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Artificial intelligence in the warehouse

In the next five to ten years, artificial intelligence may fundamentally change logistics processes not only in warehouses, but throughout entire logistics chains. The greatest anticipated benefits of applying artificial intelligence in logistics include the automation of all logistics and warehouse processes, predictive (and learning) management of operations, and the general development of robotization. Robots will simplify or completely take over routine, repetitive or physically demanding activities such as warehouse operations or transportation.

 Automation is here right now

In recent years, warehouses have employed many technologies to take over an increasing share of warehouse operations, albeit these are often isolated systems. An example is the deployment of enclosed automated storage towers known as Kardex systems with vertical lifts to store and pick smaller parts. Another example is automated transport and sorting lines, semi- and fully automated pickers/stackers (unmanned carts) or entire transport (warehouse) trains that run through warehouses along magnetic strips in the floor or, more recently, using laser navigation.

The importance of localisation is growing

Thanks to a number of advanced technologies, it is now possible to follow general movement in a warehouse and digitalise the position of all elements (workers, handling equipment, packaging and goods/material) and display these online in a digital map of the warehouse. This provides a very valuable resource for making further system decisions – it is possible to immediately respond by changing the tasks of individual warehouse workers to prevent conflicts or delays while at the same time maximising the use of staff and equipment without needless (empty) trips. Based on this online data, it is also possible to optimise the placement of packaging and warehouse goods and dynamically change system parameters to optimise warehouse processes.

A combination of all elements has the greatest effect in WMS – intelligent mySTOCK

Customers not only want to connect classic warehouse management systems to their current ERP systems, but they also want to integrate them with various storage technologies (Kardex, conveyor and sorting lines, label applicators... ) or deploy EDI communication including communication with carriers. Regardless of warehouse technology, it makes the most sense to consider EDI communication. This is becoming essential in a number of industries and offers the advantages of immediate data transmission, process automation and minimisation of errors when overwriting data (data is guaranteed by the sender). The greatest practical benefits are achieved when receiving goods, where EDI helps eliminate identification errors and generally improves capacity planning.
 

At KVADOS, we believe an intelligent WMS should be able to dynamically respond to every situation and automatically adjust control parameters (or propose changes to be approved by an authorised employee), to set current system behaviour and individual strategies (for storage, picking, etc.) and ensure the behaviour of the entire system (warehouse) is optimal. And what is optimal behaviour? Partial goals may differ for individual customers, but in general they all want to minimise total costs while maintaining the desired service level.

 

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