Technologies to Adopt Now to Enable the Smart Warehouse Concept

Bhagyashri Kambale | December 08, 2021
Why should warehouses be left behind as everything gets smarter in the manufacturing world? The future warehouse will be smarter and more innovative to speed up supply chain management procedures and assist businesses in intelligently segregating their raw materials and manufactured goods.

So, what does  it mean to have "a smart warehouse"?

A smart warehouse is a big infrastructure that stores raw materials and manufactured goods and employs machines and computers to handle routine warehouse tasks that humans previously performed. Smart warehouses are inspired by smart factories and operate in a data-driven environment. It is the ability of the system in the warehouse to make it more efficient and productive by utilizing networked, automated technology.

“I advocate business leaders get to know more about what AI can do and then leverage AI in proofs of concept.”

– Michael Walton, Director, Industry Executive (Manufacturing) at Microsoft

According to EASYECOM, nine out of ten businesses intend to include commercial service robots into their operations in some form. By 2025, it is projected that there will be roughly 23,000 robotic warehouses in the United States alone, up from only 2,500 in 2018.

Furthermore, the global smart warehousing market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.5 percent from USD 14.8 billion in 2021 to USD 25.4 billion in 2026, according to GlobeNewswire. As can be seen, the current warehouse automation trends are scaling up the worldwide market for smart warehouses, and the value of the smart warehouse business has a long way to go in the future.

So, what are the technologies that are changing traditional warehouses into intelligent warehouses? Continue reading this article to get a better understanding of this.

Top 5 Warehouse Technologies to Take On

Numerous manufacturing and non-manufacturing organizations, including IKEA, NIKE, and WALMART, utilize smart warehouses to streamline their overall operations. The technologies listed below assist many of them in implementing the modern warehousing idea.

A Warehouse Management System

Warehouse Management Systems, or WMSs, are comprehensive software systems that consolidate all of your critical data onto a single platform that can be easily accessed by team members and selected supply chain partners. This data compartmentalization allows for lightning-fast reporting, which allows for super-efficient planning, even for unexpected events. Overall, the use of warehouse management systems complements the use of other automated aspects perfectly.

Automated Picking Tools

The days of error-prone picking are long gone; now, when picking automation elements are integrated into the flow, warehouses can profit from near-perfect picking rates. In addition, picking procedures can be aided by various techniques, including voice-automated order picking, pick-to-light, and robotic order picking. These technologies also use cutting-edge barcoding choices that easily interface with your selected management software to provide the quickest and most accurate automated reporting experiences.

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)

AGVs, or automatic guided vehicles, are the best approach to speeding up storage and retrieval processes. AGVs are becoming more robust as technology advances, but older models have proven safer and more cost-effective than manual labor. Their functions include pallet, rack, and other container storage and controlling and automating the entire receiving process.

Platforms for Automated Inventory Control

Automated inventory control platforms, when combined with a few other technological cornerstones, such as asset and inventory tags, may eliminate labor, guesswork, and unnecessary time from traditional inventory control. In addition, there are several advantages to using these platforms, including their ability to automatically count inventories and synthesize data for real-time reporting that can be viewed remotely.

IoT Implementation

The Internet of Things (IoT) is used by some of the world's most efficient smart warehouses, such as Amazon, as an entire concept rather than a specific technology. All of your automated and manual operations may be optimized when IoT is used to control all of your moving parts, both automated and manual. This innovative technology helps optimize a warehouse's inventory control systems, workforce planning, and, of course, the overall customer experience.

While implementing technology improves the notion of a smart warehouse, it isn't always possible for every warehouse to do so instantly, especially since implementing technology takes significant financial and infrastructure changes. That's why warehouses are adopting the concept of collaborative robots (cobots). These are the autonomous elements that work with existing human workers. Cobots allow warehouses to preserve many of their existing procedures and infrastructure while gaining the benefits of fully autonomous elements.

Amazon's Smart Warehouses Integrates Humans and Robots

Amazon acquired Kiva Systems for $775 million in 2012, highlighting its interest in warehouse robotics. Kiva Systems was the sole known producer of warehouse robots, serving many different logistics organizations.

Amazon bought Kiva Systems' machines, constructed and used them all. Amazon Robotics is a new business unit that the company has developed.

Amazon recently established a semi-automated warehouse with human workers and robots. As a result, simple chores like moving parcels and scanning barcodes are automated. However, organizing goods and carrying complex objects (like bottles) is still part of human work.

Amazon's automated warehouse employs over 400 robots and hundreds of human employees.

Amazon's rise in two crucial areas – online shopping and logistics – has been accelerated by warehouse robots.

