Warehouse-based stockpiling of inventory has been transforming into high-velocity distribution centers, which are increasingly considered strategic to providing competitive advantage. Industry 4. Recent years have seen the rise of connected technologies throughout the manufacturing and distribution value chain. The last several years have seen the migration away from warehouse-based stockpiling of inventory to high-velocity operations, pushing more products through the same physical assets while bringing down overall costs. Known as distribution centers DCs rather than warehouses, they are an important component of the supply chain infrastructure and are increasingly treated no longer as cost centers, but rather as strategic facilities to provide competitive advantage. As the need for greater order customization, shorter lead times, better quality control, reduced labor costs, and higher production output is increasing, adaptable advanced technologies are emerging as a solution to achieve these goals.
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- Table 1. Core impacts of industry 4.0 on DCs
- Water & Process Treatment Technologies & Solutions
- Archived - Guide to Food Safety
- Warehouses of the future: what warehouses will look like in 10 years
- Panel Details
- How Smart, Connected Products Are Transforming Competition
- Instrumentation and control engineering
- IoT and the Smart Warehouse
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Warehouse-based stockpiling of inventory has been transforming into high-velocity distribution centers, which are increasingly considered strategic to providing competitive advantage. Industry 4. Recent years have seen the rise of connected technologies throughout the manufacturing and distribution value chain.
The last several years have seen the migration away from warehouse-based stockpiling of inventory to high-velocity operations, pushing more products through the same physical assets while bringing down overall costs.
Known as distribution centers DCs rather than warehouses, they are an important component of the supply chain infrastructure and are increasingly treated no longer as cost centers, but rather as strategic facilities to provide competitive advantage. As the need for greater order customization, shorter lead times, better quality control, reduced labor costs, and higher production output is increasing, adaptable advanced technologies are emerging as a solution to achieve these goals.
The use of advanced, connected technologies in DCs is not new. In the past, these technologies were mainly limited to automated systems used to increase material-handling productivity—systems that had to be kept separate from workers for safety, 3 and that required high standardization of processes and products due to their lack of adaptability. Technologies such as low-cost sensors, computer vision, augmented reality AR , wearables, Internet of Things IoT , 5 robotic prehensility, human-robot safety, analytics, and high-performance computing—all inherent in Industry 4.
At the same time, they are also enabling new types of smart automation that can help transform DC operations. In this paper, we examine the evolution in DC functionality and explore applications of emerging Industry 4. Finally, we consider the ways in which these new technologies will impact talent needs, business strategies, and data management for DCs.
The Industry 4. This integration of information technology IT and operations technology OT is marked by a shift toward a physical-to-digital-to-physical connection. The concept of Industry 4. It is the leap from digital back to physical—from connected, digital technologies to the creation of a physical object—that constitutes the essence of Industry 4.
Even as we explore the ways in which information creates value, however, it is important to understand value creation from the perspective of the manufacturing value chain. Throughout the manufacturing and distribution value network, business outcomes may emerge from the integration of IT and OT via Industry 4. For further information, visit Industry 4. Automation has long provided cost-effective solutions for meeting market needs, such as space savings and improved productivity.
For example, automated depalletization and palletization processes, as well as pallet or case storage, are increasingly being adopted by DCs because they offer very low costs for high volume and standardized products. Historically, however, automation in DCs has been limited, allowing only for similar product shape and type handling and requiring high levels of standardization, as in the examples described above.
Additionally, many robots and automated systems have been kept separate and cordoned off from human workers due to safety concerns, limiting the ways in which these tools could streamline and improve warehouse processes. At the same time, the ways in which DC facilities are being used are changing.
This evolution is, in turn, driving a growing need for smarter, more adaptable automation. In addition, DCs are also increasingly expected to store a broader range of products with specific requirements in terms of dimensions, temperature, fragility, and safety obligations.
E-commerce fulfillment centers perhaps best typify the above challenges: They experience fast-enough throughput to justify automation, but they also must house a wide variety of extremely diverse products and endure volatile seasonal demand.
