Technology has changed people’s lives to be more convenient than ever before. Smartphones, smart watches, smart homes, and now, smart warehouses. Staying updated about new technologies gives your business a competitive edge. Let’s explore the top technologies to help you convert your traditional warehouse into a smart warehouse.
Smart warehouse described
Smart warehouses can optimize your operations, speed up order fulfillment, minimize human errors, improve accuracy, and provide real-time updates. Thus, your warehouse team can focus on high-priority tasks while the software takes care of repetitive tasks like counting the stock and putaway items, evaluating orders, preparing picklists, and printing shipping labels.
5 smart warehouse technologies
1. Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interconnected devices, machines, or objects embedded with sensors and accessible through the Internet. The IoT sensor gathers information from real-time sensors and passes it on to the system. The system further analyzes, streamlines and issues comments to the IoT device in real-time via the Internet without human interaction. IoT devices are often used to help us monitor the conditions of devices or even human beings’ well-being.
In a warehouse, you can implement IoT sensors to enhance the visibility of your entire warehouse operation, right from receiving, storing, picking, and packing to shipping. For example, a forklift can be fitted with a motion sensor that can adjust its speed regarding the proximity to the storage bin. How? The information from the sensor is transferred to the computer, and upon analyzing the data, the system will alert the forklift to slow down or stop in real time.
You can also use IoT as a wearable device like watches or headsets to track your workers in the warehouse. Plus, you can use IoT temperature sensors to maintain the temperature of specific goods in the warehouse to remain fresh. Undoubtedly, IoT devices can improve the speed and efficiency of your warehouse operations.
2. Robotics and Automation
Robotics and automation are cutting-edge technologies widely used in many industries to reduce manual work and improve efficiency. For example, the healthcare industry has embraced robotics and uses robots for surgery. Warehousing often involves loading and unloading heavy goods, which can be challenging to do manually and may even pose a risk to your warehouse personnel’s safety.
Using robots in your warehouse can significantly reduce manual labor and prevent unwanted accidents. Articulated robotic arms have multi-jointed limbs that can help you pick up heavy pallets. These robotic arms are ideal for receiving, storing, and transferring goods. Additionally, robots can be used in warehouses in many ways — in conveyor belts for picking and placing items, automated forklifts for picking and dropping heavy pallets, and drones to transfer goods without disturbing other warehouse activities.
3. Warehouse management system
A centralized warehouse management system like DEAR streamlines your entire warehouse operation, from receiving to shipping, encouraging your employees to be more productive and efficient at work. Here is how DEAR can help you in managing your warehouse:
- Receiving: DEAR supports wireless scanning. You can simply scan and receive your products at your warehouse. DEAR verifies the received stock against your purchase order (PO) and alerts you if discrepancies are found.
- Putaway: Once you authorize the received goods, DEAR assigns storage locations to products based on their size, material, product type, Stock Keeping Unit (SKU), PO, or other information you choose. Thus, your received goods are organized in appropriate places in your warehouse.
- Picking: DEAR seamlessly integrates with your multiple sales channels, be it your online store, online marketplace, or physical store. It evaluates all the orders spontaneously and works out a detailed picking list, suggesting the best picking route to get the items pulled. Can picking get any faster?
- Packing: Once the items are picked, they’re sent to the packing station. With the help of a packing slip generated by DEAR systems, the items are sorted and packed. The packing slip is a document that contains in-depth details about all the items placed in the package. Once packed, the orders are labeled and marked ready to be shipped.
- Shipping: DEAR seamlessly integrates with various shipping companies, and you can print shipping labels for your packages in a few clicks.
Thus, with DEAR, you can cater to diverse shoppers across multiple sales channels much faster and easier.
4. Automated inventory management system
Managing inventory is a part of warehouse management, and DEAR can help you seamlessly manage your inventory, regardless of your business size and industry.
- Wholesale inventory management: Wholesalers handle large product volumes regularly, and managing inventory for wholesale orders can be challenging. DEAR simplifies and streamlines your wholesale inventory. It lets you segregate similar products by creating product families and automatically assigns each product with a unique SKU. Thus, your inventory is organized and readily monitored or tracked with its SKU.
- Dropshipping: If you don’t hold physical stock and use dropshipping to sell items, DEAR can also help you with DEAR’s drop shipment feature. You can create a sales order, and the system automatically shoots the PO to your supplier with the shipment details. The supplier ships the order directly to the customer, saving you time and effort.
- Stock replenishment: Overstocking can cut your profits, whereas understocking can dent your reputation. Maintaining optimal stock levels is mandatory to run a successful business. You can set triggers and automate DEAR to replenish stock once the stock level reaches a minimum threshold or zero. Thus, you can focus on your customers without worrying about your inventory levels.
5. Business intelligence and predictive analytics
Business intelligence is all about collecting and analyzing past and present data on a company’s activities. Predictive analytics uses statistics, data mining, and machine learning to forecast possible future outcomes based on available business data. Some of these data are generated through your warehousing software, which involves purchases, sales, transactions, and auditing. Monitoring, analyzing, and converting these data into insights to forecast for your business allows you to thrive in any competitive business market.
With DEAR Reports, you gain deeper insights into your sales, purchases, inventory, and financial data. Thus, you can make data-driven, informed business decisions to help your business grow.
Today, businesses operate online and rely on warehouses to store and manage goods. Thus, warehouses are much more than storage places and must be equipped with the tools and technologies to cater to modern customers’ needs promptly. Smart warehousing technologies help businesses to streamline operations, efficiently manage warehouses, and combat bottlenecks in order deliveries.
As a business owner, you should always keep an eye on the latest technologies. The advanced technologies discussed in the blog can help you streamline your warehouse operations, improve the efficiency of your employees, and deliver a top-notch customer experience. Are you interested in knowing about technologies that can help you enhance your warehouse operations? Reach out to our DEAR experts today.