Final Words

Modern warehousing is a new trend in the manufacturing industry that automates numerous procedures required for keeping manufacturing materials and products organized. Technology trends in warehousing are making manufacturers' jobs easier and promoting the future warehouse model in 2022. Implement the cutting-edge technology outlined above to stay current with warehousing trends and boost productivity, efficiency, accuracy, and flexibility for your personnel and their operations.


What are the key benefits of a smart warehouse?

A smart warehouse improves the warehouse's productivity, efficiency, and accuracy. It also allows personnel and procedures to be flexible.

What exactly is WMS?

A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software solution that handles the supply chain from the distribution center to the retail shelf.

What is COBOT?

Cobots are designed to work with people rather than replace them. Cobots are also known as people-focused robots. They can help humans simplify and improve their work.


Defond Group Ltd

Founded in 1978, the Defond group has, developed into a leading supplier of electro-mechanical modules and switches. Defond possesses a unique combination of electronic, electrical, mechanical and software expertise.


Examples of Agile Manufacturing to See Why It Is Very Critical

Article | December 8, 2021

An agile manufacturing strategy is one that places a strong priority on responding quickly to the needs of the customer, resulting in a major competitive advantage. It is a captivating method to build a competitive work system in today's fast-moving marketplace. An agile organization must be able to adapt quickly to take advantage of limited opportunities and rapid shifts as per client demand. Agile manufacturing is gaining favor among manufacturers due to its several benefits, including increased work productivity and good control over the final deliverable. Furthermore, the shorter time to market is expanding the global market for enterprise agile transformation services. According to Market Watch, with a CAGR of 17.9% from 2019 to 2026, the US enterprise agile transformation services market is predicted to reach $18,189.32 million by 2026. So why is agile manufacturing gaining traction? What challenges do manufacturers encounter when implementing agile manufacturing, and how have industry leaders like GE, Adobe, and Accenture effectively implemented agile methodology in their organizations and become the best examples of agile manufacturing? In this article, we'll take a closer look at each point. What Is the Importance of Agile Manufacturing? The term "agile manufacturing" refers to the use of a variety of different technologies and methodologies in the production process. In order to meet market standards and criteria, organizations must be able to adapt quickly and effectively to their customers' needs by bringing agility to manufacturing. To ensure the quality of products and the cost of production are kept to a minimum, agile manufacturing helps firms to regulate their end product. Because it immediately addresses the needs and worries of the clients, it is an effective strategy as well. By using this method, firms may better understand the market and use it to their advantage by creating products that meet the needs of their customers. Challenges While Adopting Agile Methodologies on a Project When we talk about agile challenges when implementing it on any project, some will be routine and some will be unique. So, let's get a quick grasp on the agile challenges. Communication about the project: Clear communication between the development team and the product owner is critical throughout the project development life cycle. Any miscommunication can have an impact on the product's quality and the end result of the entire process. Managing the day-to-day operational challenges: Throughout the project, daily minor or large operations play a significant impact on the overall project output. Any obstacles encountered when working on everyday chores should be resolved immediately to avoid any delays or halts in the process. To make it function, you'll need experience: Any inexperienced product owners, scrum masters, or individuals new to the agile approach may have a negative impact on the project's expected output. Various project contributors' buy-in: Inadequate training, a lack of motivation to show up from project participants, keeping customers in the loop, and a lack of departmental management are some of the problems that may hinder the accurate implementation of the agile methodology. The presence of one or more of these obstacles in any business or project may jeopardize the agile methodology and its total output. Though there are many online training courses and books available on how to integrate agile practices into your project, each organization's scenario is unique, as are the challenges they encounter. As a result, handling the situation with experienced personnel that have a can-do attitude is what is required to make it work. Following that, we'll look at some manufacturing business agile examples and how they've successfully implemented agile methodology in their organizations. Agile Manufacturing Examples We'll look at one of the most well-known industrial examples of agile manufacturing that has successfully implemented the methodology and achieved great outcomes. Take a peek at it. Adobe One of the most popular agile manufacturing examples in performance management revamps is Adobe. When Donna Morris was Senior Vice President of People Resources in 2012, she thought the annual performance evaluation and the stack-ranking process were bureaucratic, paperwork-heavy overly complicated, taking up too many management hours for the company. Aside from this, she discovered that it set barriers to joint efforts, creativity, and development. The Adobe team ditched annual performance reviews and encouraged managers and employees to regularly discuss performance via a system called “Check-in.” Adobe has reduced voluntary turnover by 30% and increased voluntary departures by 50% since making the transition. Moreover, the company saved 80,000 management hours annually. General Electric General Electric famously overhauled its performance management system in 2015, paving the path for other global firms to follow in the electronics industry. Annual performance evaluations and the infamous rank-and-yank performance rating system (ranking employees and regularly eliminating the bottom 10%) had GE decide they needed to update their performance management system. The annual appraisals lasted a decade longer than the ranking system. They are now a more agile organization. Instead of directing employees to attain goals, managers now guide and coach them. GE also decided to deploy an app they designed called PD@GE to facilitate regular employee feedback and productive performance discussions. Using the app, each employee establishes priorities and solicits feedback. They can also give real-time feedback. Employees can request a face-to-face meeting at any time to discuss transparency, honesty, and continuous improvement. These traits will not arise quickly and will require motivation and commitment for self-growth. Accenture According to Accenture's previous system, employees who perform well tend to be the most narcissists and self-promoters. Accenture wanted to revamp their system and reward genuine employees. So they started using on-going performance conversations while focusing on performance development. Because it required employees to compete with coworkers who may have had a different position, Accenture decided that forced ranking was illogical. The new system is more centered on the employee and aims to assist them in becoming the best version of themselves. Final Words Agile manufacturing is a way to get the finest results and exceed client expectations on every project. Businesses are benefiting from agile manufacturing because it improves the end product and helps them better utilize their resources. The necessity of agile manufacturing in business is vital, and organizations must overcome the challenges they encounter while applying the agile approach to any of their projects in order to reap the benefits of agile production. FAQ How does agile manufacturing help businesses? An agile manufacturing process enables organizations to respond to client requests with flexibility when market conditions change, as well as regulate their intended production while preserving product quality and minimizing costs. What is an agile organization? Unified alignment, accountability, specialization, transparency, and cooperation are key elements in an agile organization. To guarantee these teams can work efficiently, the organization must maintain a solid environment. What are the core elements of agility? Individuals and interactions over processes and tools are the four values of the Agile Methodology. A working program is preferable to in-depth documentation. 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AGV ROI Starts with a Delivery Commitment

