How will AI transform the Smart Warehouse?

Have you seen HAL 9000 in the iconic film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, Sonny in Isaac Asimov’s ‘I Robot’, David in ‘Prometheus’, or ARTI (artificial intelligence system) in the recent film ‘2036 Origin Unknown’?

These films challenge credibility, are fabulous, thrilling and exciting. It is reassuring that these AI robots are works of fiction. Will they remain make-believe, or is this robotic artificial intelligence fantasy becoming a reality, now that we are in the 21st Century?

You will probably watch some of these films on your Smart TV, but will AI (Artificial Intelligence) facilitate Smart warehousing?

From the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, through to the digital revolution, humanity has been transformed through radical technological changes which have changed the way we live and work. Will the evolution of Artificial Intelligence, and all its many applications, be more transformational in all aspects of our lives?

Artificial intelligence will impact society just as much as the industrial revolution and the digital revolution. This could mean we will see an arms race over autonomous weapons just as we saw with nuclear weapons. It could also mean the cultural transformation of work and leisure.

The way that we perceive work today might not be the same tomorrow. It’s possible that human labour could simply become less important as robots can do most of the work. This is transforming for workers and employers alike.

Some multi-national companies like Amazon, are already embracing these new technologies. Before the end of this decade, AI could be completely transforming warehouse operations. These technologies are set to be a key component in the improvement of efficiency, profits and targets, and AI will transform everything that we know about the industries of today.

According to ‘Warehousing Logistics International’, the sectors most affected by these AI transformational changes in warehouse management and logistics are:

Robots

Can you imagine a warehouse where staff could operate on just five minutes of sleep an hour? No lunch breaks, and no shift patterns? With the use of AI in warehouses, this is exactly the case. Robots, such as Amazon’s Kiva robots, can pick up goods and distribute them to different stations within a warehouse in mere minutes, and only need five minutes to charge every hour.

Warehouse Operations

Multiple operations in the warehousing and logistics industry are expected to become fully automated by 2030. 30% of UK warehousing jobs will become automated as AI becomes more integral. The operations with the highest risk of automation are; predictable physical activities (81%), processing data (69%) and collecting data (64%).

Productivity

In order to perform above and beyond quotas, businesses need to ensure that the productivity of their workforce is a vital aspect of their business strategy. AI has the ability to improve productivity in pick and pack warehouses with proven results.

Communication

Communication between workers is vital to the smooth running of day-to-day tasks. In order to achieve targets and ensure tasks are fulfilled successfully, workers and line-managers need to have the ability to communicate with ease in a time efficient manner. With the use of AI, such as robots used by online supermarket Ocado that can converse back-and-forth at a mesmerising 10 times a second, human inaccuracies are eliminated and profits have the potential to grow.

Inventory

Smart warehouses that use AI to their advantage will be able to spend money – that was previously spent on inventory expenses – on more productive business growth opportunities.

Wages

It’s not just warehouse operations and running costs that could save money with the support of intelligent AI systems; money that would usually be spent on employee wages has the potential to be saved too.

Another advantage is that by investing in AI it is likely to reduce logistics insurance premiums over the next five years. As the cost of components such as AI sensors go down and as cloud computing brings data storage within reach of even the smallest of logistics companies, AI is likely to feature strongly in logistics in the next decade. Insurers are already offering lower premiums to organisations using AI in their supply chains to handle inventory and orders and this is likely to extend into reductions in cost where AI is used to predict demand, coordinate transportation choices and even to manage vehicle maintenance systems.

Although 30% of jobs have the potential to become automated, employees are not expected to be fully replaced by robots. Automation will be integrated into current operations to be used as an aid; something to work alongside workers and help with routine tasks.

It is crystal clear though, that in the short and post-Brexit long term and your businesses sustainability, we must all put the UK at the forefront of the artificial intelligence and data revolution.

Here at Whichwarehouse, we specialise in sourcing professional warehouse space and warehouse services across the UK. We work closely with reliable logistics companies, to improve ecommerce businesses efficiency.

If you require our assistance to plan and manoeuver your way through the complexities of Artificial intelligence applied to your warehouse needs, simply contact us today.


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