The trend towards online shopping has thrown fresh focus on the warehousing and distribution industries. In order for businesses to meet consumer expectations, companies need to deliver the right goods on time.
Increasing levels of demand for online shopping means that the only way retailers will be able to cope with demand is by increasing levels of automation in the warehousing and distribution process. This trend is already under way and is going to see some significant changes occur in the way warehouses operate.
1 Design for Automation
Warehouses will increasingly need to be designed for automated handling, so pallets, storage boxes and pallet racking in Ireland will all need to be compatible with robot handling systems. The design and layout of warehouses themselves is likely to change too, so that picking robots and automatic vehicles have the room they need to operate safely.
2 Heavier Loads
If storage boxes don’t have to be handled by humans, they can be made to hold heavier loads. They can also be stored at greater heights if only robots are going to access them. Bigger, heavier boxes means more efficiency compared to moving a number of smaller units, thus reducing costs and speeding up processes.
3 Less Racking
Warehouse storage systems from companies like duffydiscount are set to change too. Automation will mean reduced use of racking in order to create a more streamlined work environment. It’s possible that this will allow warehouses to store more products in the same space too, thanks to more efficient stacking.
As automated handling spreads throughout all stages of the distribution process, it will lead to increased standardisation. We already see this to an extent with industry standard pallet sizes, but automation will increasingly see storage bins and boxes adopt standard sizes too. The use of plastic, reusable pallets and crates is also set to increase.
For automated picking and handling to work, it needs all items to be properly labelled. This ensures they can move smoothly through the distribution process. While most products have a barcode these days, the use of RFID tags will increase as these allow tracking not just by the warehouse system but throughout the whole process, from manufacture to storage through to shipping. A customer could potentially see where their order is at any time.