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Making warehouses smart for better mobility and higher accuracy

The pandemic has accelerated technology adaptation in all sections of business and warehouses are no different. On priority, warehouses need to be equipped with the technologies that allow them to keep up with manufacture, production, and consumer demand. A smart warehouse is automated for improved productivity, efficiency, and accuracy, and the solutions that are implemented give flexibility and capability to the employees and their processes.

Here are some technologies, which are an absolute must for warehouses at the moment.

Warehouse Management System
This is a must and should be as comprehensive as possible. This system should be a consolidation of all of your critical warehouse data into one easily accessible platform, to give select members of your supply chain a full view of your workings, lightning-fast reporting, real-time statistics, and accurate planning capabilities.

Picking Tools & guided vehicles
In high-volume, high-labour cost distribution centres, picking is either performed or aided by using material handling equipment like put-to-light, automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), and goods-to-man. However, with the inclusion of automated picking elements into your warehouse you can benefit from near-perfect picking rates. There are a variety of different tools within this grouping, (like voice automated picking and pick-to-light), which can improve picking by making it faster, improving labour allocation and reducing human error.

Moreover, you can reduce the manual dependence on processes and even automate the way you calculate the best locations, storage media, and pick paths for stock, your WMS can do all the heavy lifting for you. AGVs are an efficient mechanism of ramping up your storage and retrieval process, in putaway, loading, and stocktake. AGVs are self-guided and can include forklifts and pallet carts, which follow digital paths through the facility to load and unload pallets, boxes, and other containers.

These vehicles can be implemented in your warehouse without a complete revisiting of your layout and systems, with the ability to add and expand your AGV complement as required, in line with the growth of your business.

Inventory control platforms
Motorola reported in 2018 that 41% of warehouse facilities still relied on this manual cycle-counting process. This method is prone to errors in data, transcription, and consistency, and can cause immense disruption in your operations. So, you need to implement an inventory control platform with the requisite use of asset and inventory tags, these platforms allow you to automate stock counting, with data synthesised quickly for real-time, accurate reporting that can be accessed remotely.

Along with all these musts, the Internet of Things is the overarching concept that further ties everything together and brings in the control of all the moving parts of your warehouse to your hands. The IoT further helps your warehouse to reduce risk and avoid mistakes or accidents that can create losses in the supply chain by early detection.

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