Automation and robotics are affecting all sectors, but it’s having a particular impact on the logistics industry. With warehouse automation increasing all the time, distributors and manufacturers are able to streamline their processes and reach new levels of efficiency and productivity.
To find out how warehouses are utilising new technologies and incorporated additional automation into their processes, take a look at the latest warehouse trends now…
- Piece picking
Major distributors pack and ships hundreds of thousands of orders on a daily basis, and piece picking robots are making the job for more straightforward. Instead of relying solely on human labour to pick and pack shipments, warehouses are using piece picking robots to collect specific goods from different areas of the warehouse.
As the use of AI increases, these robots are expected to become even more advanced. Already able to plot their own route around warehouses, the level of automation is set to increase rapidly in the near future.
- Automated guided vehicles
Automated guided vehicles, or AGRs, are being used in warehouse environments for various purposes. As well as being used to transport stock from one area to another, AGRs can also be used to perform routine maintenance, such as cleaning and pallet moving.
As well as being used in warehouse environments, AGRs are becoming commonplace in other sectors too. In storage facilities, for example, this equipment can be used to increase efficiency when it comes to transporting goods in and out of storage units, as well as to perform maintenance tasks in empty units. At many storage facilities, such as the one at https://www.henfieldstorage.co.uk/site/southwark, staff are embracing automation and the benefits it can bring. By providing a more efficient service to their clients, storage facilities can rely on AGRs and other types of automation to simplify the storage process and ensure users can access their units and goods with minimal effort.
Whilst robotics and automation can be used to replace workers in some instances, a new warehouse trend of cobotics is combining traditional workforces with advanced machinery. When tasks require in-depth analysis and industry knowledge, for example, employees can’t be replaced by machinery. However, automation can be used to assist staff as they carry out their tasks. By encouraging collaboration between humans and robots, warehouses and companies can gain the benefits of both, whilst significantly reducing their costs and boosting productivity.
- Big data
With such large inventories and shipping rates, warehouses produce vast amounts of data. Until recently, however, the reams of data that were produced on a daily basis were simply too big to be analysed effectively.
Increasingly advanced barcode scanners, for example, warehouses can now track the journey of a single product from at every point in the shipping process. From the minute an item arrives in the warehouse, it is tracked in real-time, ensuring that data can be accessed in easy-to-use formats at any time.
As automation continues to revolutionise the logistics industry, warehouses are already able to operate with increased efficiency. With AI set to be introduced in the near future, we can expect increased warehouse automated to create processes which are even more streamlined and unparalleled in terms of productivity.