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The Impact of Technology on Warehouse Operations

Technology has changed every aspect of our lives. How we eat, how we drink, how we communicate, how we move around and definitely how we work. It is increasingly becoming difficult to manage a successful business that does not integrate technology into its operations. Countless companies have gone through some form of digital transformation in their bid to remain competitive in the ever-changing business environment. People and businesses are relying on mobile technology and the internet, among other forms of technology to get work done in a safe and efficient manner.

Warehouse Operations

Warehouse operations have also been drastically transformed over the last few years. How has this been made possible? Well, allow us to give you a quick tour of warehouse operations in the past and how things are different now. Some of these things may seem small to the eye but they really changed the level of productivity and general efficiency in the warehouse. Maybe one of the first things you would have noticed when you walked in a warehouse in the mid-nineties is the large number of employees in the facility. There are a lot of people moving around the warehouse and an equally high number of supervisors ensuring everything is in order.

Currently, you can walk in any modern warehouse and marvel at the stark differences in the number of warehouse operatives that you will see working. Aside from eliminating the need for a large workforce and increasing productivity, technology has also assisted managers to get real-time data on products and processes. Although it was previously not uncommon to lose track of goods in your warehouse, technology has made it possible to always have the knowledge of where each product is the progress of each process.

Efficiency in the transport sector has also improved warehouse operations. Logistics companies are now required to make a lot of deliveries in residential properties and this makes it necessary to integrate vehicle efficiency within your warehouse operations. Furthermore, the adoption of technology in warehouses has also enhanced communication between the staff and the management. With better communication, warehouse operations and productivity have no doubt improved. We will review some of the recent warehouse technology being used to give you a better picture of its impact on warehouse as a whole.

5 trending technologies and their impact on warehouse operations

Many industry experts have averred that warehouse and logistics is one of the main sectors that has been disrupted by technology and is expected to see more changes. Higher levels of automation and AI will be witnessed in the warehousing industry as opposed to other sectors over the next 10 years or so. McKinsey & Company estimates that about 57% of warehouse and logistics functions are likely to be automated or taken over by both machines and robots in the near future. Although these are exciting statistics, they also asserted that only 60% of warehouse functions can be automated. This means that warehouses managers can expect that some of their functions in the warehouse can be adopted by automation while the rest is still supported by technology. But what are some of the latest technology used in warehouses?

Mobile Shelving

Multi Tier Shelving

The minimalist trend has been catching on over the last few years and this has been no exception for the warehousing industry. In warehousing, the amount of space taken up by inventory is quite critical hence the need to save up on space. One of the main solutions designed to reduce or eliminate the problem of utilizing space is the use of mobile shelving systems. How does this work? These mobile storage systems are built to maximize the amount of storage capacity in any storage space that you may have. Unlike conventional shelving and filing systems, these mobile storage systems often offer a greater capacity per square foot. In fact, high-density mobile storage systems are known to offer three times as much capacity than the conventional systems.

They do not have the fixed aisles between the shelves and cabinets but you can put the shelving on wheeled carriages, which move by rail through the warehouse. There are three types of mobile shelving systems including the manual, automatic and mechanically assisted mobile systems. Mechanically assisted mobile systems often have a hand-crank, which allows you to access your stored material through the use of a 3 spoke rotating handle that has been ergonomically designed. These mechanically assisted systems are easy to move around regardless of the weight you put on them as they have good drive ratios. There are also manual mobile storage systems that are designed to be both durable and rugged. They also have key safety features to protect both the users, the inventory being stored and the system itself. Automatic mobile storage system such as the ActivRAC, on the other hand, makes it possible for racks to move from side to side. This not only eliminates empty aisles but also ensures you use maximum square footage.

Dock Solutions

Dock SolutionsDock levelers are some of the most important equipment that you can have in a warehouse as they have improved warehouse efficiency over the years. With the high number of accidents occurring at the dock, it is important to ensure that you not only safeguard your staff but also improve efficiency. Rite-Hite levelers are an example of exceptional dock solutions that offer reliability, durability and minimized costs. The dock levelers will ensure there is a smooth transition between the facility floor and the trailer. As a result, the leveler reduces the jolts to the product, the equipment and even the forklift operators. These Rite-Hite levelers have a number of features including a constant radius rear hinge, an optimized lip chamfer and a 2-point crown control.

There are different types of dock levelers in UAE. These include hydraulic dock levelers, mechanical dock levelers, global wheel-lok restraints and air-powered leveler among others. Hydraulic levelers are quite common since they not only offer great performance but are also easy to use. They do not also require a lot of maintenance, which means you willincur less lifetime ownership expenses.

Mechanical dock levelers, on the other hand, offer a relatively cheap and reliable solution for those wishing to use dock levelers. The global wheel-lok is a safe leveler as it has an automatic restraint to ensure the safe engagement of dock levelers and all trailer types. These dock levelers have improved warehouse operations by making it easier to move, store and transport any storage materials in the warehouse. They have also improved the safety of loading and unloading warehouse inventory.

Racking solutions

Conventional Pallet Racking

Racking is quite important in warehousing. A good warehouse racking system can help you increase the overall efficiency of your warehouse operation. It can also help you save lots of space if you use the right racking solutions. There are different racking solutions but it is extremely important to choose one that meets your needs. A good racking solution will give you great access to all pallets while also observing the first-in first-out principle. A good racking pallet also offers exceptional dense storage, which is the most ideal option for saving space in your warehouse.

