The Impact and Opportunities of Automation for Logistics

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Companies worldwide are facing labor shortages and disruption to their supply chain as a result of uncertain conditions around the economy, the political landscape and more. Many organizations are using automation to increase their productivity and add to their bottom line—and so should you.

Here are the hottest automation trends that are revolutionizing the logistics sector.

Connected warehouses

Warehouses have always stressed connectivity. However, the development of 5G and the Internet-of-Things (IoT) has raised the bar to another level.

The proliferation of IoT warehouse devices (like Industrial PC’s embedded computers) on machines, products, facilities and even people is effectively making warehouse aisles transparent.

Using a tablet or a cellphone, managers can track the whereabouts of every product, package and pallet that is either in the warehouse or in transit.

Furthermore, the rise in connectivity also allows outside stakeholders like sales, distribution, management or suppliers to stay plugged into the customer relationship management (CRM) systems. The software then gives them accurate, real-time information about inventory and orders anytime, anywhere.

Machine-worker integration

For logistics companies facing a labor crunch, robots that work alongside people to complete tasks together may be the answer to increasing productivity.  

At least 73 percent of employers see a mixed human-robot workforce as the ideal solution—and for good reasons too. While robots like ABB’s double-armed YuMi can work faster, longer and with greater precision, a human’s critical thinking skills and ingenuity are still unmatched.

By taking over the most repetitive, physically demanding tasks, robotics can help save employees from burnout. This has been proven in warehouses where automation has kept employee turnover rates below the 36 percent standard measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

AI-powered automation

Finding better ways of improving processes is an endless concern for modern managers. But luckily, artificial intelligence (AI) is here to help.

Intelligent automation is a growing trend that builds on AI’s data-processing capabilities to enhance manufacturing and storing processes. By using intelligent automation, both factories and warehouses alike can streamline their workflows and free up resources that are needed elsewhere.

And by optimizing processes that were originally designed for humans, these tech solutions are helping to modernize and advance a wide variety of industries like automotive, warehousing, transportation and so on.

Data-driven decisions

With consumer demand at an all-time high, companies are prioritizing digital technologies to help them build a complete picture of everything that is happening or developing in their companies. Think big data, AI, IoT and cloud services.

For warehouses, the cornerstone of this new way of planning in real-time is represented by the warehouse execution system (WES). By compiling and analyzing their data with AI, logistical centers can use WES software to make last-minute decisions about their inventory, orders and workflows with a high level of precision—and confidence.

Want to know more about how automation can accelerate your business? Then register for the Automate Show, May 6–9, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois, and experience the latest automation technologies in action.

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