Smart warehouses are, nowadays, the future. Beyond the conventional warehouses that we all know, companies have been able to adapt them to the new times to turn them into distribution points, without losing that storage system profile that characterizes them.
For many years, whenever we have heard of a warehouse, it came to mind a large infrastructure in which multiple products and items were stored, which were stored well in order to sell them in the future. It is true that the word warehouse, as such, practically refers to this concept, however, at present we have to make reference to a term: smart warehouses. Simply by taking a look at the intelligent word, we can already realize what all this will mean, since today there are multiple elements that have been endowed with “intelligence”, to work in a much more autonomous and thus making the production process profitable, in addition to streamlining our tasks.
In this sense, smart warehouses will behave as infrastructures that are equipped with new technologies that will help, at all times, that the processes that the company has to face are much faster, profitable and above all, productive . To endow a store with the intelligence we are referring to, we have to mention some basic aspects of the new era in which we live. Thus, cloud computing, electronic commerce or even the use of big data, take a special role. The truth is that this technological innovation is responsible for the current use of these smart warehouses and has become an essential element for traditional warehouses to evolve to this new concept
If we want to understand perfectly what exactly is an intelligent warehouse, we have to mention three key aspects:
Why are they so important in this sector? Although it may seem complicated at first, in reality all this is simpler than it seems. Regarding visibility, it must be said that it takes center stage because it allows users, in advance, to have access to the necessary information to be able to carry out their task. Also, always keeping in mind that all this can be done in real time. On the other hand, it is also important to emphasize this concept due to the technological means used now, such as tablets or smartphones.
In terms of mobility, it is also a very important concept, since it will allow stores to be optimized, making them a profitable place and beyond simple infrastructures to “store things”. For this reason, it is investing more and more in technology and not so much in the team that accompanies it. Finally, in terms of flexibility, we speak of a flexible architecture, which means that we can carry out multiple tasks in a fast, simple and efficient manner.
When companies decide to bet on smart stores is because they are clear that the objectives that are going to get with them are going to be very beneficial for the business. Without going any further, one of the main objectives to be achieved through intelligent warehouses is the increase in productivity, as well as, consequently, losses will be significantly reduced due to the process that takes place within these infrastructures. . In the same way, another prime objective is the improvement of distribution and that is why smart warehouses have become strategic points for current businesses.
The change is significant, warehouses are no longer large areas to store items, now they are much more, they are distribution points appropriate to the times, equipped with the best technologies of the moment to streamline processes and the business to prosper as it is due. They are infrastructures that have the necessary equipment to increase the profits of the companies and also to be able to satisfy the demand of the users in a much more agile way. Nowadays, to store, the technological processes with which these smart warehouses have been equipped are required, bearing in mind that this will always help the company to grow further. These are automated processes, faster, allowing, among other things, to better control the stocks.
As for the technologies that we can highlight in relation to smart warehouses, two are specifically used in particular:
- ERP applications
- Bin Picking
- Reading codes
ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning, which translates as Enterprise Resource Planning. It is an application that is integrated into the management systems and is used mainly to control the inventory inside the corresponding warehouse. Also, with this application you can also add other important tasks for the process, such as billing, orders or even logistics. Although ERP applications are highly recommended, they are normally used in retail and have a very well defined goal, which is none other than inventory rotation.
When we speak of Bin Picking we are referring to the Systems of Robotics guided by Vision (VGR). It is a new methodology that is able to select and extract a particular piece within a batch of articles. Using an intelligent clip, the piece in question is chosen among many others and subsequently, it is deposited in another bucket so that it can be used for other purposes. All this is possible, thanks to the 3D vision system that can detect the piece that interests us. The Bin Picking process is simple, a visual sweep is made between all the pieces, then the concrete object is identified, then the piece is extracted and finally, it is placed in another place.
Reading of Codes
When we talk about the type of reading OCR (Optical Character Recognition), we find that the Merlic 3 algorithm is able to read a letter, number or combination of both, whatever the source that has been used, including “dot-print” “, Making a reading with great precision and robustness. Something that conventional OCR reading systems are not able to carry out, since they have to be “trained” based on a real capture of the image that is going to be processed.
In terms of the benefits that smart warehouses provide, we can highlight the following:
- Reduce the times in which the processes are carried out.
- Helps improve the accuracy of results, both real and planned.
- Save the cost of labor.
- It favors to that there is a more exhaustive control in relation to the inbound/outbound processes.
Providing these benefits to any type of business is a very good way to increase your performance and productivity in a satisfactory way, which is why smart stores have been gaining increasing popularity in the market.
Find below a video about a smart warehouse from Alibaba, enjoy it!