As we’re moving forward in the age of evolving technology, it’s safe to say that all workplaces are going to change. As companies across industries face constant pressure to do more with less, efficiency plays an important role. This is extremely true in the warehousing industry, being a key component of the supply chain. Luckily, the technologies available to the modern distribution centers are getting more and more sophisticated all the time. Check out this list by national shipping company of Saudi Arabia to find out what will the distribution centers of the future look like.
Advanced distribution center automation
When it comes to improving the operations of distribution centers, lots of experts are saying that the best approach that a company can take is to make an investment in automation. Even though automation has been around for a long time in many forms, innovative businesses are focused on integrating autonomous elements into their already existing systems and infrastructure to transform the fulfillment process without total infrastructure disorganization.
Robots and augmented reality
Autonomous, customizable collaborative robots use the very same sensors that can be found in self-driving cars. They stand in as robotic workhorses. Also, they can never tire, even when running 24/7, and provide near-perfect success rates. This means they can cut out the human errors which rise in manual cart picking operations.
Another trend in distribution center automation is augmented reality. It can boost the efficiency of the picking process and reduce the need for training. Virtual reality is making waves in refining the efficiency and safety of the delivery process as well. Virtual reality can also strengthen secure delivery and identity verification through facial recognition technology and other advances.
Drones and advanced sortation systems
Drones are probably going to have a role in the distribution centers of the future, too. Some time ago, researchers at MIT announced that they had been making drones. These drones can relay RFID as a way to help with inventory control. This innovation that could make tagging old-fashioned in the future. This technology lets small drones fly above the distribution center floor to read RFID tags from meters away. The desire here is that the drones are going to be able to read existing RFID tags. Without the need for the distribution center to purchase new readers, reader software, or tags.
Some distribution centers already use these. Adoption of these technologies is going to continue growing for the highest volume largest retailers in the world. Advanced sortation systems have very high costs per user. This means it’s often only the biggest companies in the world who can afford such an investment. Shuttles and sorters provide fast unit or parcel sorting for applications such as direct-to-consumer order fulfillment, retail, and even returns processing, among others.
Big data and machine learning
Big data and machine learning aren’t anything new. Likewise, they’re going to transform distribution center operations in the next couple of years. Artificial intelligence can be applied to a lot of instances in distribution centers. One of the main challenges facing distribution center leaders when it comes to machine learning and big data is identifying key business drivers (or KPIs) and then determining how to apply AI in the best possible way to improve them.
AI can optimize KPIs such as inventory accuracy, fulfillment time, and order accuracy. While some might apply AI to more general drivers such as facility damage safety, productivity, or safety. Therefore, by analyzing aggregated data from a variety of information systems within the distribution center, AI can be used to automate tasks and decision-making.
Advanced analytics, such as predictive analytics, is aiming to improve forecasting and drive smarter decision-making throughout the distribution centers of the future. Furthermore, these can be applied to use in cases such as accurate demand forecasting, clarifying stock demand value, risk reduction, even with more complex supplier networks, etc.
Advanced analytics can also develop more user-friendly data — that is, data visualizations and other easily digestible formats, making it easier to derive actionable insights from data. Data visualization, along with advanced analytics, are going to play a key role in how logistics companies in Middle East operate.
Software and sensors
Distribution center automation was about “speeds and feeds,” or how fast a part of equipment did its job. Today, it’s about how smart the system can operate. Can the system put together activities in the distribution center so that items picked in a few different locations arrive at the packing station at the same time to close out an order? Can the system tell in advance when a bearing, a motor, or a conveyor is about to fail so you can handle the issue before it closes down your line? Solving problems like these are the outcome of sensors that monitor conditions and gather data and software that optimizes operations. Not mechanics. That’s why in today’s distribution centers, it’s all about the software.
Rethinking the distribution center
The size of a cargo transport company is around 500.000 square feet. It’s usually located in a distribution hub near a major parcel shipper. The expectation for the future is that smaller facilities are going to be located nearby major urban areas. Electronic retailers are gonna be trying to get closer to their customers for same-day delivery. Also, another expectation is that those facilities are going to be a couple of floors tall to get more storage space on an available footprint. Also, you can expect to see more order fulfillment technologies going into retail store empty stores and back rooms in downtowns. And strip plazas as retailers and the grocery industry utilize all the assets at their disposal to fill orders.
So we can finally conclude what will distribution centers of the future look like
We might even see these changes implemented in distribution centers of the future in a couple of years. However, let’s leave the future aside and how distribution centers of the future look like. If you need to transport sea cargo from Saudi Arabia to India in the present, Four Winds Saudi Arabia offers these services at a fair price.