The world is ever moving forward, and warehouse operations is no different. Every day, people are coming up with better, more efficient and more cost effective ways to conduct operations, manage shipping and receiving and track product. From manufacturing to delivery to the end user, there is always something new on the horizon.
Warehouses are the human version of beehives – people, equipment and product are always in motion. With that much activity, accidents can happen. There have been great strides in technology to help prevent accidents. Forklift motion sensor, automated gate systems and even pedestrian motion sensors are becoming more popular. Other safety improvements include the development and implementation of vision-guided tow vehicles. They are used in place of forklifts to reduce product damage and increase safety during warehouse movements.
These are handheld scanners, readers and other devices that scan barcodes or use RFID to track product through the operational process. With such real-time information, warehouse managers have better visibility on operations, as well as more tools on hand to control inventory.
Adding another distribution channel, especially individual order e-commerce order filling, has an impact on warehouse operations. Nearly 9% of all sales transactions happen online. Warehouse managers need scalable management solutions to ensure that orders are picked correctly while shipping in the fastest possible time. The right warehouse management system (WMS) provides improved organization, better fulfillment processes, visibility during transit and troubleshooting capabilities.
There may be nothing earthshattering new about shelving and pallet rack systems on the surface but the ability to customize to a warehouse specialized operations, combine shelving methods, install conveyors and make use of all three dimensions of an area is a big step forward from even twenty years ago. Investigate storage options to find the combination that works best for you.
Robots and other automated technology has been common in manufacturing for some time now, and that trend is making its way into warehousing. Amazon uses it, and more large retailers are coming to see its value in terms of productivity and accuracy. Finding areas within your warehouse that can be automated minimizes the chance of human error, increases safety and productivity and offers endless possibilities in improved lead time and customer satisfaction.
There is numerous software available to help warehouse managers better refine their planning and projection activities. Better planning and execution accordingly creates efficiencies and cost savings of its own. Use software to better track work progress, monitor inbound and outbound shipments, keep historical data and analyze sales and shipment data to cut down on labor, refine schedules and operations and meet warehouse goals.
By using today’s latest tools and cutting edge technology, warehouses can get better, faster and more accurate while cutting down on those items that affect the bottom line.