speeds for monotonous tasks, employees are free to fulfill roles that require creativity, adaptability, and problem-solving skills. With robots and employees working side-by-side, you can establish a seamless and efficient workflow capable of accomplishing greater levels of productivity.
Increase Safety and Efficiency With Laser Guided Vehicles
With laser guided vehicle systems (LGVs), your employees don’t have to spend time moving back and forth throughout your facility. LGVs are able to transport product loads safely and quickly between stations without an operator or employee supervision. This keeps products and materials moving throughout your workflow while freeing up employees to focus on more important tasks.
LGV technology doesn’t need embedded anchors or other equipment that requires time-consuming installations. That means you can quickly and easily implement LGV routes in your warehouse. You can also reorganize vehicle routes throughout your facility with minimal hassle.
Scalability is another reason why LGVs are among the top warehouse automation trends changing the industry. Businesses can purchase LGVs one at a time, or implement an entire fleet at once. The flexibility, ease of installation, and immediate efficiency boost make LGV technology a worthwhile investment for any warehouse.
Implement Wearable Technology for Better Focus
Mobile technology and automation increase flexibility throughout your business, which is why many warehouses are investing in wearables for various members of their workforce. Wearable technology refers to web-connected devices—such as wristbands or headsets—that employees can wear as they work. Wearables connect to cloud-based platforms, like your WMS or a real-time inventory program, so employees can access accurate, up-to-date information regarding operations.
Wearables can assist with a wide variety of tasks, including stocking, picking, receiving and shipping products, warehouse navigation, and more. Depending on which kind of wearables you choose and the software they’re connected to, you can use these devices to optimize picking paths, increase order accuracy, and eliminate time-consuming and wasteful paperwork.
Improve Speed and Accuracy Through Automated Picking Processes
Picking can be a daunting, time-consuming task, but various automated solutions make it faster and easier than ever. Automatic picking technology, such as auto-picking robots, creates a more efficient way to navigate your entire inventory and produce orders with speed and accuracy. Real-time data from cloud-based inventory systems also helps boost picking productivity.
Other picking solutions serve to assist human pickers in their workflow. For example, voice picking combines wearable technology and cloud-based WMS solutions that allow someone to issue verbal commands to guide workers through the picking process. This improves inventory navigation, order accuracy, and focus.
Minimize Downtime With Predictive Maintenance Tools
Less machine downtime means better productivity. One way to minimize downtime is to be more proactive about repairs and maintenance. Predictive maintenance tools include equipment monitoring technology like sensors, data analysis software such as your WMS, and more. These solutions monitor equipment while also tracking previous inspections and repairs, giving you a better idea about the conditions of your equipment.
Predictive maintenance tools can also automatically schedule maintenance tasks or routine inspections. With more proactive maintenance solutions, your facility can enjoy less machine downtime, higher safety standards, fewer costly repairs, and longer equipment lifespans.
Utilize Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems
Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) help move products quickly and accurately throughout your facility. By taking established routes through specific warehouse locations, AS/RS technology can transport products and materials without the assistance or supervision of employees. Once again, this is an automated solution that allows you to better optimize your workforce so employees can focus on more skilled labor.
AS/RS technology also improves order accuracy and efficiency. Moreover, AS/RS layouts are able to work with higher storage densities, allowing businesses to make the most of their inventory space.
Connect Operations With the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to all of the devices, equipment, and technology in your warehouse. From individual wearable devices to your overarching warehouse management system, every piece of technology creates a network within your facility that you can leverage to improve connectivity and organization. Warehouse managers can use their IoT system to coordinate individual parts of the facility’s workflow, communicate between teams, optimize equipment usage, and make informed decisions about resources and operations.
Is your facility up to date with the latest automation trends? If not, let Robopac USA help you catch up. With cutting-edge technology and expert solutions, we’ll assist you in transforming your current workflow to achieve better efficiency and productivity. Explore our automatic palletizers and other secondary packaging solutions at Robopac USA today.