Warehouse space growth is expected to soar in the coming years. Currently, old warehouses are being torn down to make room, but it’s a temporary fix. The next innovation is just around the corner, and these amazing mega-warehouses will be built from the ground up.
This article seeks answers and insights into the future of warehouse space through the evolution of warehouse design. It includes important future trends, such as automation and artificial intelligence. In addition, the article aims to provide inferences on how this evolution will affect warehouse design and operations.
The Modern Warehouse: What’s Changed?
The modern warehouse has evolved over the years. Except for a few companies, most storage facilities have some sort of automated conveyor system, and most warehouses have adopted dock-levelling equipment to accommodate a variety of trailers.
Warehouse software has also improved a great deal. Modern warehouses use computerized inventory-control systems that greatly increase productivity and efficiency. This can include warehouse management software (WMS), shipping and receiving software, asset-management software, and even workflow systems to improve office efficiency.
If you’re looking to improve your warehousing solutions, you’d be best placed to consider looking into the modern improvements that automation can bring.
Automation is the word of our generation. We’re surrounded by automation, yet most people don’t know what it is. Many of us see automation as a goal in itself, but in reality, it’s only part of the bigger picture.
If you want to learn more about the future of warehouse automation, then this section is for you. Here, we’ll look at the different systems that make up a modern storage and distribution facility.
A conveyor system is perhaps the most minimalistic example of automation in warehousing and logistics.
Modern warehouses can now automatically fulfil orders and ship goods with the help of conveyors. From case stations to order picking, conveyors are one of the most common technologies in warehousing and logistics.
Order Picking & Case Stations
Many warehouses use some form of automated order picking. Automated pickers pick orders, and then they are either sent to a case station or directly to a truck.
The major advantage of an automated order-picking system is the ability to work around labour shortages. This means you can have fewer staff pick orders, and it’s easier to schedule for peak shipping dates.
Automated Receiving & Fulfilment Centers
More sophisticated warehouse automation systems also utilize order fulfilment centers. This is where the automated warehouse comes into play, and it’s an area we’ll be covering in more detail in future articles.
In short, an automated order fulfillment center is a warehouse with multiple robots that process orders and send shipments directly to consumers. At this stage of automation, there’s no human interaction at all. However, it is important to note that there are both manual and autonomous fulfillment centers.
Value-added services enable companies to use automation in their fulfillment centers without compromising service levels or productivity. Case stations can move goods from storage to shipping containers without human intervention.
Fulfillment center operators need not worry about overstocking goods as robots will accurately and reliably fill orders with accurate quantities and measurements.