Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Warehouse 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution means to capitalize on unique benefits that prior revolutions have created to date, a time filled with pushing to acquire advanced technological strategies such as automation, artificial intelligence, and the capability to capture and process big data. These practices are most commonly acclimated with those who fall within the manufacturing realm, but at the same time warehousing functions are also well-suited to apply such principles to its work. Warehouse 4.0 involves the usage of IoT, big data and data science, augmented reality, wearables, computer vision, artificial intelligence, sensors, collaborative robots, and computing capabilities. With all of these tactics in tow, warehouses are able to enhance their ‘smarts’ and become an essential component for the supply chain.
Warehouse for All
When it comes to preparing a space for the Warehouse 4.0 takeover, it’s important to keep up with the dynamics of the surrounding workplace. Reconfiguring pallets can help warehouse workers to get out ahead of the curve by allowing a better pathway for robots to navigate, providing a more efficient space for different types of work in the future. Understanding where autonomous and semi-autonomous can hold their weight is important as well. Many warehouses have begun to dive into Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS), which encourages the usage robots throughout the workforce to better complete tasks, especially the most repetitive ones, leaving the more important bits for the human employees.
Warehouse management systems in this case operate as the central nervous system of a much larger digital operation by working to collect the most critical data points, inform robotic counterparts of their to-do list, and always keeping work flows swiftly moving forward. With systems like this, employees can complete the following milestones such as reducing operating costs with improved resource planning, improving order quality and customer service levels, ensuring faster delivery/change response times, decreasing picking errors, increasing inventory accuracy, improving packing, packaging, & labelling processes, ensuring customer notification are sent out, and so many more tasks that were otherwise fulfilled by ill-labored procedures.
Tech of the Future, and Now
Desktop computers are pretty quickly becoming a thing of the past, for everyone who can operate on a laptop device is doing so already, or workers have come to adopt mobile devices in their daily workflow. Mobile devices and their various array of apps work to increase efficiency by allowing employees to work-on-the-go, accessing all of the essential data they need, when they need it. From video conferencing to video imaging, many new advantages are rolling down the line to better help warehouse workers do their jobs. A good use-case for mobility within the warehouse is holding the ability to complete quality inspections and approvals through video call format, or even tracking shipments while on the warehouse floor, the opportunities are endless. All of these technologies and trends have been presented in real time to provide actionable data and even clear view into seamless collaborations that can be processed both internally and throughout the whole of one’s supply chain. Trends like these are only going to continue to enhance themselves, and once a team has captured their perfect methodology for mastering such trends, the Warehouse 4.0 dream is perfectly scalable and achievable.
Back in April, BlueStar featured a topic similar to that of this one for one of our TEConnect Webinars, residing under the 2021 version of the Pandemic Toolkit. Speakers from Elo Touch Solutions, Newcastle, Zebra, and Ivanti got together to talk about their experiences within the ever-changing climate around their warehouse environment and how the incoming tides are impacting trends and constants within their field. If you’re I interested in catching up with the webinar to learn more about how this affects our year and the years to come, be sure to watch it all here.