Published on May 11th, 2020 | by Emergent Enterprise0
IoT Ecosystem Creates an Optimized Smart Warehouse
In the pandemic era, the safety requirements for a warehouse lean right into the benefits of a smart warehouse. This post by Megan Ray Nichols at readwrite.com gives a clear explanation of the advantages of a smart warehouse and how they can result in a quicker and more efficient business. With the meteoric rise of online commerce, there is no shortage of warehouse jobs right now. But those same jobs have a high degree of danger of contracting the coronavirus. IoT efficiency can combat inherent safety problems by guiding pickers to touch only the correct items and could even alert social distancing if programmed appropriately. With the right technology, IoT-fueled processes could even allow for touchless handling. The opportunities are endless.
IoT has potential in nearly every conceivable sector. As new technology spurs IoT growth across both commercial and industrial markets, the possibilities of this interconnectivity become increasingly evident. The organizations that see the most development in the coming years will be those that leverage this advancement. Here is the right IoT ecosystem that creates an optimized smart warehouse.
While many companies already use the IoT, not all take full advantage of it. A lot of companies have been slow to adopt the IoT in their warehouse operations. However, careful and thoughtful integration can create an optimized smart warehouse of the future.
Smart Warehouse Benefits
As the demand for faster, more reliable shipping grows, warehouses must adapt to meet higher standards. Traditional tools and techniques can only get logistics companies so far. If businesses are to stay competitive, they’ll have to move towards smart warehouses.
The most obvious benefit of a connected warehouse is increased efficiency. Devices like sensors and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags allow workers to locate products almost instantly. Insights from data gathered from IoT devices can help companies see where and how they could streamline processes.
Smart warehouses also offer safety benefits. The IoT enables increased automation, which reduces the risk of human error leading to injury. Sensors on heavy machinery can track integrity to warn workers if the equipment is in danger of malfunctioning.
A smart warehouse generates a lot more data than its traditional counterparts. Companies can assess this information to track products throughout the delivery process or monitor their quality. These data points can also offer insight into how to improve operations.
Despite 72% of warehouse executives looking to increase their IoT implementation, smart warehouses remain few and far between. While they provide competitive advantages, smart warehouses are an intimidating prospect to many companies. A few considerable speedbumps stand between logistics and widespread IoT adoption.
While the benefits of IoT devices are evident, where and how to apply them may not be. Similarly, concerns over compatibility and cost hinder many businesses from diving headfirst into complex IoT ecosystems. However, with careful consideration and planning, organizations can overcome these challenges and create smart warehouses.
Where to Implement IoT Devices
There’s no shortage of areas where companies can apply the IoT in warehouses. This abundance is undoubtedly an advantage, but also raises a few concerns, especially for businesses unfamiliar with IoT implementation. Companies can’t always integrate the IoT into all warehouse processes, so they have to determine what areas are the most advantageous.
IoT devices are more beneficial in some sectors than others. To optimize warehouses, companies need to be thoughtful about where they implement these technologies. Careless adoption may still provide useful data, but it won’t give businesses the highest return on investment.
The three main advantages of smart warehouses can serve as a guide for IoT integration. Different applications provide benefits in various areas of improvement. Whether a company wants to prioritize efficiency, safety, or data gathering will inform where to apply devices.
To determine how to use the IoT to improve efficiency, warehouses can look to where mistakes occur. More often than not, inventory mismanagement is the most notable factor hindering warehouses. To address this issue, companies can use IoT technology in shelving and the packages themselves.
Most warehouses already use barcodes to track items, but RFID tags can store more data. RFID readers are also typically faster than barcode scanners, allowing workers to sort through inventory faster. Swapping barcodes for an RFID system would improve efficiency without much cost or hassle.