Emerging Technologies Driving Warehousing

Explore the most emerging technologies driving the future of warehousing, top logistics innovations & transportation industry trends

Emerging Technologies Driving Warehousing

Warehousing and logistics are significantly impacted by the growth of modern technologies – Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and big data. These intelligent technologies allow tracking transportation and storage, save teams’ time, re-direct investments, and improve the end experience. In this article, we’ll explore the most emerging technologies driving the future of warehousing, top logistics innovations & transportation industry trends.

To understand which technologies will be prevalent in the next 2-5 years, let’s look at the ones that impact the industry right now. According to Statista, the most common innovations, used by warehouse teams, are barcode scanners, labels, readers, connected smartphones, RFID tags, sensors, and others.

Most innovations currently prioritized in the market target intelligent tracking and management. Having enough information on all the processes in real-time allows for preventing accidents and predicting risks as well as driving the move to the smart warehouse.

However, these priorities will not remain constant. Once the monitoring aspect of warehouse management has been automated and innovated by most companies, they will move on to other innovations. Let’s look at the technologies relevant to warehouse companies now and in the next 3-5 years.

Transportation Industry Technologies Warehousing Trends Innovations

The goal of warehouse companies is and will be reducing operational costs. The most long-term and efficient way of doing so is cutting down on existing human resources costs.  Robotics is the most likely candidate for warehouse automation – companies already increasingly adopt automated vehicles. Keep reading to discover the most emerging technologies driving the future of warehousing, top logistics innovations & transportation industry trends.

Automated Guided Vehicles

Vehicles with automated guidance (together with carts) are the primary candidates for goods transportation inside the warehouse and in the nearby territory. AGV vehicles need geospatial data and safety scanners to transport goods around the warehouse safely.

This technology was already in use by 2XL, a Belgian warehouse company that developed custom robotic vehicles to execute warehouse logistics. They were able to cut costs and time spent, along with reducing the number of human errors.

Mobile Robots Warehousing Technologies

Autonomous robots can also be used to navigate in warehouses, but their mechanism is different. They use sensors and maps rather than rep-rest routes to navigate the territory. Such a system makes them more universal but also less predictable. It‘s a better option for more giant warehouses with more potentially unpredictable variables. Such solutions already exist, such as TagSurvey, which can scan the warehouse territory in real-time and detect obstacles on its way following the future of warehousing tends and innovations.

Drone Deliveries

During the last 4-5 years, drones migrated from science fiction to be an actionable tool for warehousing and logistics. Amazon introduced its concept of deliverable drones, Octocopters, back in 2013, and since then, the idea has been widely embraced by other providers, like DHL.

The technology of a deep optical view makes real-time analysis of the landscape and efficient drone delivery possible. That’s why drones have the potential to quickly deliver products even to hardly accessible areas while using little fuel and requiring minimal human oversight. However, over the next 2-3 years, we will likely see a fully autonomous aerial model.

Voice Tasking Technology

Drivers aren’t the only ones who can be substituted by technology. Companies can use voice tasking technology to replace traditional operators. Smart systems can generate voice commands automatically, considering data-based insights, reducing the chances of human errors, and avoiding misunderstandings.

Voice tasking technologies were around as early as the early 2000s, but now, with natural language processing and conversation AI, it has reached a new level. A Voice tasking technology is now relevant not only for product picking but for other activities as well, including:

  • Distribution center management: replenishment, transport, transfer, distribution, receiving, and documentation of products;
  • In-store management: voice assistants can generate commands for picking, stock management, and monitoring;
  • Repairs and maintenance: Voice-talking software can guide teams through technological crises.

Order Fulfillment Optimization Technology

Order fulfillment requires the cooperation of multiple logistics specialists. Drivers, on-site workers, operators, and customer managers need to be updated with the latest updates. Doing this in a manual mode becomes impossible – especially as customer expectations grow.

That is why businesses adopt innovative platforms that automate and oversee payments, order management, fulfillment, and customer interactions with warehousing technologies. The management systems are connected to shipping solutions, where the operations are executed. Usually, this is done in two ways. Let’s take a closer look below:

  • Order Management System tracks customer requests and assigns orders. OMSs keep team members updated on new tasks and provide tangible analytics.
  • Warehouse Management Systems handles the distribution of orders. They are concerned with technical aspects of order fulfillment: transportation, route and time planning, risk assessment, and real-time reporting.

Cloud computing technologies on warehousing

With innovative analytical systems and real-time tracking, data is constantly growing. Most companies can’t afford to continuously scale their in-house servers- it requires hardware, space, and expert teams expenses. This is why many logistics providers prefer to outsource computing to third-party vendors. By using the infrastructure of big tech companies, they can share the resources and cut costs. Continue reading to find best emerging technologies driving the future of warehousing, top logistics innovations & transportation industry trends.

Benefits of Cloud computing for warehousing

  • Scalability: unlike with in-house resources, warehouse companies can always edit the amount of available storage and number of CPUs. The companies can adapt according to their workloads, seasons, and available budgets.
  • Less responsibility: companies can focus on the  delivery and management quality rather than overseeing security, compatibility, and hardware maintenance;
  • Innovation: Most cloud infrastructure also includes tools for Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and big data.

Even big retailers today don’t often have the resources to accommodate big warehousing. The expenses for digital marketing and technology are instantly growing, and the physical investments are suddenly becoming less relevant. The warehousing industry will likely experience “uberization” soon. Big providers will rent their warehousing space for long-term subscriptions, so companies won’t have to manage warehouses in-house.

It’s an excellent possibility for warehousing companies because they can think about building expendable infrastructures and engage B2B clients’ interests. For businesses that wouldn’t want to continue to support their own warehouse, it’s an opportunity to outsource this work.

The biggest barriers to adopting emerging technologies

The adoption of innovation in warehousing carries some difficulties along with opportunities. After all, there has to be a reason why logistics and warehousing industries are still relatively behind in the digital transformation to other significant fields of transportation industry technologies using emerging technologies driving warehousing and logistics.

1 Technologies Driving Warehousing: Security

Collecting a lot of data on movements, customer personal data, creating intelligent analytics with strategic information about partners, and connecting stakeholders can potentially make a golden mine of private data for hackers. If a company doesn’t have a dedicated security department, they risk facing a security breach. Such a threat will dent the provider’s reputation and significantly decrease the revenue.

2 Lack of human resources

Providers need to partner with reliable technical teams to adopt innovation in logistics and warehousing. Not only they have to understand the specific technologies, but they also, have experience of working in this field. After all, logistics and warehouses deal with specific standards and regulations.

3 Ethics on Warehousing Technologies

Many innovations in logistics fields revolve around robotics and automation. This means getting rid of workplaces, which is not a positive endeavor by the public. So, it’s possible that governments might impact the decision to move to automation or that a company might sustain PR damage.

4 Lack of knowledge

The company’s management needs to understand the key stages of digital transportation. So, be ready to embrace long-term investment. Technology adoption pays off in the long run but might not necessarily be efficient immediately. Knowing when to place a bet on technology and when to redirect investments elsewhere is an essential competency for digital transformation.

Technologies Driving Warehousing: Bottom line

Technological transformation has already become inevitable in the logistics field. With that in mind, organizations should start adopting technologies as quickly as possible to drive the move to the intelligent warehouse. Companies can only outsmart competitors and offer a better customer experience by embracing them. However, they should take into account that digital transformation is long-term. That is why it is essential to start planning ahead to build sustainable systems and meet with success.