The COVID-19 pandemic hugely impacted supply chain operations, creating disruptions and delays throughout the UK and across the globe. As a result, the crucial role of the supply chain industry became more apparent than ever. Implementing new strategies and technologies is now at the forefront of creating a resilient and sustainable logistics industry that can tackle future challenges.
Technological advancements are becoming increasingly available, and their ability to boost productivity and increase worker safety is invaluable. As such, new warehouse management systems and advanced tools are becoming more and more prominent. With so many options available, it can be challenging to work out which technology will best suit your warehouse operations, so we’ve delved into some of the latest innovations to give you some insight into what the future of warehousing looks like.
Warehouse management systems
Tracking, storing, and transporting stock is a collaborative process involving several teams. Keeping track of inventory from arrival to departure can be difficult as each group focuses on its individual tasks. Warehouse management systems simplify warehouse operations and allow managers to control the processes in one place, reducing the likelihood of making mistakes when monitoring a large volume of tasks. Additionally, some systems can provide inventory forecasting, buyer performance and financial analytics.
With many products moving in and out of warehouses, managers need to track them all and prevent inventory loss due to damage or theft. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology creates a digital version of a printed, typed, or handwritten document that computers can read, which can be amended or searched, accelerating warehouse processes and increasing productivity.
Warehouses produce a considerable amount of waste, so minimising environmental impact is a significant factor for innovative trends and technology in warehousing. For example, sustainable warehouse storage technology is evolving to optimise warehouse capacity and provide sustainable packaging for products. Additionally, more warehouses are recycling and reusing their equipment, such as plastic containers and pallets, to reduce waste.
Warehouse operatives spend a lot of time pushing heavy carts around the workplace, but that task can be passed on to an automated cart, allowing workers to focus on more complex tasks. Workers can program automated cards to navigate between set points, where they can be loaded with products to deliver to the next destination.
Collaborative robots have been created to make physically demanding tasks easier for workers; in addition to completing repetitive tasks and preventing worker injury, they improve safety and provide better working conditions.
A warehouse fleet can include hand trucks, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), conveyor belts, forklifts, and mobile robots. Fleet management systems optimise warehouse layout and minimise forklift hazards while providing real-time asset monitoring. In addition to enhancing driver safety, it can organise maintenance processes and facilitate automated task allocation, enhancing productivity.
Transport and logistic workers are fundamental to maintaining a resilient and efficient supply chain and keeping the economy moving. The pandemic highlighted the importance of warehouse workers, as it caused a rapid surge in the number of customers shopping online. This trend is unlikely to decrease any time soon. Facilitating this unprecedented increase in digital shopping has led to the demand for skilled drivers and warehouse workers to soar.
If you’re looking to increase your workforce, we specialise in recruiting supply chain personnel, including industrial operatives, drivers, and administrative roles. You can find out more about our services or make an enquiry on our Client Services page.