Warehouses are busy places. People are moving, moving parts, technologies, heavy-duty equipment, and machinery; and, today, there’s AI and IoT. But, how are these two technological advancements making their way into the warehouse setting? 

And, just how much are they improving how warehouses operate? There are plenty of improvements AI and IoT have afforded into warehouses. These are four ways in which these advancements are shaping how warehouses work and how they will run into 2020 and the future.

Inventory Tracking (End-to-End)

End-to-end inventory tracking is possible with the advancements IoT, and AI deploys within the warehouse. Sure, in the past, you would set aside one to two weeks at the end of the year and have employees working late to count inventory. But, today, this is no longer a necessity. With advancements, it’s possible to

  • Track and trace the movement of stock in real-time
  • IoT helps track when items arrive at the warehouse, to the moment the customer receives them
  • Prevent loss and damage with internal tracking mechanisms
  • Provide alerts when things are going bad to help prevent waste and spoilage (market, food, drink service, etc.)

With real-time, up to the minute analysis, you always know what’s where, and how much of it you have. There’s no more guesswork, or over/under ordering, as was the case with human counting errors.

Automated Tasking

A drone can perform cycle counts at night. Driverless forklifts can drop off inventory and pick up list and deliver it to a new location, without the assistance of humans. 

By automating tasks in the warehouse setting, IoT and AI are making operations run seamlessly. And, as you can automate these tasks to take place at night, or when the warehouse is closed for maintenance, it is not going to interfere with human workers, and their ability to do their jobs well. 

It also helps reduce electricity consumption, power, and eliminates the need to pay someone to work in the warehouse overnight. The tasks are automated and are going to get done at the same exact time, and same precise manner, daily.

Vision Picking With Smart Glasses

Using smart glasses, this bright augmented reality, allows workers to continue working, hands-free. A visual display will guide the order picking instructions for employees, and it also includes the items’ current location as well as where it has to be taken. 

Very little training is necessary as workers are wearing the device, and will learn to use it as they go. Error-free optical picking also eliminates the need to maintain bulky paper files and will improve barcode tracking and scanning, to reduce errors in tracking that was manually done in the past. 

It’s a simple solution to minimize error, speed up processes, and enhance the work which your employees can perform, as they are seeing what they are doing, rather than having to use their hands (and stop something else they were working on), in order to track inventory.

Data Analytics

The ability to spot new trends, opportunities, possible changes, and ways in which to improve operations is also potential with the use of data analytics, which is provided through AI and IoT. 

Real-time visibility allows organizations to know how their practices are working, what isn’t working, and what is working in their industry, so they can make immediate changes if necessary. 

It will help warehouse managers make decisions quickly or make changes to an operation that is dangerous or wasteful if necessary.

With real-time information, in front of you, 24/7, you always know what is going on. And, with the information that you can learn about what other competitors are doing in your industry as well, it is going to make it easier for organizations to keep up with the industry changes, industry norms, and to ensure they are always on top of the curve and latest technological advancements available.

You are interested in learning how IoT and AI can better improve your organization’s workflow and warehouse management? Our JD Edwards Managed Services consultants are here to help! Contact us for a quote, and to learn about how we can implement these smart solutions into your warehouse, to better ensure smooth movement, processing, and reduce waste within your organization.

Author Bio

Chris offers Orlando SEO, PPC, and Copywriting services through his marketing agency. Along with marketing, he loves writing about technology and business practices.