Thus smart automation should be highly flexible in terms of product handling, as well as be able to adapt to variable demand and to interact with other systems and human employees during peak demand periods that may require additional resources to handle increased workloads. These pressures, in turn, make the facilities more complex and their actions more labor-intensive. As the evolving needs of DCs move beyond the capabilities of simple automation, the risks—of damaged, expired, or lost products, too-slow processing, and other inefficiencies—and productivity challenges grow.
Meeting the objectives and enabling the benefits described in table 1 necessitates the implementation of intelligent monitoring and control technologies capable of managing and optimizing supply chain networks and adapting to the new demands placed upon DCs. Advancements in Industry 4. Many new Industry 4.
Several other, more novel technologies are in the development phase and may be only a few years away from more widespread use. Each, however, harnesses smart Industry 4. Notable technologies include:.
Also known as voice-directed warehousing, voice picking uses speech recognition to direct warehouse workers where to go and how to find desired objects in a DC. Further productivity gains achieved from voice picking include improved accuracy in processes such as replenishment, processing, and loading.
Voice picking can also improve worker flexibility, enabling them to condense tasks and work across multiple warehouses to cope with seasonality.
Vision picking represents an evolution in the process toward less standardized activities. Although AR and vision picking are in relatively early stages of adoption in logistics, the technology could offer significant benefits.
It can enable users to find objects faster and more accurately, reducing costs and lowering inefficiencies. DHL and Ricoh, for example, tested the devices in a Netherlands warehouse and observed a 25 percent increase in picking efficiency during the testing period.
This can greatly impact warehouse layout, and receiving and putaway productivities. Several companies are in the late field-test phase of mobile AR tools, such as head-mounted display cameras.
The worker can then scan the item and register this process simultaneously in the WMS, enabling real-time stock updates. Although assembly lines and automation worked fine for repetitive tasks, changes in shopping behaviors, increasingly complex demands on DCs, and the wide variety of objects contained in a facility necessitate a smarter, more flexible solution. Typically, automated guided vehicles AGVs are used to transport goods throughout the warehouse by following markers or other navigation guides.
Amazon Robotics, formerly Kiva Systems, has designed robots to move racks irrespective of product size and shape of objects within the racks. The robots—or pods—are controlled by a centralized computer using a secured Wi-Fi network for communication.
They use infrared technology for obstacle detection and floor cameras to read QR codes on the ground to determine their location and direction. Their software guides them within a configurable and dense storage structure while maximizing the use of each bot. The bots are not only leveraged for tasks such as transportation of products to and from storage, but also for moving products between different processing areas, including to fully automated robotic depalletization and palletization areas.
Several companies are also working on automating outbound packaging bag or box , shipping, and gift wrapping for unit picking. One sensor manufacturer has designed universal final packaging machines using sensor detection technology with automatic format adjustment capabilities.
This smart, automated process reduces the time required to manually change configuration, adjust the machine, and put the machine back into operation. Additionally, in cases of incorrect classification, the product is automatically rejected without having to stop the system, reducing productivity slowdowns.
In these cases, sensors provide digital information about physical conditions; that digital information enables the machine to adjust its physical movement accordingly. The sensors also provide data to enable predictive maintenance. While many tasks, such as visual recognition, are still better done by humans, current developments in advanced, automated technologies may begin to tip the balance toward machines. The system is flexible and can adapt to almost any shape or size building, including existing buildings with lower ceilings.
The company is also working on developing receiving and order-picking validation technology, which can perform full checks of articles picked automatically, ensuring higher inbound processing accuracy.
The increasing focus on omnichannel capabilities places great pressure on DCs to keep up with a higher number of orders, including rapid processing, to improve economies of scale and ensure high throughput. These throughput pressures are paving the way for the emergence of new modular technologies that bridge real-time, automated materials handling systems on the floor including warehouse control software, programmable logical controllers, and electrical systems and complex transactional systems that manage orders, customers, and inventory including WMS and enterprise resource planning systems.
These technologies, known as warehouse execution systems WES , optimize warehouse performance by constantly monitoring automated assets and balancing them through changes in order fulfillment requirements and labor resources.