Unlike conventional racking solutions, the use of technology in racking have made it possible to realize up to 50% of warehouse space. This means that you can get some significant cost savings when you use modern racking solutions. They are also great and cost effective if you seek to build a cold store environment.

There are different types of pallet racking systems. Conventional pallet racking, for instance, offers a simple range of components and accessories that are designed to fulfill your requirements. It is designed to store goods of all types, sizes and weight. Furthermore, these types of racking systems are thoroughly tested to ensure they have the best mechanical properties.

Another type of pallet racking system is the cantilever racks, which is quite ideal if you wish to store any bulky or long products horizontally. The good thing is that this racking system lacks front uprights, which means there will be no interference with placing or retrieving loads. All loads that you store are available instantly and this lowers any handling costs and time that you may have incurred.

Mobile pallet racking is the other type of racking solution which offers a myriad of benefits while also improving efficiency in your warehouse. This racking system is almost similar to the conventional pallet racking but is installed on mobile bases. It is the best solution in cases where there is need for compact storage and a high level of accessibility. These mobile systems are operated manually through the use of an integrated RF-system.

Fast action doors

Fast Action DoorsDo you want some automated warehouse technology that will also improve the efficiency of your warehouse? These doors can satisfy any requirement as there is a wide range of models. With these fast action doors, you can easily achieve maximum control of your environment and separation in your warehouse. The primary role of these fast action doors is to act as a barrier between two different sections in a warehouse. They also save energy in the warehouse and also protect the workers from any harm. The best thing about fast action doors is that you can use them to separate processes in the warehouse for optimal productivity. This, in turn, increases the efficiency of overall warehouse operations. Its main work is to open and close safely and quickly every time that you need it to.

Fast action doors have been implemented in the Middle East and are set to gain traction even more once people understand and realize their importance. There are different types of fast action doors with each of them having different features and benefits. FasTrax high-speed doors, for example, are one of the popular fast doors in the industry. They are popular due to their versatility, durability and reliability. They also have a soft edge technology that makes them one of the safest high-speed doors.

Other common fast action doors include Split-second bi-parting door, Lite Speed high-speed roll-up door and the Cooler & Freezer door. Each of these doors offers unique features that not only set them apart from the others but also help improve warehouse efficiency according to your needs and preferences.

Artificial Intelligence

We all have heard about artificial intelligence in various industries and this trend is also poised to change the warehousing industry. While the adoption and use of AI have been slow in the Middle East, it is set to increase over the next few years to come. The development of artificial intelligence, however, is perhaps one of the biggest warehouse technology trends that will bring about more changes in the operation of the modern warehouse.

Although warehouse operations managers mostly have a people management role in today’s warehouse, this role is expected to shift in the future where it is expected that their roles will become more analytical and focus on interpreting data. Managers today play a crucial role in supporting one channel or a number of channels while also ensuring that customers are satisfied with the services offered. In reality, however, you will find that most of these managers will spend a huge chunk of their time on managing their employees or attending to workplace emergencies.

Artificial intelligence will see that this changes as machines will have the technical capabilities to collect and analyse data. But what are some of the AI technologies that may feature in future warehouse technology? Well, the first should probably be machine learning where machines learn important aspects of warehouse operations and collect the date that can be useful in making decisions. As mentioned in our recent blog, “6 Warehousing Trends to Watch out for in 2019”, we expect that the warehouses in the future will collect a wide array of data, which can include order numbers, shipping data or the level of inventory. The best thing about machine learning is that these types of machines can simplify data analysis and collection.

Key Take-aways

  • Adopting some of these technological trends in your UAE warehouse will ensure that you do not only have efficient warehouse operations but also have an edge against your competitors. A lot of latest technology used in warehouse have been explored in the blog article.
  • Mobile shelving, for example, reduces the amount of space that you need in your warehouse by close to half. This not only improves warehouse efficiency but also reduces the time and cost of accessing inventory in your warehouse. With mobile shelving, warehouse owners are expected to find better ways to move around inventory while also saving up space.
  • Dock levelers continue to ease the operations of a warehouse while also enhancing the safety of warehouse operators.
  • Racking solutions and fast action doors are also other forms of technology that are expected to ease warehouse operations. They increase safety while also making it easier for operators to carry out warehouse operations.
  • Although the use of AI has not peaked in the UAE, early adopters in the Middle East are likely to benefit from efficient warehouse operations. Companies offering warehousing solutions in UAE should take advantage of the ever-changing warehouse logistics solutions to compete effectively in 2019.

Why you should trust LOC8 for all your warehousing needs

Whether you are setting up your first warehouse in the UAE or you already have a couple of warehouses, examining your warehouse operations’ efficiency should be your first priority. Evaluate whether your facility needs a technology upgrade or a total overhaul.

Firms that are able to adopt technology always have an edge over their competitors. With that said, it may not be easy to constantly keep tabs with the latest developments in the warehousing industry. This is among the main reasons why you need to get the services of a trusted warehouse consultant in the UAE. Why should you trust LOC8 with all your warehousing needs in the UAE? We offer you the perfect solution to your warehousing challenges. Our main agenda is ensuring that all your warehousing processes such as storage and handling are perfected to ensure productivity and efficiency. We recommend the use of the best technology in the market to improve warehouse operations.

One thing that makes us provide the best warehouse solution in UAE is our client-oriented approach to warehousing. We strive to understand our clients before creating custom-made solutions that fit their needs. Our company also offers maintenance solutions for your warehouse to ensure everything is running smoothly while you focus on giving the best service to your clients.

Remember, you do not have to always do more to achieve success but rather to focus less on other things.

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