Feb 22, 2022

Smart warehouse — The future of warehousing?

  • Empower frontline workers
  • Augmented Reality Spotlight

    Smart warehouse

    With modern technology like augmented reality, robotics, the internet of things (iot) or artificial intelligence widely available, it seems absurd that a warehouse should be just a somewhat open space where you store goods. And yet this is the state at which the majority of companies still operates!

    With more than 80 % of desk-less workers still not digitized, the potential for improvement is simply gigantic. And while assembly lines, service, maintenance and many other areas benefit tremendously from integrated augmented reality solutions, it’s indeed the warehouse that currently experiences the fastest change.

    What is smart warehousing?

    The use of AR and connected technology to optimize work processes and to allow easy scheduling is known under the umbrella term “smart warehouse”. But what is a smart warehouse? A warehouse that knows where any good is at any given time, how to get there, where to bring it and so much more. The most useful benefit of such an AR warehouse, however, is the fact that it is able to show the worker through augmented reality how to do his job as fast and efficient as possible. At the same time, it minimizes human error, making the warehouse safer for all involved and further improves turnover time. How can this tall list of benefits be achieved? Through AR-glasses and other wearable devices that are connected to xPick. This smart inventory management software allows “pick-by-vision” and the automation of other crucial elements of warehousing.

    See how AR in warehouses works

    Connect with our experts and find out how Augmented Reality can transform your warehouse processes.

    The intelligent warehouse comes with a lot of benefits

    The list of benefits sounds like a dream for any company running a (non-smart) warehouse:

    • less human error
    • fast shipping
    • lower return rates
    • higher efficiency
    • lower overall costs
    • higher costumer’s satisfaction

    The effects are quite real, however, as the success story of DHL has shown. Even in the fast-pace, high-quantity environment of the DHL supply chain, the intelligent warehouse system that utilizes augmented reality has proven its capability: efficiency increased by 15 %, with accuracy rates rising at the same time. Through the introduction of smart glasses for warehouse picking and an intelligent warehouse system, the effects of smart warehousing can be seen and measured Immediately.

    Less human error

    E-commerce and on-demand-logistics have proven to bring traditional warehousing to its limits. The ever-increasing quantity, in combination with complex and oftentimes inefficient processes, present a challenge for all elements of warehousing – first and foremost the workers. An increase in human error is almost always the result of these new challenges. While it can never be fully avoided, the amount of these problems can be significantly lowered through smart warehousing. Scanner systems, smart inventory management software and the use of smart glasses in warehouse picking offer automation and help reduce the margin for human error significantly.

    Higher efficiency

    Smart warehousing offers a multitude of benefits that increase overall efficiency. The use of augmented reality, for example, allows any worker to get the job done quickly and systematically. By finding the shortest, most efficient route to pick the requested good, the necessary time can be significantly reduced. Similarly, smart inventory management software allows the tracking of goods during all stages of the shipping process. This tracking can then be used to streamline the overall work, reduce errors and improve turnover rate tremendously.

    Often overlooked is the management aspect of a smart warehouse: a well done smart warehousing system project leads to an easily and intuitively manageable backend. The use of Teamviewer’s cloud-based connectivity software, for example, allows remote access, support and control of your warehouse, freeing up the valuable time of your data experts.

    Faster shipping and lower returns create the highest customer satisfaction

    Through our work with companies like Coca-Cola HBC, we’ve seen first hand how the picking accuracy of a smart warehouse outperformed “traditional warehouses” by a wide margin. This higher accuracy, in combination with the faster turnover time, directly translates to a higher overall customer satisfaction. This, in turn, leads to a significantly lower return rate, removing unnecessary stress from your supply chain as a whole.

    See how AR in warehouses works

    Connect with our experts and find out how Augmented Reality can transform your warehouse processes.

    Smart warehousing offers lower overall costs

    One of the most important reasons to switch to a smart warehousing concept is the reduction of overall costs. While the expenses for the change-process might be daunting at first, they quickly amortize. The lower cost for receiving and storing inventory is a major reason for this cost reduction. Simply put: less labor and time is necessary to manage the warehouse and it’s contents. At the same time, the higher efficiency of your workforce increases your turnover rate, allowing you to ship more in the same time/with the same cost.

    The money saved can be re-invested to increase positive effects: You can increase the size and quality of your smart warehouse trough additional sensors and other data points, or improve its performance by utilizing artificial intelligence.

    Elements of warehousing: how to turn your warehouse “smart”

    The backbone of a smart warehouse is the intelligent warehouse system that is used to manage operations and integrate other technologies seamlessly. It is therefore one of the first aspects that has to be taken into account when starting on this process of modernization.

    Through the use of wearable devices and augmented reality with xpick, Teamviewer’s „pick-by-vision“-solution, this system provides tangible benefits for your workforce and the overall efficiency. These effects increase as you make your journey towards the internet of things /(IoT) in your smart warehouse: a multitude of sensors and other data points that enables the digital tracking and data exchange between physical objects. IoT allows you to synchronize systems and devices and make full use of your smart warehouse.

    The typical steps are:

    • Implement a warehouse management system. A WMS will make inventory management easier and increase efficiency. It’s also the foundation which other technologies (like augmented reality) need to “work their magic”.
    • Provide your workforce with augmented reality devices, hand scanners etc. to make full use of your new and improved software.
    • Warehouse robotics allows you to automate tasks, like picking, and can further reduce cost. The use of robotics is therefore a common next step.
    • Continuously invest in IoT technology to gather data about your operations and help synchronize between devices and systems.
    • Use artificial intelligence to improve your processes and reduce risks. With the data you have acquired from the previous steps, AI can help you gain insights that would’ve otherwise been impossible.