Like most other industries, warehouse management has changed quite a lot over the past couple of years. Most changes have been brought about the introduction of revolutionary systems for handling the materials, obtaining and processing information and communication. They have all been put to good use, with an aim to have each package reach the destination.
Everyone involved in warehousing business, either a seasoned expert or a newbie, has to be ready to accept the latest additions to the industry if they are to remain or become competitive. This is particularly true in case of those about to start their own business, who need to be ready to hit the ground running and position themselves as a serious player.
So, what is it that will help them survive the most difficult period before they eventually make the grade
Paperless is the word
There are many benefits of going digital in the warehousing business, such as saving time and effort of having to move around in order to collect information about items and not having to keep stacks of papers. This latter one is particularly useful, since you can use a handheld device to store all the info you need and retrieve it in a matter of seconds. Not only that, but they can also be installed on cranes and forklifts, which is also a convenient feature.
The digital system uses barcodes to collect and store information about the products in the warehouse. By reading a barcode, you can find out everything you need to know about the product and you don’t have to keep any written records. If you want your startup to introduce this paperless technology, you should definitely do it sooner, rather than later, since that’ll give everyone more time to get used to it and make the most of this wonderful feature.
Needless to say, you don’t have to have people lift heavy boxes or even forklifts moving pallets around the warehouse. There are now devices which handle all the products automatically and move them around the warehouse.
The simplest one is the conveyor, which is used to move products from one place inside the warehouse to another, but there are much more sophisticated ones, as well. For example, some devices can sort the materials in a way that each package or pallet reaches the correct location within the storage. Naturally, such devices don’t come cheap, but they are a smart investment and save money in the long run.
Finally, the cutting-edge technology is applied in robotic technologies, which are used to replace manual labour in terms of unpacking and arranging goods. However, such sophisticated technology requires highly-skilled staff to operate and maintain it, which is something you should also take into account before splashing out on the latest piece of technology.
There are quite a few solution sets that help you with both material handling and paperless technology, which is particularly useful for warehouses that use versatile pallet racks for storing items. Their advantage is that they don’t occupy a lot of space, but they feature flexible cranes that can help you relocate smaller objects within the facility.
Another option are batch picking solution sets, with conveyor belts and a smart separation feature, which helps every item find its way to the right pallet. This set is great for speeding up and streamlining the process and it also helps the staff a lot. On the other hand, there is a split case handling solution for automated labelling and validating, if that’s what you’re after.
As you can see, the trend is to automatize the whole industry and have the warehouse fully operational with as few employees as possible. However, the skills and qualifications of such employees are becoming more and more specific, which means they might be more difficult to find in the future.
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Clarissa is a Creatrix® Transformologist for women and also part of The Global Information Network.
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