According to one transport and logistics leader in the UK, 66% of warehouses plan to increase their investment in supportive technology by 2018. Higher efficiency, greater profit potential, and less hard work – the technologically optimised warehouse of the future is coming, and it’s coming fast! In fact, for a growing number of businesses, it’s already here. Today we take a cursory look at some of the key factors and new technologies that are, or are predicted to be, leading the charge.
A key element behind the need for warehouses to evolve and embrace new technological advances is the huge increase in online commerce. The Australian Financial Review reported that, in 2016, Australia’s online retail spending passed the $20 billion dollar mark for the first time. Unlike previous logistics and distribution models, it is now increasingly common for an individual buyer to be making purchases from a retailer who stores their stock, not in a shopfront, but in a warehouse. This more direct customer experience is undoubtedly a strong factor in driving the technological advancement in warehouses around the world.
For the first time, individual, hand-picked orders of single items are regularly being shipped straight from the warehouse. Amazon is the global frontrunner for this new way of warehousing, even coining a new phrase for their massive warehouses – ‘Fulfilment Centres’. If you’re interested in gaining a little glimpse into one of the ways Amazon have integrated next gen technology into their business, this 3 minute video will likely give you a tingle of efficiency envy!
Although there are many areas and applications of technological advancement in warehouse operations, one particular areas of technological advancement that stood out for us was the development of drone use in warehouses.
As drones become more reliable, available, and customisable their use in warehouse settings is set to take off! (Pun intended!) For example, fitted with barcode scanners, drones can count and record inventory with more speed, ease, and safety than their human counterparts. As inventory is often stacked high, a human having to ascend to stocktake is always a safety risk. Using drones, this risk is completely eliminated.
One drone specialist, DroneScan, is confident that ‘their 800g drones, carrying scanners, can count as much stock in two days as an 80-strong team, complete with lift trucks and handheld scanners, could in three days.’ In the life of a warehouse, this is game changing!
As creators of pallet racking systems, we here at Cane Toad Tough reckon this particular advancement in warehouse technology is good news for us too! Afterall, without the need for humans to have to physically get to the top of the stack to stocktake, there’s less need to keep stock closer to the ground, and more space for your pallet racking system to grow! The Cane Toad® is strong, safe, and sturdy, there’s plenty of room to grow… up! Maximise your floor space, maximise your safety and efficiency, maximise your business!
If you’re interested in reading up on some of the other areas technological advances will apply to warehouses, we recommend checking out this article. If you’re interested in getting the latest technology pallet racking system, The Cane Toad®, installed in your warehouse, we recommend clicking here and booking your free demo.
image source: Ian Baldwin