Within the logistics industry, the internet of things seems to be here to stay, as companies continue to invest in technology that allows them to learn more about their operations. Much of these investments go toward automating tasks that used to be done manually and would consume lots of work hours for employees and executives. More processes are now being folded into the latest tech options, thereby boosting efficiency, reducing costs and generally making jobs easier.
For instance, Ingenious Designs – a subsidiary of the Home Shopping Network – recently revamped how it manages its entire warehouse, which used to be almost entirely manual, according to FierceRetail. Until adopting the new system, the company relied on all-paper ordering, picking and processing and manually updated a massive spreadsheet every day. After switching to advanced inventory management software, the company is already in much better shape. Workers now traverse warehouse space with mobile devices that help them in several facets of their jobs.
Keeping up with the industry
At some point, the company realized that its previous warehousing efforts simply weren't allowing it to maintain an even pace with competitors. The switch will likely save Ingenious Designs about half a million dollars this year alone, through increased efficiency and other means, so it's easy to see why executives pulled the trigger on adoption. In that way, such an adoption effort can pay for itself quickly and easily.
"System-directed work took decision-making and, quite honestly, hesitation out of the equation," said Brian Marriott, the vice president of global supply chain management for Ingenious Designs, in an interview with FierceRetail. "This enabled them to spend time getting their work done and making sure it was being done correctly. We were able to now compartmentalize the work into zones and tasks. No longer were employees touching an order from genesis to completion."
Plenty to consider
Of course, not all companies have the same needs when it comes to taking the next step with how they operate, from mobile data collection to managing their Dynamics NAV timesheet issues. There are plenty of ways for decision-makers to assess what risks they face in handling potential hurdles, according to independent manufacturing consultant Dave Turbide. Greater efficiency, for example, engendered by modern software and hardware adoption also brings with it the potential for more stumbling blocks – supply chain delays, cybersecurity threats, etc. – simply because it introduces more variables into the equation.
Some companies are already moving on from their standard warehouse management systems and utilizing next-gen technology such as augmented reality. With help from headsets and apps on mobile devices, workers can pick and package faster, according to Next Reality News. Those that have already implemented AR devices in their warehouses say the benefits are visible immediately, simply because they make efficient logistics operations nearly foolproof by taking out all the guesswork. These devices show workers exactly which products they're supposed to pick and help them chart the most efficient course to those products using real-time data.
With so many choices for warehouses to adopt next-gen technology, it's vital that executives carefully assess all their options and determine which will work best for their companies' unique needs.