Warehouses across the nation have been leveling up their processes in order to compete with increasing global demands and customer expectations shaped by giants like Amazon.
To do this, warehouse owners and managers have taken a hard look at their productivity and efficiency and started for looking for different solutions that allow their employees to work smarter – not harder.
From new technological implementations to focusing on their environmental footprint, here are the top four trends that are changing warehouses across the nation.
With the state of our climate on everyone’s mind, it isn’t surprising that many warehouses are leaning towards correcting any wasteful behavior.
Sustainable warehousing is defined as, “integrating, balancing and managing the economic, environmental and social inputs and outputs of the warehouse operations.” It’s a way for warehouses to continue their manufacturing while finding ways to decrease any negative impacts on the environment – such as re-evaluating how much packaging their products actually need and what material they should use.
The effects of sustainable warehousing can be seen in every aspect of a warehouse’s business. Not only are eco-friendly, sustainable operations helping the environment, but it’s also likely to decrease utility bills and boost morale for employees, who most likely will be proud to work for a proactive, green company.
The financial benefits of sustainable practices certainly help, too. Many businesses that commit to sustainable practices are rewarded by a quickly growing customer base that is willing to invest in products that are good for the environment – despite a potential price increase over non-sustainable products. Reports have shown that over 60% of people do not mind paying more for green products, and the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Businesses has shown that products marketed as being sustainable or eco-friendly grew 5.6x faster than others that were not.
Some steps to transitioning to a sustainable warehouse include:
- Ensuring energy-saving equipment and energy management systems
- Purchasing electric and solar-powered vehicles for delivery
- Decreasing the amount of packaging used in delivered products
- Switching packaging materials to a more eco-friendly material
- Making sure your warehouse stays insulated during extremely cold or hot seasons, to avoid high utility bills and wasting energy
One of the biggest recent innovations in warehouse management has been blockchain technology, and it continues to be a popular trend.
Blockchain technology is defined as, “blocks of information chained together in a public database.” This helps create an accessible, public system that can easily record all transactions, manage inventory, vendor and supplier data, track assets and organize important documents. With this system, a variety of warehousing partners (including manufacturers, shippers and warehouse managers) can access important warehouse data all in one place.
Using blockchain also helps warehouses keep their information much more secure. Although blockchain focuses on keeping information accessible, it does not allow for data to be tampered with, ensuring that all transactions, orders and other information will be accurate and accounted for.
Technology for Employee Experience
To help increase productivity and decrease levels of workplace fatigue, many warehouses are focusing on implementing technology that helps improve the experience of their employees on the floor.
By investing in technology to help make employees’ work simpler and more efficient, warehouses can help boost morale and engagement among team members.
Experience-improving technology includes:
- Mobile Technology: Warehouses can provide mobile technology to allow employees to quickly and efficiently scan shipping labels, manage inventory and update picklists from anywhere.
- Voice Technology: Voice technology can greatly improve communication among team members and warehouse managers. It allows team members on the floor to quickly get in touch with managers by using tools like microphones, headsets and wireless computers.
- Warehouse Management Systems: With the ever-increasing influx of packages, it can be more difficult to manage inventory and ensure that all products are being shipped on time. Warehouse management systems can provide easier access to warehouse information, can point out areas of inefficiency and help streamline operations.
Many warehouses have begun to automate their processes with machines like industrial manipulators, which can seamlessly improve your warehouse’s efficiency, safety and productivity.
An industrial manipulator is a machine with a rigid steel manipulator arm that allows for complex pneumatic tilts and rotations, and is often used when:
- A product is too heavy for a person to move manually
- A product must be moved to a location that is not easily or quickly accessible for a person to reach, like a very tall shelf
- A person will be put at risk for injury if they move a product manually
- A person will quickly fatigue from moving products manually
- A high volume of products must be moved in a timely fashion
If you’re looking for automated solutions that allow your team members to increase their productivity, keep up high standards of warehouse safety and hygiene and move your products according to the specifications of your space, an industrial manipulator could be right for your business.
Interested in buying a manipulator for the first time?
Improve Your Warehouse
These top trends are helping warehouses from all different industries by providing solutions to streamline their operations and improve the experience for both team members and customers.
At Dalmec, we’re passionate about creating lifting solutions that will positively impact your warehouse. If you’d like to discuss the opportunities that Dalmec’s industrial manipulators offer to create a more productive, safer workplace, contact us today!