Warehouses have always been a major component of the manufacturing process, and with the rise of ecommerce, their value has only increased. Orders are expected to be completed in just days or even hours rather than weeks, and the number of products which need to be managed have risen while the labor pool continues to shrink.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused ecommerce sales to rise to an all-time high. In just a few months, the ecommerce sector rose by nearly a third, while manufactures and warehouse operators struggled to keep up due to supply chain issues and a lack of production capacity caused by either sick workers or lockdown orders.
As such, focus has turned again to automation to help solve these issues, but only 35% of warehouse operators understand where to start. Even for those who understand the process, getting it started is also a massive undertaking. That’s why experts have begun to identify five key areas for operators to target, to help make the process simpler.
The first goal should be to improve individual worker productivity by upgrading existing technology, like scanners and computer and printer operating software. From there, workers should then be connected workers to help improve team productivity and overall workflow. New wearable devices can all be connected to a warehouse management system, which can then process this new data and direct workers accordingly and efficiently.
The next step should be integrating automated sensor-based data collection for more insight into actual operations. RFID systems could help warehouses track exactly where each good is, when it enters and leaves, and where any potential slowdowns in the process are. From there, the final steps are to be responsive to any data and begin adapting and predicting new changes. Once one can understand their data and make adjustments, it becomes much easier to anticipate future trends and remain at the forefront.