As suppliers increasingly look for ways to overcome operational challenges in their warehouses, some are beginning to leverage smart warehouse technology like automation and artificial intelligence to improve the productivity of their warehouse associates and enhance their processing efficiencies.
Reflecting this trend, the global smart warehouse technology market is expected to surge over the next few years, reaching a valuation of $29 billion by 2028, according to data from KBV Research.
Popular smart warehouse technology in use today
There is an extensive range of smart warehouse solutions currently used by some of the largest (and highest-performing) companies. Among the most common are:
- Warehouse management systems: WMS software centralizes all supplier and inventory data in a single system, giving your warehouse managers complete oversight of all fulfillment functions. Managers can use this information to make data-driven decisions about their internal processes to optimize performance and improve output.
- Robot palletizing solutions: These machines automate the tedious and time-consuming process of packaging materials onto pallets for storage and transportation. Not only do robot palletizers drastically enhance processing efficiencies and improve production speeds, they also reduce the incidence of human error for better quality outcomes.
- Internet of things (IoT) devices: You can equip materials in your warehouse with advanced IoT sensors to digitally track their movements throughout your supply chain. IoT devices can support your inventory management functions while giving you precise tracking information about specific items for more accurate reporting and forecasting.
As smart technology becomes an increasingly important part of daily operational procedures, expect organizations to rely on it to bolster their supply chain management strategies.
Operational advantages throughout your company
While increasing efficiencies and improving productivity are among the primary advantages to deploying smart warehouse technology, organizations stand to experience numerous other downstream benefits as well. These include:
- Investing resources into high-value priorities: Automating the manual, repetitive functions of your warehouse liberates your human capital and lets warehouse associates focus their creative resources on more complex problems. It also directs your limited bandwidth to higher-value priorities that drive innovation and create new value for your customers.
- Facilitating scalability during high-demand seasons: Streamlining your operations with a leaner workforce gives you the capacity to scale up or down depending on your needs. It allows you to handle a larger volume of inventory without creating bottlenecks or inaccuracies while keeping costs within budget.
- Improving customer satisfaction: On the whole, smart warehousing technology reduces labor and operational costs (which suppliers can push down to consumers) and enhances processing times for faster (and more accurate) shipments. All of this leads to greater customer satisfaction, loyalty and long-term profitability.
Used strategically, smart warehouse technology can play a vital role in future-proofing your business and increasing your operational resilience in the face of endemic supply chain challenges.