Smart Warehouses: IoT Applications in Management
Warehouse management in modern times has become one of the most challenging tasks. Unlike traditional times when inventory was limited, stocks now overload because of advanced business models and marketing methods. Hence, the need for a good and reliable warehouse management system is immense.
Amidst the fear of damages, spoilage, and incomplete shipments, a new IoT-based warehouse management technology has been introduced, which is eyeing everyone. Giant companies such as Amazon, Alibaba, DHL, and many more have adopted this new system of warehouse management that runs on automation through robots and IoT sensors to deliver exceptional results.
So in this blog, let us explore some of the best IoT applications, their benefits, and real use cases for warehouse management.
How Do Smart Devices Play Out in Warehouses?
An extremely relevant question that often comes to the mind of many people is, how do smart devices improve the working of a warehouse plant? Implementing IoT technology in your warehouse can streamline your operations and significantly improve their efficiency.
Let us look at some of the ways how IoT solutions are the best technology for a warehouse:
Supply Chain Visibility
The IoT technology connects any equipment with the internet to gather and exchange data between devices and take valuable inputs from it.
When IoT sensors are deployed on a supply chain, they detect, monitor, report their status, and receive detailed information about products. This information further helps to maintain the quality of products throughout supply chains.
Better Asset Management
Intelligent warehouse equipment such as shelf sensors, RFID, guided vehicles, etc., helps you manage the inventory operations. For instance, if an item is out of stock in your inventory, the system will automatically notify you about it. Besides, it will help you assist in the best-suited placement of products for different categories.
As the IoT sensors deployed in the warehouse monitor all actions of an inventory, optimizing it for higher efficiency becomes easier. The machines study the data collected by the sensors, and real-time IoT analytics are generated that help plan the needed course of action.
IoT sensors can guide you in optimizing your warehouse space so that better efficiency with quick results can be obtained.
Stocking, picking, packaging, loading, and unloading are some of the most common operations of a warehouse. With advanced IoT solutions, these tasks get automatically streamlined, and your warehouse can function seamlessly, generating maximum output.
IoT Applications to Know About in Warehouse Management
Here are a few crucial IoT applications that are a must for warehouse management. Check them out:
Automated Guided Vehicles
AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) are the new normal for warehouses. There is no longer the need for human supervision for warehouse workflows. The robots and guided vehicles are embedded with navigation sensors and cameras that help them effortlessly roam inside the facility and conduct needful operations.
Gone are the days when people themselves have to move and pick an item from the inventory. Now the extremely intelligent drones fly off to pick products from high shelves. This improves the speed of operations and eliminates the risk of workplace injuries.
It is a valuable IoT asset that leverages AR technology to help staff view the details of products in their glasses. The glasses display all the information related to the product in a go. Using the glasses, the picking performance gets enhanced, and you can decide where to place which product.
Blockchain Item Tracking
This exceptional technology gives warehouse managers insights into how well their products sell. It also identifies the product’s location in real-time.
So you can easily find out if the product goes missing or gets stolen.
With blockchain, product demand can be accurately forecasted, significantly making supply-chain management easier.
RFID tags are an intelligent tracking system that is used to identify items that are extremely large in quantity. An RFID scanner can scan over 200 barcodes together and gather additional information such as size, manufacturer, serial number, expiry date, production line, etc., for different products. This technology substantially improves the workflow of warehouses.
These are transmitters with attached IoT sensors that can be put on products you wish to track. They transfer a radio signal to the IoT device and are useful for protecting perishable items. Beacons can also be used to detect the temperature or acceleration-related data for products.
Wearable IoT Devices
There are many IoT-enabled wearable devices that warehouse managers can wear to measure the efficacy of their employees. The device can track the performance of employees, their current location, and other vital information to improve the efficiency of operations.
Benefits of IoT Solutions in Warehouse Management
The IoT solutions offer several useful benefits for warehouse management, such as:
Warehouse operations become streamlined and simplified with IoT sensors. They automate inventory management, shipping, order fulfillment, and accounting operations. The data is consistently gathered across different IoT devices, enabling the managers to make critical decisions more precisely, eliminating any need for human error.
Predictive maintenance is one of the most popular benefits of IoT smart warehouse management systems. It can detect early signs of equipment malfunctioning so that the managers can prepare alternative machinery to avoid process downtime. It also saves huge costs for the company as machines get their maintenance on time and costs of repairs can be reduced.
Transportation plays a big role in making the operations of a warehouse successful. With the deployment of IoT devices in transport vehicles, the managers can effectively track the progress of product deliveries. IoT sensors can optimize the routes, monitor tire pressure, and help reach stock on time.
Better Demand Forecasting
A big challenge that warehouses struggled with for years was the correct analysis of the demand for their products. However, with IoT coming in, data flow more precisely than ever before. Therefore, warehouse managers can easily forecast and plan for items in their inventory with less wastage and better efficiency.
Real-World Examples of IoT Solutions for Warehouse Management
Industry leaders and tech giants such as Amazon, DHL, Alibaba, and many more understand the value IoT brings to warehouse management. Hence, they have already implemented this IoT system to enjoy better efficiency of their processes. Let us see what technologies they have incorporated in their systems:
Amazon recently deployed over 400 robots in their facility to carry out different warehouse tasks. The robots work alongside humans and help perform duties such as moving and sorting packages, scanning barcodes, etc.
Lids Warehouse Automation
Lids is a leading fashion apparel company that recently adopted an IoE based robotic system for its warehouse operations. The robots can take the list of products and search for them. The IoT sensors placed in them help retrieve the products, discard them, and deliver them to workers.
Alibaba Warehouse Automation
Alibaba is the first facility to introduce a fully robotic warehouse. The warehouse has over 100 AGVs and 700 guided robots that help place and deliver products. The organization claims that the efficiency of their workflows has tripled since they have adopted this IoT-enabled technology for their warehouse.
DHL Smart Warehouse
DHL is extremely optimistic in its use of IoT for its operations. They have employed smart glasses, drones, robots, autonomous vehicles, and many more IoT devices to automate warehouse operations. Currently, DHL is working to make their Germany, Netherlands, and Poland warehouses powered by IoT.
The Final Thoughts
IoT is all set to bring transformation in the warehouse management system. Sooner or later, every enterprise has to leverage this system to successfully run its operations. So it is better to adopt this technology and make the most out of it. You may contact our expert IoT team to consult on your IoT needs and demands.