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Cloud Technologies


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The final trend to highlight as we move towards the next decade of warehouse and supply chain management has to be cloud technology. With rising customer demands, it’s imperative for supply chain organisations to have robust information technology to support decision making and power everyday workflows. With cloud computing taking centre stage in every industry, it’s no surprise that this topic will be one to watch in the warehousing and supply chain space too.


The implications for this technology go way beyond cloud- based warehouse management systems, although this is one area where cloud computing offers significant advantages for the complex, real-time fulfilment demands of e-commerce.


Amazon and Google’s efforts to use unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver small packages may get all the press, but the stronger business case for drones may actually be further up the supply chain according to some experts.3


The advice to companies


is that while so many restrictions remain on how and where drones can be operated, companies that are considering them might be wise to trial applications within their own supply chains.


One example of their use within a manufacturing or warehouse facility could be for security or safety. For example, drones equipped with cameras can patrol the perimeter or perform inspections. The only likely regulation coming into effect here would be the height at which the drone could fly.


There are also potential applications within the four walls. One of the most promising areas for innovation is the movement of small items around the warehouse superseding the need for conveyor belts or folk lift trucks and providing a more flexible and faster solution for picking and put away. In addition, drones fitted with imaging technology or RFID antennas could even be used to take physical inventory.


With no height restrictions inside these applications could allow warehouse operators to take full advantage of all the vertical space available to them and go someway toward alleviating the pressure of limited warehouse space. The biggest drawback for drones of course is the weight they can carry. With the upper limit thought to be approximately 4.5 kgs, companies will need to look beyond drones to do the heavy lifting.


Robotics is also a fast-growing technology trend in the warehouse space. Frequently, when people hear the term robots or robotics, people conjure up images of high-tech, androids with human characteristics akin to C3PO or I, Robot. The truth is that robotics encompasses much more, and many different levels of robotics can be used to aid order fulfilment and other supply chain and logistics applications.


Some popular examples include automated storage and retrieval systems, automated guided vehicles and articulated robotic arms. The differences between each of these technologies is subtle but they share a common goal to aid with repetitive tasks and eliminate human error.


It is important to note that while both robot and drone technologies could perform human tasks, the objective is not to replace humans but to redeploy staff to other areas of the supply chain where human interaction is vital to success.


3. Supply Chain Quarterly - https://www.supplychainquarterly.com/news/20160912-drones-in-the-supply-chain-more-than-just-last-mile-delivery-/ Solutions in WAREHOUSE & LOGISTICS


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