Warehouse Trends to Look For and the Technology to Implement
There are several trends in warehouse environments that can be seen as disruptive by some, but also augment and streamline operations for those in the distribution center environment. ScanSource POS and Barcode outlines seven of these trends below, with some here to stay and others on the horizon. Read below for potential investment opportunities to implement into your daily operations.
1. Drones. While you may think of drones as something futuristic or even Big-Brother-ish flying over and recording you, they are very helpful in the warehouse. Providing assistance with hard-to-reach areas, as well as reading tricky barcodes that might otherwise need a forklift, drones are becoming more common to the naked eye.
2. RFID. Although RFID is no stranger to the warehouse space, look for it to become more prevalent in technology and operations as RFID provides an ease of inventory due to the ability to quickly know what’s in stock. This transparency can also lead to a reduction in theft.
3. Moving to the Cloud. It’s no buzzword and while some might not think of cloud storage in the same sentence as physical goods in a warehouse, moving data to the cloud has several benefits for supply chain, warehouse, and T&L users. From maintenance and labor cost reduction, to installing and upgrading management systems, to storing data, cloud operations are continuing to climb and here to stay. Further, cloud applications and data storage are often offered as-a-service. Even more, warehouse management can look to cloud applications for assistance with inventory management, mobile sales, and mobile field service.
4. IoT. Speaking of data in the cloud, IoT allows you to interconnect devices, capture data and then create intelligence from several devices to create a more cost-efficient, productive environment. According to Gartner Group, devices connected to the Internet of Things are predicted to increase 30-fold by 2020, up from less than 1 billion in 2015. As a result, look for new ways to marry devices’ data and gather intelligence.
5. Automation. Similarly, automation is another trend that continues to grow in the logistics and supply chain sectors with robotics simplifying the need for hard labor costs as well as lessening room for error. According to McKinsey group, the price of automation labor compared to human labor has fallen by up to 50%, with new technology quickly following that promotes advanced automation products and services.
6. Mobility. While mobility is nothing new in this vertical, it continues to integrate into the warehouse business landscape. With everything from rugged handheld scanners to mobile smart printers, to tablets, smart phones and wearables, mobile devices continue to evolve and become not only more efficient, but deliver one solution three or four traditional devices used to provide.
7. Wearables. Like mobility, wearables are next-level mobile devices that fuse several IT trends we mentioned above: IoT, mobile, and Big Data. Think of wearables as the human component in IoT. They allow businesses to improve their operations, especially in the realm of personnel. From tracking employees to monitoring safety, wearables allow for better quality and service to both employees and customers.
While these are just some of the current trends in warehouse technology, there are always new developments just around the corner. ScanSource partner Honeywell — a leader among scanning and mobile solutions — provides comprehensive solutions designed to enhance safety in the warehouse. Honeywell’s connected solutions provide real-time intelligence, increased worker productivity and enriched operational intelligence with data-driven insights.
A priority for those looking for a mobile device that offers integrated scanning, Honeywell handheld scanners offer real-time communications with back-office systems, ergonomic design and long battery life.
Their new CK75 mobile computer is ideal for warehouse and distribution environments, providing industrial-grade materials in a rugged casing. And for the user who needs flexibility and isn’t quite ready to upgrade from Windows to Android, Honeywell’s CN75 and CN75e mobile computers offer both choices from one single device. Simplifying future transitions, these mobile computers are designed for the highest degree of future proofing and meet the needs of changing enterprise business demands.
As our predicted trends continue to grow in reality and permanence, ScanSource can help you implement any of Honeywell’s mobile computers, RFID scanners, and mobile printers into your distribution center product line. To learn more about how Honeywell’s products fit with your business needs, contact Jamal Strother, sales development representative, at firstname.lastname@example.org, to get started.