The growing Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting billions of pieces of equipment, consumer products, smart home systems, electronic products and other items. This represents an unprecedented revolutionary approach to collecting data from remote assets, improving predictive maintenance, providing remote troubleshooting and control capabilities, and creating new ways to leverage large amounts of data.
Mobility plays a similar role. As long as they have a smartphone, tablet or PDA, every partner, employee and customer can get it anywhere, anytime. Combine mobility and the Internet of Things to extend the company's reach to almost any place.
What does this mean for warehouses? Although mobility and the Internet of Things provide plenty of opportunities outside the four walls, they also have a positive impact in distribution centers. The Internet of Things will allow the supply chain to create ultra-efficient warehouses that reduce shipping errors and reduce inventory.
Mobility and the Internet of Things will benefit the four main ways of the warehouse:
1. Better inventory management.
The shelves full of connected products and smart shipping containers will make it easier to find and manage inventory in the warehouse. These systems can automatically generate alerts if inventory runs low or temperature or other conditions may jeopardize the quality of the goods. Shelves and shelves can be part of the Internet of Things and using real-time connections to help guide picking and putaway. The Internet of Things also makes it easier to manage returns because the return items themselves can convey important information about their status, location, and final disposal point.
2. Improved efficiency and less labor.
By better understanding the location of the goods, employees can complete their work faster. With a mobile computer, employees can work anywhere in the warehouse. The Internet of Things can also be used to automate more warehouses and generate real-time demand signals to guide robotic picking systems. Data from related inventory and infrastructure can also help warehouse operators identify bottlenecks and monitor unsafe working conditions. Using this data, the warehouse can be reconfigured to be more secure and provide the most efficient picking path and inventory configuration.
3. Better customer engagement.
With the granular visibility of inventory and warehouse operations provided by the Internet of Things and mobile devices, you can give your customers a better understanding of the status of their inventory or orders. Data from field-connected products can also be used to generate more accurate demand signals and order/production forecasts.
In addition, the warehouse can also provide new value-added services for customers who use IoT and mobile technologies. With better information on inventory and future needs, warehouses can provide their customers with more capacity, providing a “burst” for short-term increases in capacity. Faster access to better inventory information means that warehouses can more successfully provide cross-docking, instant and other types of services in a more cost-effective manner.
4. Reduce risk.
The Internet of Things can help warehouses better detect risks and avoid mistakes/accidents that could lead to loss in the supply chain. Sensors in the warehouse can monitor temperature, humidity and other conditions. Data from transport vehicles, vehicles, and products themselves can be used in combination to reduce theft, counterfeiting, transfer, and corruption.
The Internet of Things and mobile technologies can make supply chains more flexible, reliable, predictable and transparent. Whether internally or in terms of productivity and efficiency, warehouses can benefit from the Internet of Things and benefit externally by improving customer service. With this technology, your entire operation can benefit from efficiency, productivity, and accuracy, which can help your business grow.