Article | January 4, 2022

So much emphasis has been placed on features, advantages, and benefits; too little attention has been paid to delivery dates. The best automation solution on paper means nothing if it cannot be delivered in 2022. Selling the sexy sizzle of new, clever, even remarkable AGVs means nothing if manufacturers and distribution centers cannot take delivery of the product until 2023. Throughout industrial manufacturing and distribution the lead time from many AGV manufacturers is more than a year. That means product ordered in Q1 2022 will not be delivered until the following year. That is an absurd lead time and reflects poor planning and unnecessary supply chain constraints.

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Manufacturing in 2022 - Five Emerging Trends in the Industry

Article | October 8, 2021

The trends in the manufacturing industry for 2022 are expanding and altering the industry's conventional face. The future of manufacturing is going to merge with digitalization and technological applications. As a result, all operation methods, products, and manufacturing outcomes will be modernized with new technology applications. To brighten the future of manufacturing, manufacturing companies must examine new trends in the industry before developing their manufacturing plans for 2022. Technological advancements are the next game-changer in the manufacturing business. Adeaca's Vice President of Market Innovation and Project Business Evangelist had recently quoted in an interview with Media7 as, “As technology takes over and enhances many of the processes we used to handle with manual labor, we are freed up to use our minds creatively, which leads to bigger and better leaps in innovation and productivity.” – Matt Mong, VP Market Innovation and Project Business Evangelist at Adeaca The new trends in manufacturing are leveling up every part and element of the industry. In this article, we'll look at a new trend for each industry aspect that's assisting manufacturers in speeding up the production process, increasing ROI, and propelling their manufacturing business to new heights. Additionally, it will assist you in addressing current industry challenges such as forecasting product demand, addressing skilled manpower shortages, and increasing manufacturing plant efficiency. Five Manufacturing Industry Trends to Watch in 2022 Emerging trends in manufacturing provide a chance to review your production strategy for products and processes. Check out below the upcoming trends in manufacturing that are getting attention in the industry. Customer Engagement and Purchase Experience Creating an exceptional digital customer experience is a new trend in manufacturing. According to industry experts, mapping the customer journey and their interactions with your products is the first step towards establishing a positive connection with your potential consumers. A few of the most popular strategies to improve the consumer purchasing experience and engagement are as follows: Build a knowledge base for your products on your business website Create a comprehensive FAQs page that addresses all of the buyer's possible queries Create a chatbot to provide immediate help to the buyer with further inquiries Create a brand story and a comprehensive description of your manufacturing business If possible, provide product statistics and success stories, and content about consumer satisfaction with your product Create a product functionality video or explanatory picture material to familiarize the potential customer with your product These are some of the trends that engage your prospective buyers and increase their purchasing experience through a range of product-related information and educate them about you and your products. Smart Technology-enabled Products Smart is the new norm in every industry. The old operations and goods that were once a part of everyone's life have now been replaced by technology. Manufacturing is no exception to this alteration. Due to the increasing demand for smart products among customers, every company is now looking forward to inventing and manufacturing smart products. Explore and understand how you may incorporate cutting-edge technology (Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Edge Computing, and Digital Twins, and more) into your products to help them stay updated with manufacturing trends. Virtual and Augmented Reality in Manufacturing (Industry 4.0) Transforming traditional manufacturing systems and processes into smart, tech-savvy ones is a new trend in manufacturing. The