One critical function is called waveless pull-based processing, where WES constantly receives order requirements from host systems and releases the related work to the optimal machine and labor resources, rebalancing the workload if processing in one zone is moving faster than in other zones.
For example, complex and intelligent management systems can be remotely controlled to closely monitor environmental features such as humidity or HVAC, and to maximize energy efficiency. Sensors can be used by IoT applications to gather data about operating conditions. These data points are then analyzed to proactively manage buildings to better ensure efficiency. Those technologies also enable the identification of different layers of the building to analyze possible interdependence between systems, services, and operations.
IoT applications and cloud-based devices are expected to ease building management. Safety enhancement is a crucial feature of robot actuation and sensors, enabling highly automated technologies to operate in an environment in which human and robots can work together.
Humans and robots can then work in collaboration in DCs. Those technologies maximize machine efficiency while allowing for more flexible operations, and digitally analyze data to adjust physical movement and improve safety. Moreover, Industry 4. It also paves the way for modularity, allowing robots to self-reconfigure to perform different tasks and to adapt to new conditions.
They can also adapt to hazardous environments and handle items of various sizes and positions. Each technological advancement has the potential to transform the DC in meaningful ways: making it more flexible, efficient, competitive, and increasing the role it plays along the manufacturing and distribution value chain. Yet it is important to note that DC operators can leverage smart, automated technologies to realize additional benefits, using information from throughout the supply chain to inform DC operations, and vice versa.
Below, we discuss the impacts of Industry 4. Within the supply chain, Industry 4. This is due, in part, to the higher traceability of products enabled by connected technologies. In the case of unexpected differences, the entity in charge of compliance can be alerted, or revised characteristics can be automatically updated in inventory management systems to ensure accuracy.
Solutions such as automated depalletizing cells can manage receiving processes and automatically communicate accuracy-related issues regarding received quantities, dimension, UPC, weight, color, or condition of the product to suppliers, who can make adjustments as needed or confirm shipments.
Since Industry 4. As more smart devices exchange information, improved data flow and activity synchronization, such as order status updates to logistics providers and customers, can help supply chain stakeholders better allocate resources to critical tasks, maximizing the efficiency of supply chain. The move toward smarter, more flexible systems and advanced technologies inherent in Industry 4. Most specifically, the organization may experience changing talent needs due to the need for a different spectrum of qualifications and a growing need for more sophisticated data management capabilities.
Despite the developments in Industry 4. While it would be technically feasible to automate day-to-day operations in an ever-increasing number of situations, full automation is seldom the most cost-effective solution, especially when operations are not always the same day after day. Peak inventory or throughput periods, one-time value-added tasks, and product replacement periods are still more effectively addressed with human intervention. As the level of automation increases in distribution centers and overall labor is reduced, the need for highly trained professionals to manage these highly automated operations, such as IT engineers, maintenance employees, and operations analysts, may increase.
These roles have consistently been ranked as some of the most difficult to fill by employers globally in the past 10 years, with talent shortages mainly due to the lack of available applicants 35 percent , lack of technical competencies 34 percent , or lack of experience 22 percent. These talent shortages are particularly notable among DCs located in sparsely populated geographic areas, where there may be a smaller talent pool.
A continuous increase in the number and complexity of connected devices, and a corresponding growth in information generated, has created more data. This wealth of data does not come without its challenges, however; organizations must be able to aggregate it from numerous sources, store it, analyze it, secure it, as well as sort through it to determine what is useful.
Moreover, data must be shareable, understandable, and able to be processed and updated reliably, all while limiting security risks arising from increased integration and expanded access between systems.
While the troves of data generated through automated processes can improve DC management, managers need advanced tools to support data analysis. The tools provided with the applications are often limited in terms of variety and depth of analysis and can track only operational and system KPIs.
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Table 1. Core impacts of industry 4.0 on DCs
Predictions of dramatic job loss due to technology adoption and automation often highlight warehousing as an industry on the brink of transformation. The potential elimination of many blue-collar jobs is a pressing issue for policy makers and raises important questions about how workers will fare in the economy of the future. In contrast to reports focusing only on the number of jobs that could be lost, our research offers an in-depth, detailed look at the range of ways in which warehouse work and the industry as a whole might change with the adoption of new technology over the next five to 10 years. The findings in this report are based on in-depth industry research and extensive interviews with a broad set of stakeholders, including industry analysts and consultants, third-party logistics 3PL operators, retailers, brands, and technology providers. Specifically, we sought to find out:.
