Technology continues to reshape the warehouse, offering a host of developments and advances that can automate repetitive tasks, eliminate labor-consuming duties, and improve worker safety. Dan Cuellar, senior director of sales at logistics automation company Addverb Technologies, listed the top warehouse trends and innovations that logistics and supply chain professionals should be watching during an “innovation session” presentation at CSCMP EDGE 2022, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ annual industry conference, being held this week in Nashville.
Cuellar listed 10 top trends and innovations, telling audience members the list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ways in which technology advances are helping today’s warehouses run smoother, smarter, and more efficiently. Here’s a look at Cuellar’s list:
AMRs and AGVs. Autonomous Mobile Robots and Automated Guided Vehicles are the largest growing segment of the warehouse tech landscape, and will be for the next five years, Cuellar said. That’s because they are a simple solution that can be implemented relatively quickly and scaled up or down to meet shifting demands.
Robotics replacing conveyors. Continuing the AMR trend, Cellular says these flexible solutions are increasingly being used to replace conveyors, or portions of conveyors, throughout the warehouse.
Wireless fleet management. The adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies is driving this trend, as more and more sensors find their way into equipment for monitoring, maintenance, and data extraction and analysis.
Modular “plug and play” solutions. This trend allows company leaders and warehouse managers to add bits and pieces of equipment and technology to create the best system for their needs. Examples include shuttles, AMRs, pick modules, various types of storage solutions, and more working in conjunction throughout a facility.
Cloud-based warehouse management systems (WMS). An alternative to on-premises WMS solutions, cloud-based systems offer subscription-based services that cost less, use fewer labor resources, and can be launched quickly–making them an attractive option for a wide range of organizations.
Rounding out Cuellar’s top 10 list are: the IoT, primarily for its ability to collect, transfer, and analyze data; the trend to “do more in smaller spaces”, driven by demand for things like AMRs and high-density storage solutions; Big Data and analytics; industry mergers and acquisitions, which is expected to continue as logistics technology companies look to fill gaps in their service capabilities; and flexible versus fixed equipment, driven by the demand for more modular, scalable, and movable warehouse solutions.