The warehousing industry continues to produce tech-driven innovations as businesses aim to identify and adopt new technologies that improve warehouse operations, minimize costs, and enhance overall supply chain efficiency. A certain number of large companies have even started using robots and drones.
It’s not only logistics behemoths who are utilizing cutting-edge tech-based solutions. The decrease in automation costs encourages startups and SMEs to invest in these dynamic technologies as well. So let’s talk about the innovative technologies that help to enhance warehousing operations all over the world.
3D printing can disrupt the global supply chain by bringing the manufacturing process closer to the customers and other end users. For instance, auto parts are now produced in Asia for vehicles assembled in Mexico and sold in America. The manufacturing of some components is probably moving closer to the market to minimize shipment times and expenses.
3D printing technology could decrease costs associated with customs red tape and complex trade rules for different goods since they could be easily printed at or near their final destination. You can definitely expect 3D printed products to revolutionize the warehouse technology scene and become essential elements of warehousing.
Robots have tremendously changed the way warehouses operate and they’ll continue to do so. Since they are created to guide themselves, they can pick and pack orders into waiting trucks or carts. Several companies have already switched to full automation via the use of robots. For example, a distribution warehouse can use numerous robots to pack their merchandise into separate boxes. These robots run on complex algorithms that tell them where to pick up an item and guide them to the exact bag or box to drop it into. They’re also programmed to avoid colliding with each other as they go around filling the orders. Robots are the ultimate components in any smart inventory management system.
Similar to other industries, cloud storage is transforming the productivity of warehouses as the instant and self-updating systems lessen infrastructure, labour, and maintenance costs associated with most management systems. Typically, cloud technologies are user-friendly and can be used by all the employees, making warehouse companies less vulnerable if their skilled tech workers decide to leave. A smart inventory manager understands the importance of an efficient data processing system — not to mention, cloud technology also helps improve the blockchain-related processes of a large warehouse business.
INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT)
The Internet of Things technologies have existed in the logistics scene for a while now, and equipment such as sensors, radio-frequency identification tags, and wearables have been used in numerous warehouses. These innovations minimize the need for manual labour and human error by communicating vital information to other IoT devices. The warehouse managers can also monitor order fulfillment in real-time thus allowing them to process the items more efficiently.
Although security concerns have hindered some of these advancements from realizing their full potential, many new technologies are being created to address the safety issues in large logistics operations. Additionally, microchips have allowed more efficient and seamless encryption that eases the security concerns related to the adoption of IoT in warehousing. So don’t be surprised that IoT solutions will continue to dominate the realm of warehouse management trends.
While drones have been considered one of the latest technology trends in 2019, they are still very much relevant today.
Tiny drones are becoming more common in warehouses as businesses worldwide aim to automate their inventory and asset management tasks. In some warehouses, stocks are stored as high as 12 metres and the hard-to-reach barcodes usually require countless labour hours using devices such as ladders and forklifts.
Now imagine scanner-carrying drones that boost speed and accuracy by navigating your warehouse shelves and taking auto-registry of several stocks. Moreover, RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags can be read and located via the cameras from a distance of 10m. Advancements are still being developed to allow various drones to navigate cramped spaces without colliding with each other.
Innovative Trends in Forklift Technology
A new company recently introduced remote-driver forklift technology. This remote-control innovation allows the forklift operators to work off-site, controlling their machines remotely. The idea stemmed from a need to make workplaces safer during this global pandemic. But is it really safe to drive a forklift truck remotely?
This driverless tech might not be appropriate for most worksites. However, it has brought many to think about how the latest forklift technology trends can better support warehouse operations. Here are some warehouse industry trends that promote safety and efficiency on worksites:
MONITORING FORKLIFT USAGE
Many businesses already employ wireless monitoring in tracking their forklift trucks. This amazing technology allows warehouse companies to monitor their usage and keep track of their vehicles’ performance. Since it allows you to see operation hours in real-time, you can plan and allocate your forklift trucks better. Companies monitor their forklifts’ operating patterns and plan the service intervals to increase their trucks’ lifespans.
While it’s more suitable for huge organizations, the philosophy behind it applies to all. So if you keep track of when the forklifts are in use, and the duration, you’re better equipped to stay on top of maintenance, repairs, servicing, and charging.
THE LITHIUM BATTERIES
The latest innovations in lithium-ion power cells gave birth to remarkable battery lives that last up to 10 years before they need to be replaced. On the other hand, Tesla’s new batteries provide affordable and alternative energy sources that rely on solar power and energy from power grids. Imagine harnessing this technology to power the electric forklifts, robots, and other warehouse devices. Cooling and heating a warehouse consumes huge amounts of energy and utilizing these enhanced batteries means that you’ll get to cut costs tremendously. You’ll not only lessen your expenses but you’ll also have a more efficient operation.
Enhancing energy efficiency is essential for various warehousing companies, both financially and environmentally. Lithium batteries charge faster compared to the usual acid batteries. They require less maintenance, equalizing and cleaning which means you get to save both money and time. Lithium batteries last up to four times longer and won’t slow down your vehicles during discharging. In addition, they are 30% more energy-efficient and don’t produce CO2 gas, which makes them less harmful to our planet. Although these batteries are more costly than typical batteries, some companies have switched to them. Eventually, this could make lithium batteries more readily available.
THE BACKBONE REARGUARD
Safety remains a crucial concern in warehouse processes. Because forklift underride is a major safety concern for forklift operators, Lakeport Metalcraft has produced The Backbone. While it is simply designed compared to other innovations, it can effectively protect forklift drivers from hazards, like an errant rack beam, during an accidental rear-end collision.
Remember that the purpose of new warehouse technologies is to make operations safer and faster. Save your time and money by improving your warehouse equipment and processes. This not only helps your company but also benefits your employees and customers as well.
While having the latest technology brings a lot of benefits to your warehouse business, safety should still be your ultimate priority. Implementing safety measures makes your operation more efficient and prevents accidents that can disrupt and delay work. Look into installing The Backbone for your reach trucks and standup forklifts to enhance all the other safety guidelines you’ve established. Call Lakeport Metalcraft Inc. now at (416) 587- 5809 to install The Backbone and say goodbye to worrying about underride accidents.