IoT applications in logistics have enabled the supply chain industry to make their operations more seamless and efficient and significantly enhance revenues. Warehouses are an important component of the supply chain industry. Let’s take a look at how IoT is making warehouses smart:
In a warehouse that has IoT monitoring tools, all the devices communicate over a common platform, which stores all the information generated by the warehouse. This gives you a comprehensive view of the warehouse; you are not only able to collect data in real time, but also analyze it and make better decisions to improve the efficiency of your processes. By boosting the performance of the system you can achieve your business goals.
IoT enables you to achieve the most throughputs in spite of the warehouse constraints.
You first need to install a platform that has the capability to collect, clean and harmonize all the data generated in a connected warehouse.
Next, you need business applications and analytics tools specific to your industry, which will help you leverage the voluminous data generated. With the help of these analytics, you can identify areas that need improvement in various processes.
When devices and sensors are connected, you can manage the appropriate quantity of products, at the appropriate time, place and price. You can manage the journey of the goods from the time they are picked up to the end point – this includes, pickups, reception, quality control, reports, forecasts and so on. Every available space in the warehouse needs to be allocated effectively so that you can make sure that specific goods can be retrieved easily, processed, and delivered in a timely manner.
When IoT and warehouse management systems are integrated, you can effectively develop pull based supply chains.
By monitoring IoT devices fitted on forklifts, employees are able to find exactly where it is located when they need one. This saves them the time and effort of searching. The problem of forklift machines stocked with material sitting idle is also solved with this.
If we look at perishable food products, vast quantities of these products get wasted because of spoilage due to improper storage and/or delayed retrieval. By using IOT sensor devices to capture data emitted by pallets – like sizes, volumes, weights and measurements and sending it for processing, this kind of spoilage and waste can be minimized. Pallets can be moved to the correct location effectively; transit signals can be tagged, and real time visibility can be gained into inventory controls. Certain products need to be stored at specific temperature or level of humidity; sensors can be used to measure the thresholds, and an alert can be triggered if temperature or humidity levels move away from the optimum. You can then take steps to either change the location of the products or bring the temperature and humidity to the right level.
When making deliveries, you can use the outbound gateways for tracking the orders. With integrated WMS and IoT, you can also have automatic updating of stock levels to have precise inventory control. You can connect cameras to the gateways, and scan pallets to detect damage.
In a connected warehouse, you can also keep track of the health and performance of your staff, monitor their process paths, and pinpoint how things can be made easier for them; i.e. by changing certain processes or improving walkways and so on.