Water & Process Treatment Technologies & Solutions
Industrial robot Autonomous research robot Domestic robot. Home automation Banking automation Laboratory automation Integrated library system Broadcast automation Console automation Building automation. Automated attendant Automated guided vehicle Automated highway system Automated pool cleaner Automated reasoning Automated teller machine Automatic painting robotic Pop music automation Robotic lawn mower Telephone switchboard Vending machine. Automation is the technology by which a process or procedure is performed with minimal human assistance. Automation covers applications ranging from a household thermostat controlling a boiler, to a large industrial control system with tens of thousands of input measurements and output control signals. In control complexity, it can range from simple on-off control to multi-variable high-level algorithms. In the simplest type of an automatic control loop , a controller compares a measured value of a process with a desired set value, and processes the resulting error signal to change some input to the process, in such a way that the process stays at its set point despite disturbances.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Medical Devices: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
All major aspects of the theory and applications of control engineering and information systems are addressed, including:. Control Engineering and Information Systems provides a valuable source of information for scholars, researchers and academics in control engineering and information systems. Account Options Sign in. My library Help Advanced Book Search. View eBook. CRC Press , M01 19 - pages. All major aspects of the theory and applications of control engineering and information systems are addressed, including: — Intelligent systems — Teaching cases — Pattern recognition — Industry application — Machine learning — Systems science and systems engineering — Data mining — Optimization — Business process management — Evolution of public sector ICT — IS economics — IS security and privacy — Personal data markets — Wireless ad hoc and sensor networks — Database and system security — Application of spatial information system — Other related areas Control Engineering and Information Systems provides a valuable source of information for scholars, researchers and academics in control engineering and information systems.
Archived - Guide to Food Safety
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Warehouses of the future: what warehouses will look like in 10 years
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Today, as companies across every industry face constant pressure to do more with less, efficiency is the name of the game. This is especially true in the warehousing industry, being a critical component of the supply chain. Fortunately, the technologies available to the modern warehouse are growing more sophisticated all the time. Keep reading to find out how your company can shore up your warehouse operations using these up-and-coming technologies. Warehouses face a number of challenges. Retail footprints are shrinking as more consumers opt to purchase online. For warehouses, that means shouldering a larger storage burden to compensate for the shift from brick-and-mortar shopping to e-commerce. That translates to an increased staffing need, which is only further complicated by tight labor markets. During peak periods, warehouses can experience x volume spikes. Most warehouses are very manual as traditional hardware and software solutions are only accessible to the largest companies.
How Smart, Connected Products Are Transforming Competition
If you run a facility, you know the critical importance of energy efficiency and the ongoing need to reduce environmental impact. So do we: Efficiency and sustainability are key components of the Johnson Controls vision, and we deliver both with our distributed energy storage DES solutions. We offer two types of DES systems—in-building and containerized.
Instrumentation and control engineering
Facebook Twitter. Toggle navigation. The modeling of smart buildings and building equipment are highly important for optimization and control. Given different control objectives, the modeling requirement may be different and a trade-off between modeling effort and accuracy needs to be carefully considered.
IoT and the Smart Warehouse
You may have seen commercials and online advertising for everything from predictive maintenance to home automation using IoT. It is a simple, largely intuitive concept that is helping to digitally transform the supply chain and the way consumers live. You have probably heard of it, but do you know what IoT is? Cyberphysical systems incorporate Internet connectivity with the ability to sense and react to the world in innovative and highly useful ways.
Information technology is revolutionizing products. Once composed solely of mechanical and electrical parts, products have become complex systems that combine hardware, sensors, data storage, microprocessors, software, and connectivity in myriad ways. Information technology is revolutionizing products, from appliances to cars to mining equipment. Products once composed solely of mechanical and electrical parts have become complex systems combining hardware, sensors, electronics, and software that connect through the internet in myriad ways.