The number of new technological advances coming to the logistics sector over the past few years has been significant, and experts believe that trend is likely to continue for years to come. These changes help employees and executives alike with everything from mobile data collection and picking to managing inventory on an ongoing basis. But with the plethora of choices now available, decision-makers need to carefully evaluate their options and determine which will integrate best into their existing platforms, as well as those they may seek to adopt in the future.

Many experts believe drone technology will soon become common in warehouses across the country, according to DC Velocity. While there has been plenty of press coverage about Amazon's proposed use of these flying robots in speeding up same-day delivery, some companies are already starting to utilize them in their warehouses for more mundane tasks, such as a physical inventory count, and getting strong results.

What's the benefit?
The reason drones are so beneficial for many logistics companies is that they can be used to greatly reduce the time needed for inventory management and possibly even picking. Drones can zip around vertically and horizontally, navigating warehouses as the crow flies while people have to proceed on foot, use ladders, navigate obstacles, and so on.

Moreover, the ease of equipping these drones with Wi-Fi-enabled cameras can also provide users with a real-time look at operations, possibly even help with security. This may be especially beneficial in logistics settings because drones are easy to configure and operate for just about any need.

A simpler option
For logistics firms that don't think they're ready to take the big step to drones right now, it might be wiser to simply adopt tablets or smartphones that help with mobile warehouse inventory management and further integrate warehouse machinery into a larger network to boost efficiency, according to Modern Materials Handling. The more that can be done to location-track workers or machinery throughout a a facility, the more smoothly warehouses may run. Warehouses can also use drones for handling items, such as scanning them into and out of inventory.

Furthermore, the information these devices collect may be used to take a broader look at operations as a whole. They allow executives to get an idea of where the company can work out its kinks. By giving real-time information about worker or equipment locations, logjams are less likely to occur.

For any warehouse decision-makers who are now evaluating their options for taking the next step technologically, it's probably a good idea to consult with enterprise resource planning providers about the possible ways to integrate the latest options into existing warehouse management platforms, MMH further advised. The key to getting the most out of a transition to new technology is to make sure it integrates well within existing operations. ERP or WMS suppliers can advise any business about which options will work best given their current setups.

In general, the more work executives can do to research exactly how to move when making these kinds of decisions, the better off they're going to be. Moreover, ensuring all workers involved know how best to implement these changes and use the new devices they're given – with plenty of training in advance – is the most effective way to ensure there are as few growing pains as possible.