Warehouses Will Become Omnipotent With the Internet of Things
Anyone working in or around a supply chain distribution network will by now be aware of the Internet of Things (IoT). But, just in case you’re unaware, IoT is an ecosystem of wirelessly networked devices that facilitate the communication of important information in real time.
The possibilities this technology has opened up include the ability for controlling security and electrical systems in the home via a tablet or smartphone. The technology also enables companies to monitor their supply chain in real-time, so that any products which are ordered by customers are processed automatically. These capabilities will create omnipotent warehouses in the very near future.
The benefits arise from a number of factors made possible by IoT, these include:
• Monitoring in Real-time: Products fitted with sensors allow warehouse components such as pallets, forklifts and the goods they process to be supervised via a computer in real time. This makes the picking process much more efficient, and they can be processed as soon as the order arrives.
• Efficiency in Inventory Management: Never again should a pallet be lost, as they are now traceable during every second of the day. Human error is all but eliminated from the process, and 100% accuracy is provided.
• Smarter, Safer, Forklifts: Forklifts which are fitted with sensors now have the capability to communicate with each other, so that they know exactly what the other is doing. They will also communicate when they need serviced and transmit data, which helps to complete a variety of tasks.
• Optimized Productivity: The supply chain operation is now operating at optimum levels, if managers can get the most out of the new enhancements.
This all works because of the sensors which measure and monitor activity. The fact that everything is now connected through the Internet means that commands can be communicated via stations and smartphones, and the processors that enable this also have computational ability.
Interconnected devices are not necessarily a new thing, with the first generation being trialed and implemented in 2003, at which time there were approximately 500 million connected objects. Today, there are approximately 13 billion—more devices than people on the planet! This latest growth spurt is fueled by the accessibility provided by tablets and smartphones.
A joint report by Cisco & DHL states that IoT has brought a $1.9 trillion boost to logistics and supply chain operations, and this will increase to $8 trillion by 2025.