Perceptions of what warehouses are and are capable have changed a lot in the past 20 years. It doesn’t really feel like that long ago when workers and owners/users of warehouses were considered to be just buildings with four walls that were immovable and fixed. However, nowadays that kind of thought process is outdated and not held by most because of things happening outside of those four walls. Last-mile logistics, big data, omnichannel management, e-commerce and cloud computing are all freshening and expanding the modern facilities used for distribution.
Warehouses are still central to it all, but they have a more fluid part in supply chain now. Various outside pressures mould distribution centres by creating innovations and doing away with conventions of the past. Smarter warehouses have come about as a result of innovations in materials handling and technology.
Modern and smart warehouses have three important traits, flexibility, mobility and visibility. Technology is the thing that makes all these possible though. It is now a sophisticated business and if you are a warehouse owner/operated you need to understand and use technology. There are two main considerations that come into operating a warehouse, visibility in ensuring users can, in an intuitive and approachable way, get necessary information. The other is that it’s not just about data, it is about the delivery of that information.
With the availability of wearable tech, tablets, smartphones and RF devices, as well as special applications and software, it is much easier to have a more efficient and versatile workforce and workflow. More important than just big data collection is actually acting on the information in real-time and relying on systems talking to each other.
That’s where omnichannel management frames are important for creating intuitive distribution centres.
Omnichannel has become the norm and see everything being connected, which enables them to fulfil orders from anywhere and move inventory to the other locations that need it or where it sells better. The aim therefore of omnichannel is or provide retailers with a full view of inventory, orders and customers.
Taking the Future into Account
One thing is for sure, when it comes to the ever-evolving use of warehouses, safety is always a concern. Storage will always be required and warehouse operators who need racking pins for longspan racking need to look buy safety accessories for ensuring their modern buildings and distribution centres are safe and secure and able to cope most effectively with any changes.
Because everything is changing quickly for businesses there’s a challenge for them to adapt their existing tech systems and infrastructure. Regardless of if it recognising the automation needs, they have or choosing the best WMS or warehouse management system, there is a need to take the future into account.
This has become a serious concern over the last few years. When many companies made educated investments into warehouse tech to improve their eCommerce operations, the omnichannel trend happened and became the done thing. Because in the shift of inventory not just being placed in warehouse, there has been a need for distribution centres to adapt.