Warehousing has evolved quite a bit over the past several years, as the introduction of revolutionary systems for handling storage units, processing information and communication have enabled businesses to speed up the retrieval and delivery of every package. These changes are particularly significant for start-ups, who often need a quick competitive edge that will help them gain the position as serious players. Let’s look into the most effective warehouse solutions today.
Among the many benefits of going digital in your warehouse business, saving time and effort of having to collect information about items is the most important one. Instead of keeping stacks of papers, you can use a handheld device that stores all the data you need and retrieve details of a particular storage unit in a matter of seconds. Such a digital system uses barcodes to create, store, and collect information about the goods in the warehouse, so you don’t need to get through written records each time. These mobile devices can also be installed on cranes and forklifts as a useful added feature.
A business that is starting out typically cannot afford the manpower to handle heavy boxes, even operate multiple forklifts for moving pallets around a busy warehouse. Luckily, now there are devices that replace labourers and forklifts, handing all the units automatically. The simplest solution is the conveyor which is used to move products from one place inside the warehouse to another. More sophisticated technologies, such as sortation machines, ensure that every single parcel, box or pallet reaches the desired location within the storage. In the long run, investing in the latest robotic technology which replaces the manual labour pays off, but it requires highly-skilled employees to operate it.
Cloud storage has shaken the foundations of many industries, and logistics is not an exception. By integrating self-updating and hosted computer systems, cloud storage offers start-up businesses a load of benefits, including not only cutting down on maintenance, infrastructure and labour cost, but also the costs associated with the installation and upgrading of warehouse management systems. Of course, there are always considerations such as who will own your data, where it will be physically stored, the location of servers, etc. so start-ups are advised to think it through before committing to a cloud operation.
High Storage Density
With warehouse vacancy rates dwindling, there is a need for increased density of stored goods without compromising the retrieval efficiency. As on-demand warehousing rises as the next step in collaborative logistic, companies are looking for solutions that seek to offer their maximum available space on websites like FLEXE, often called the “Airbnb of warehousing”. Some of the cutting-edge pallet racking solutions include self-powered deep lane pallet racks that feature a carrier shuttle that moves pallets along a specially designed structure, optimising the storage and reducing labour intensity.
Drones are swooping in warehouse operations where they have proven suitable for a variety of applications. Although much faster than running paper archives, barcode scanning, is a time-demanding task, especially in warehouses that are often stacked to the roof. Drones have shown indispensable for scanning storage units that are tricky to reach and would require the use of a forklift or cage and a staff member to scan them. According to the company DroneScan, an 800g drone armed with scanners can count as much stock in two days as an 80-strong team with forklifts and handheld scanners would in three.
Although Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is already a present technology in warehousing, it will become more sophisticated in the near future, and thus more attractive to start-up businesses looking to evolve through expedient operation and competitiveness. The technology is based on using radio waves that feed information between tags attached to stock and RF readers that pick up the signal. Among its many benefits, the most prominent are the greater stock visibility and transparency, which also prevents theft. Combined with drones, the technology allows managers to save floor space by stacking stock as high as possible.
New Definition of Sustainability
In the world of business, there are two kinds of sustainability. The first and the more obvious one is building green, which many new businesses have already taken seriously. In the long run, sustainable spaces yield cost savings through local and state tax rebates and other available incentives that build a hard case in favour of sustainable warehouse design. The second kind of sustainability is meeting the company’s business goals. Although they don’t always align, a good warehouse design strikes the right balance between the two, multiplying the value of its operation.
The new advancements in the field of warehousing aren’t only looking to automatize the entire storage process, but also enable start-up warehouse companies to run their operations without having to hire an army of employees.