There are many challenges for the warehouse and manufacturing sectors today, whether they are driven by politics or economic shifts. The response is these key trends in automation and management that will help to drive the industry onward, make businesses more resilient to change and updating the way that operators function.
- Automated and autonomous vehicles. AGVs (automated guided vehicles) and AMRs (autonomous mobile robots) might be cleaning vehicles, forklifts or used to move heavy loads. They’re here for 2020 and their use is becoming increasingly popular.
- Integrating other warehouse robotics. While some, such as Amazon, are forging ahead in including robotic technology in warehouses many businesses have been cautious. However, this year we are likely to see more companies investigating the benefits that this can bring in 2020, from optimised workflows to a 70% overall reduction in operating costs.
- People + robotics. The official term is ‘cobotics,’ which combines the precision and speed of technology with human analysis and insight.
- Automated picking. For any warehouse picking is an essential process but also one that is frequently inefficient for employees and which takes up a lot of time. Automated picking systems enable faster fulfilment and higher levels of accuracy too.
- IoT capability. It’s the Internet of Things that will ensure that humans, robotics and warehouse management systems are communicating properly. Optimising technology investment from the ground up by focusing first on IoT is a big trend this year.
- Gaming as an incentive. In order to combat labour shortages we are starting to see some new trends in the way workforces are managed. Gamification of traditionally mundane and boring tasks – such as incentives for picking and packing speed and accuracy - is designed to attract more into the industry.
- Tools for speedier shipping. Same day shipping is not new but this year the tools to make it a widespread reality are. From AGVs for pallet moving to robotic assembly, reconfiguring to a warehouse that is focused on this key function is a big trend this year.
- Automating ancillary roles. For example, automated floor cleaning using AGVs is increasingly popular, especially for those warehouses looking to streamline costs.
- Analysing performance data. Big data, and the application of analytics to it, has become a huge trend this year as the benefits of this type of information become clearer. Advances in analytics now make it possible for any business to mine big data for insights into how to improve operations and profit.
- Wireless technology. The use of sensors enables better management of the warehouse vehicles in your fleet that could be game changing this year. For example, this technology means that machines can collect data that can be used to improve operations and instant alerts can be generated about issues such as incidents or the need for maintenance.
These automation and management trends are set to have a broad impact across the warehouse industry this year. Their popularity is likely to be driven by the potential they have for streamlining operations and improving the bottom line.