From receiving, organizing, and managing inventory to finding, packing, and fulfilling orders, warehouse management does it all. If one step of the process is a little bit off, the whole system fails. This is why having the right technology in warehouse management is so important.
With technology always changing, it can sometimes feel like you’re constantly throwing away a chunk of your budget for technological improvements. The truth is that you don’t need the absolute latest and greatest; you just need the right combination.
The following four types of technology in warehouse management are where you should be putting your money.
Warehouse management systems
A warehouse management system (WMS) is a type of software program (and the corresponding active processes) used by warehouse professionals to control and distribute all levels of warehouse activity.
For example, Global Warehouse Solutions uses its WMS to organize and complete the following functions:
Most warehouse management systems today are cloud-based applications, meaning that the software does not need to be physically downloaded onto a device to be used. Rather, it is delivered on a monthly plan over the internet and is automatically regularly upgraded.
It is sometimes argued that, though WMS has a low upfront cost, the price adds up over time through monthly payments. However, software that is not cloud-based cannot always be upgraded – meaning you may end up using it for less time.
It also simplifies warehouse processes and improves the accuracy, speed, and efficiency of warehouse operations. This makes WMS a must when it comes to technology in warehouse management.
Internet of things (IoT)
Along with WMS, the internet of things (IoT) is an important part of the equation for an efficient and effective warehouse solution. IoT is not software, but rather a term used to describe the process of connecting devices (aka ‘things’) to the internet.
IoT can be integrated with a WMS and improve warehouse operations in the following ways:
- Transportation vehicle tracking
- Shelf sensors for stock availability
- Sensing temperature and humidity levels
- Equipment maintenance sensing
With IoT, you’ll know exactly what your inventory looks like in real-time with the click of a button.
Another popular technology in warehouse management is the automation of infrastructure, such as guided vehicles and picking tools.
Automated guided vehicles refer to vehicles like pallet carts and forklifts. By automating these vehicles, they can drive, load, and unload containers without human involvement. Picking tools can help out by picking merchandise off shelves.
The benefit of using automated infrastructure is that it reduces human error, and allows your employees to focus on tasks that require a human touch.
Why use third-party logistics (3PL)?
These types of technology in warehouse management are non-negotiable for most companies. However, if you’re a smaller business, you may not have the budget to implement these technologies in-house.
To get access to the best warehouse technologies without breaking the bank, look into working with a third party-logistics (3PL) company. 3PL companies are experts in warehouse management and often cost less than an in-house warehouse team. In other words, using a 3PL company means you’ll get better results while spending less.
Check out reviews for Global Warehouse Solutions to see why partnering with a 3PL company may be the right move for you.