IoT In Warehouse Management: Benefits & How Does It Work?

IoT In Warehouse Management: Powering Up Efficiency in Modern Commerce

using iot in warehouse management

Warehouses are emerging as the backbone of modern commerce, driven by an exponential growth of e-commerce and the increasing demand for efficient, smart storage solutions. Note that the Indian warehousing sector recorded a market cap of USD 340 million to date, with projections indicating a rise to USD 1.12 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 26.96%.

This growth is fueling the transformation of warehouses from mere storage hubs into “centres of innovation” that leverage the convergence of cutting-edge technologies to ensure smooth operations and thrive in this competitive landscape.

However, this rapid growth brings forth manya plethora of challenges for traditional warehouses that rely on manual processes and lack automation.

  1. Damage, Spoilage, and Quality Control: Ensuring proper handling and optimal storage conditions, such as maintaining the right temperature for a diverse range of products, is complex, especially with manual processes. Warehouses often struggle to prevent damage and spoilage.
  2. Inaccurate Demand Forecasting, Stockouts, and Overstock: Manual inventory management often leads to discrepancies like inaccurate demand forecasting. This results in situations of stock-out and overstock, lost sales, increased costs, wastage, reputational damage, and an inefficient supply chain, ultimately reducing customer trust.
  3. Labour Inefficiency: Effective labour management is essential for warehouse productivity. However, balancing workforce scheduling and task allocation to meet fluctuating demand levels and operational requirements is a constant challenge for warehouse managers.

However, the advent of IoT in warehouse management and the convergence of automation, robotics, data analytics, and other innovative technologies have offered a powerful toolkit to streamline processes, optimise resource allocation, and meet the ever-shifting demands of the modern supply chain.

A recent report on technology adoption in warehouses highlighted a rapid growth in automation solutions. The report noted that the number of respondents planning to implement IoT solutions for warehouse management will nearly double by 2030. This surge in interest begs the question: what makes IoT such a game-changer for warehouse management? To answer this, let’s understand how IoT works for warehouse management.

Leveraging IoT in Warehouse Management: How Does it Work?

While the advent of IoT in warehouse management, i.e., utilising intelligent, interconnected devices for increased automation, undeniably revamps warehouse operations, it aligns with and promotes the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Here’s how:

1. IoT Devices

Smart sensors and other IoT devices collect raw data and transmit it to centralised servers for processing. These devices accomplish many tasks, such as tracking asset placement, monitoring environmental conditions, and managing inventory levels, including stock counts and new arrivals.

2. Network Connectivity/Gateway

Wired or wireless networks link IoT devices into a cohesive system, enabling the transfer of all collected data to the centralised server. This connectivity ensures seamless communication between devices and the central system, facilitating real-time data analysis and response.

3. Centralised Server

A dedicated computer system receives raw data from IoT devices, processes it to generate valuable insights, and stores it for future use. It can also send commands to smart devices using advanced algorithms to automate warehouse management tasks.

Note: Given the contemporary landscape, the best choice is cloud servers, which offer scalable computing power that surpasses the limitations of traditional on-prem servers.

4. Application/User interface

An easy-to-use dashboard provides access to valuable insights and raw data in a clear and comprehensive format. This enables users to send commands to facilitate centralised IoT warehouse management.

warehouse management lifecycle

Using Edge computing for improving operational efficiency

Besides implementing IoT in warehouse management, large-scale warehouses can further enhance their operations by deploying an additional automation layer. This strategy involves positioning edge computing between the network gateway and the data storage layer.

Edge computing implies extra edge nodes that can analyse data locally, and issue commands directly to IoT devices without relaying information to a central server.

This approach minimises data transfer to servers, improves processing speed, optimises data management, enables real-time decision-making, and ensures efficient operations.

These innovations mark a significant evolution in warehouse management practices. Below, we examine the comprehensive benefits that IoT delivers in this sector.

8 Benefits of Using IoT in Warehouse Management

1. Real-Time Tracking

IoT sensors embedded in inventory articles give warehouse managers real-time updates on their status, movements, and location. Warehouse managers can also send commands to these smart devices, which can be accomplished simultaneously.

2. Data Collection and Analytics

IoT devices can process large volumes of raw data, including temperature, humidity, and other environmental conditions that impact inventory quality.

3. Automated Monitoring

IoT-enabled warehouse security cameras and sensors continuously oversee inventory shelves and storage areas, delivering instant alerts for discrepancies. This ensures timely intervention and reduces the risk of stockouts or overstock.

4. Smart Shelves/Enhanced Inventory Management

IoT-equipped shelves detect inventory levels and send immediate restocking alerts to warehouse staff. This streamlines inventory management and ensures that stock levels are maintained efficiently.

5. RFID Tags and Beacons

RFID tags and beacons monitor inventory movement, offering detailed visibility and minimising manual tracking efforts. This technology ensures more accurate inventory management and reduces the time spent locating items.

6. Predictive Maintenance

IoT sensors on equipment track health and performance, predicting maintenance needs and reducing downtime. This proactive approach extends the lifespan of equipment and reduces hefty investments in product repair.

7. Robotics Integration

IoT-powered robots work alongside human employees, boosting efficiency in tasks such as picking and sorting. This enhances productivity and reduces the physical strain on workers.

8. Reduced Risk of Human Error

Automated systems lower the chance of mistakes, enhancing overall accuracy and reliability. This ensures higher customer satisfaction and fewer returns due to errors.

The foremost benefit of integrating IoT in warehouse management is heightened operational efficiency. Seamless integration of smart devices and sensors streamlines workflows, enhancing productivity and reducing the need for manual labour.

These devices communicate in real-time, enabling the IoT solutions to optimise efficiency across the warehouse. As a result, tasks that require human effort and time are handled by IoT; this automation of warehouses tasks minimises errors and frees human workers to focus on more complex or strategic tasks, enhancing overall productivity.

Industry Leaders Pioneer the IoT Revolution in Warehouse Management: Next is your turn

Industry giants like Amazon and Walmart have embraced IoT to streamline warehouse operations, gaining substantial benefits. Amazon, for instance, employs a network of robots and interconnected devices to automate picking and packing processes, resulting in faster and more accurate order fulfilment.

Meanwhile, Walmart uses IoT sensors to monitor inventory and environmental conditions in real time, helping optimise stock levels and prevent spoilage of temperature-sensitive items.

Next is your turn. Embrace the future of warehouse management with IGZY’s cutting-edge IoT solutions.

IGZY offers a comprehensive suite of intelligent warehousing solutions to transform your operations, enhance efficiency, and reduce costs.

By integrating advanced sensors, real-time monitoring, and automated processes, IGZY enables you to optimise inventory management, streamline workflows, and elevate overall productivity. Join the IoT revolution in warehouse management and stay ahead of the competition with IGZY.