future of manufacturing is expected to witness this digitization in 2022 and beyond. Therefore, you must convert your conventional manufacturing plants into smart ones, i.e., as per the concept of Industry 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution. Discover how prominent companies are implementing Industry 4.0 The following are some popular transformations that many popular manufacturing factories are adopting to become part of the industry revolution. To achieve a zero-carbon footprint, manufacturers may use analytics systems to determine the amount of trash they create and develop ways to eliminate it. (Implemented by Whirlpool) Utilize an analytics platform to decipher usage data for energy, water, and other utilities. (Implemented by Whirlpool) Utilize technology such as Siemens' Mindsphere, which enables online analysis of several aspects of a production plant and helps manufacturers create digital models using real-time data. (Implemented by Siemens) Utilize a combination of IoT and cloud-based technologies to avoid downtime and gather analytics data. (Implemented by Hirotec – a Japan based manufacturing company) Machine learning technology can be used to foretell and avoid system failures in your manufacturing plant. (Implemented by Hirotec – a Japan based manufacturing company) Utilize robotics and to accelerate manufacturing across many verticals. (Implemented by Ford) Utilize 3D printing to improve the precision of product design and to avert product defects during the early production stage. (Implemented by Aerospace: Airbus) These are some examples that other well-known manufacturing companies in the market, such as Hewlett-Packard, Ford, Whirlpool, and Siemens are currently using. So, consult an expert and determine how to leverage emerging technology to turn your production plant into a smart manufacturing unit. Internet of Things (IoT) to Boost Revenue Manufacturing companies have begun to leverage the Internet of Things to establish connectivity between machines and operational procedures throughout manufacturing. This linkage between machine and operation significantly decreases the human supervision required for each step and completely automates them. Manufacturers intend to incorporate these IoT trends in manufacturing into both their products and operational processes. IoT further enables manufacturers to operate and monitor their work remotely. As a result, they can concentrate on developing new strategies and preparing for future ventures. Shifting Focus from B2B to B2C Model Several manufacturers skip intermediaries and connect directly with their consumers to sell efficiently to their target consumer group. This purposeful approach has multiple benefits, which are outlined below. Manufacturers may skip the lengthy retail sales cycle and achieve a shorter time to market The absence of a third party between the manufacturer and the customer reduces the risk of brand misinterpretation or dilution Direct interaction with customers enables manufacturers to obtain more accurate consumer data, product feedback, and requirements for new product development Manufacturers can control the price of their products due to the absence of a third party between them and the target consumer group These benefits of the B2C model attract manufacturers and encourage them to develop added production techniques with these benefits in mind. Final Words Technology, innovation, and digitization are the future of manufacturing. The IoT trends in manufacturing are essential for industrial production and will allow the manufacturing industry to obtain a new competitive edge. Hence, manufacturers must keep in mind this industry revolution (industry 4.0 and 5.0) while developing strategies for their manufacturing operations in 2022. FAQs What are the benefits of adopting the Internet of Things in manufacturing? IoT devices can monitor industrial operations, manufacturing cycles, and other warehouse data management processes automatically. This benefit decreases the amount of time spent monitoring individual operations and increases production speed. What role will smart manufacturing play in the future? According to a grand view research analysis, the smart manufacturing market was worth USD 236.12 billion in 2020 and is expected to extend at a 12.4 percent compound annual growth rate to reach USD 589.98 billion by 2028. What are the critical components of the smart factory of the future? Robotics, the Internet of Things, big data, and cloud-based administration will be critical components of the future smart factory.

