The Amazon-era has evolved consumer expectations in such a way that the masses have come to expect shipping at the speed of light, which has created the most competitive e-commerce landscape ever known. Optimizing fulfillment has become a priority for warehouses to keep up with the new demand that the coronavirus pandemic has brought, adding yet another layer of complexity to already skyrocketing demand. Despite this rapidly changing climate, it’s becoming evidently clear that intelligent automation is the path to maximum efficiency, and warehouse fulfillment centers are beginning to take advantage of some of the most cutting-edge technologies, from Artificial Intelligence to Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Renewable energy and CleanTech solutions are taking a prominent position in the business sector because of the increasing number of tax breaks for companies that reduce their carbon footprint and the growing concern of global warming’s impact on America’s electric grids. Warehouses consume a massive amount of power, and companies are starting to test renewable energy solutions such as solar panels to help create self-sustaining work sites that destress local utilities. Other solutions such as power-saving light sensors and smart architecture that help preserve heating and cooling inside warehouses are also finding their way into warehouses nationwide.
AI solutions in a warehouse can take many forms, from being the main driver in robotics to a machine learning capacity that uses intelligence and data harvesting for business insight, problem-solving, and forecasting. Artificial intelligence is also making warehouses safer for employees by taking over high-risk tasks such as order picking in hard-to-reach areas and can be used to help create training simulations for employees to learn standard operating procedures.
Connecting Blockchain, Big Data and IoT
Blockchain and big data analytics provide warehouses with intelligent automation that can instantly be deployed through connected devices. Data-driven insight is the key to unlocking the future business success of warehouses, and being able to glean information and deploy solutions through IoT technology can quickly get supply chain protocols back on track and flush out problem areas swiftly and efficiently.
Future Forward Solutions
The many technologies that warehouses utilize are being condensed into Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) that act as an organization-wide control panel, which provides leaders with a birds-eye view of their warehouse’s inner workings. WMS systems also include inventory management and can integrate with other mega-systems to give teams the tools required to meet the needs of a growing market. With the rise of e-commerce growing at a minimum of 44 percent year over year, advanced technology will become an everyday occurrence, and warehouses may soon be one of the most futuristic spaces that co-mingle with humans.
Abigail Baker is a writer for Happy Writers, Co. in partnership with Scaffold Store, a scaffolding manufacturer and retailer.