Although it is very difficult to predict the trends for the coming year in logistics and warehousing, industry experts agree on one thing – technology will continue to move the industry forward, making processes more streamlined and cutting down staff costs, as well as having better stock control facilities.
The key features to look out for in the coming years are said to be automation, augmented reality, and smart devices.
It can be a daunting thought trying to stay on top of the trends and follow innovation, what with everything else the industry has been trying to cope with over the past few years, but we have summarised below a few of the ideas of what to look out for in the near future:
This doesn’t necessarily have to be robots working alongside your personnel picking and packing – but it could be! You may simply want to dip your toe in the automation water with something like a carton flow rack system that helps you organise your stock.
Either way, you can combine traditional warehousing equipment with contemporary technology, and we will need to eventually compete with others in the industry. If your ultimate goal is to have a largely automated warehouse in the future but have budget restraints currently, you can think ahead and make sure that any storage shelving and decking that you buy now, will accommodate the long, slender arm or a wide base of a robot in future. Shape your warehouse and shelving now so that it is ready for any future developments.
Eventually, smart sensors will be networked throughout the entire supply chain, with all key stakeholders having access to the real-time data. Sensors in the warehouse will keep track of all stock movement, as well as the remaining available space after each order is filled, providing immediate, up-to-the-minute data to the warehouse, the distributor and the manufacturer. This will take some time to become fully established but how transformative this will be for the industry!
Industry experts following the trends believe that augmented virtual realities will become essential in logistics and warehousing in the near future because these products can make workers’ jobs easier and quicker. Employees will access the technology through wearable clothing and accessories. Items such as special gloves and glasses that can scan barcodes seem to lend themselves particularly nicely to logistics. Of course, traditional cantilevered shelves or lightweight pallet racking systems will still be key for organising stock for the virtual reality technology.
Until all of these trends and technologies become a reality and more mainstream, warehousing will of course continue to rely on the human brain to make decisions about inventory levels, picking and packing systems and safety conditions. We will continue to help you design and install the most cost-effective and efficient warehouse by giving you a variety of product choices, from cantilever shelves and wire decking to pallet racks and forklifts. These things are here to stay whatever the future may bring!