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Scaling, Optimizing & Pivoting with Smart Manufacturing Industry 4.0

Article | January 20, 2022

A smart factory that leverages Industry 4.0 concepts to elevate its operations has long been a model for other industries that are still figuring out how to travel the digital manufacturing route. Smart manufacturing technology is all you need to know if you're looking to cash in on this trend. “Industry 4.0 is not really a revolution. It’s more of an evolution.” – Christian Kubis In this article, we'll look at the advantages that many smart factory pioneers are getting from their smart factories. In addition, we will look at the top smart factory examples and understand how they applied the Industry 4.0 idea and excelled in their smart manufacturing adoption. Industry 4.0 Technology Benefits Manufacturing Industry 4.0 has several benefits that can alter the operations of manufacturers. Beyond optimization and automation, smart manufacturing Industry 4.0 aims to uncover new business prospects and models by increasing the efficiency, speed, and customer focus of manufacturing and associated industries. Key benefits of Manufacturing Industry 4.0 in production include: Improved productivity and efficiency Increased collaboration and knowledge sharing Better agility and adaptability Facilitates compliance Improved customer experience Reduced costs and increased profitability Creates opportunities for innovation Increased revenues World Smart Factory Case Studies and Lessons to Be Learned Schneider Electric, France SAS Schneider Electric's le Vaudreuil plant is a prime example of a smart factory Industry 4.0, having been regarded as one of the most modern manufacturing facilities in the world, utilizing Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies on a large scale. The factory has included cutting-edge digital technology, such as the EcoStruxureTM Augmented Operator Advisor, which enables operators to use augmented reality to accelerate operation and maintenance, resulting in a 2–7% increase in productivity. EcoStruxureTM Resource Advisor's initial deployment saves up to 30% on energy and contributes to long-term improvement. Johnson & Johnson DePuy Synthes, Ireland DePuy Synthes' medical device manufacturing plant, which started in 1997, just underwent a multimillion-dollar makeover to better integrate digitalization and Industry 4.0 smart manufacturing. Johnson & Johnson made a big investment in the Internet of Things. By linking equipment, the factory used IoT technology to create digital representations of physical assets (referred to as “digital twins”). These digital twins resulted in sophisticated machine insights. As a result of these insights, the company was able to reduce operating expenditures while simultaneously reducing machine downtime. Bosch, China Bosch's Wuxi factory's digital transformation uses IIoT and big data. The company integrates its systems to keep track of the whole production process at its facilities. Embedding sensors in production machinery collects data on machine status and cycle time. When data is collected, complicated data analytics tools analyze it in real-time and alert workers to production bottlenecks. This strategy helps forecast equipment failures and allows the organization to arrange maintenance ahead of time. As a consequence, the manufacturer's equipment may run for longer. The Tesla Gigafactory, Germany According to Tesla, the Berlin Gigafactory is the world's most advanced high-volume electric vehicle production plant. On a 300-hectare facility in Grünheide, it produces batteries, powertrains, and cars, starting with the Model Y and Model 3. For Tesla, the goal is not merely to make a smart car, but also to construct a smart factory. The plant's photographs reveal an Industry 4.0 smart factory with solar panels on the roof, resulting in a more sustainable production method. On its official website, Tesla claimed to use cutting-edge casting methods and a highly efficient body shop to improve car safety. Tesla's relentless pursuit of manufacturing efficiency has allowed them to revolutionize the car industry. Haier, China The SmartFactoryKL was established to pave the way for the future's "intelligent factory." It is the world's first manufacturer-independent Industry 4.0 production facility, demonstrating the value of high-quality, flexible manufacturing and the effectiveness with which it can be deployed. The last four years, SmartFactoryKL has been guided by particular strategic objectives that drive innovation; the aim is to see artificial intelligence integrated into production. Two instances of AI-driven transformations include an "order-to-make' mass customization platform and a remote AI-enabled, intelligent service cloud platform that anticipates maintenance needs before they occur. Final Words Enabling smart manufacturing means using the latest technology to improve processes and products. The aforementioned smart factory examples are industry leaders and are thriving by implementing Industry 4.0 technology. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may use these smart factory examples to learn about the adoption process, challenges, and solutions. Industry 4.0 is aimed at improving enterprises and minimizing human effort in general. So adopt the smart factory concept and be productive. FAQ What is the difference between a smart factory and a digital factory? The digital factory enables the planning of factories using virtual reality and models, whereas the smart factory enables the operation and optimization of factories in real time. Where does Industry 4.0 come from? The term "Industry 4.0" was coined in Germany to represent data-driven, AI-powered, networked "smart factories" as the fourth industrial revolution's forerunner.

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Defond Group Ltd

Founded in 1978, the Defond group has, developed into a leading supplier of electro-mechanical modules and switches. Defond possesses a unique combination of electronic, electrical, mechanical and software expertise.