Integrative Software Fuels Warehouse Capabilities
Of all the trends, software and technology arguably impact the capabilities of warehouses the most. One of the biggest tech trends of 2019 was the implementation of machine learning systems. Thanks to machine learning, a warehouse management system can now detect potential problems and adjust allocation accordingly without human intervention. This all happens in real time, thus improving the warehouse’s productivity and efficiency.
Another recent integrative software innovation that made an impact was intelligent waving/batch picking. With this technology, a warehouse can meet the fulfillment needs of the fast-paced e-commerce space with the ability to interject rush orders while pushing out a wave.
Voice-tasking capabilities became more common in the warehouse industry in 2019. Smart assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, found their way into a wide range of connected devices. The warehouse industry uses the same type of voice-driven interface to manage its workflow. Voice-controlled mobile devices now offer hands-free operation for a variety of common shipping functions, including picking and packing.
Labor Shortages Increase Automation Into 2020
Another major warehouse trend in 2019 was an increased reliance on robotics and automated processes. One of the main reasons for the increase was because the industry experienced a labor shortage as a result of the country’s stronger labor market. This, coupled with the growing complexity of filling smaller orders faster, caused modern warehouses to embrace such devices as collaborative warehouse robots (cobots) to help meet the many fulfillment needs.
The increase in robotics and automated processes in the warehouse is expected to continue into 2020 and beyond, especially as vendors introduce new capabilities and functionalities into their systems. In many ways, a warehouse environment is an ideal setting for robotics and automation because of the repetitive and rote tasks. Further, with human errors increasing costs for companies, adopting these technologies is a cost-effective way to mitigate mistakes and increase accuracy across the board.
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