In 2023, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies exploded out of nowhere, with notable AI tools like ChatGPT taking over news headlines in the tech sector and other industries. While it may look like AI systems materialized out of thin air, the truth is that AI-powered solutions using technologies like machine learning have been around for quite some time.
This is particularly true in the manufacturing industry, where AI technologies have been combined with autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to tackle tasks like real-time inventory management. Supply chain communications have also benefited from AI and autonomous technologies, allowing operations to reduce bottlenecks and improve routing in logistics.
Warehouse AI Systems Promote Efficiency and Productivity
For those in the warehousing industry, using AI to improve warehouse operations has proven to be a major benefit, promoting efficiency and increasing productivity. AI-based tools help to reduce problems commonly brought on by human error, and AI can sift through, organize, and process huge amounts of data in short order. With all of these benefits, it would seem like AI has become a must-have to help warehouses operate in the Information Age, but this may not necessarily be the case.
Does Your Warehouse Need AI?
Despite the hype around AI in warehouse management, it’s still worth asking: “Does my warehouse need AI?” This is a valid question, and it should be examined carefully. The truth is that there can be steep financial costs involved in upgrading equipment using an AI solution, and hidden costs like the time it takes to train AI and educate workers can factor into a cost-benefit analysis of transitioning to new tech.
Can AI Benefit Your Customers?
In considering the pros and cons of moving to AI-powered systems, customer satisfaction should be at the heart of the decision. AI is worth exploring if AI can enhance operations and lead to positive customer experiences. If you examine the data and find that the benefit to customers will be small, AI may not be the right move.
In other words, warehousing and logistics professionals shouldn’t buy into AI simply because it’s the newest hype in the industry. If something doesn’t add lasting value to your operations, quite frankly, you don’t need it.
This is true for any changes made to your operations, and it’s certainly true for technology innovations. There will always be some new technology that comes along and promises to be the next essential piece of the puzzle for business success, but you owe it to yourself to thoroughly investigate these claims before making an investment.
Can AI Benefit Your Processes?
If you’re considering AI for your warehouse, you should also take a long, hard look at your processes to see if these technologies can benefit them. For instance, perhaps your pallet manufacturing operation has a proven method for heat-treating wood, which already produces pallets at a rate that meets or exceeds production capabilities.
Adding AI for the sake of adding AI in this scenario may be wasteful, but beyond that, it could be detrimental. The old saying, “If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” rings true here. Taking additional steps to complicate something just so your operation can be a part of the latest trend may result in long-term negatives that can be costly.
The Other Side of the Issue
Of course, using AI to improve warehouse operations can be a huge benefit to your company’s bottom line. As long as it makes sense for your operation and your customers, there’s never been a better time to invest in automation and autonomous technologies powered by artificial intelligence.
The Benefits of AI-Powered Tech in Warehousing
AI-powered technology can expand productivity far beyond that which can be achieved using manual labor. Below are some benefits of using AI in warehousing, logistics, or related industries:
Aside from automating processes, AI can be used to predict behaviors and adjust accordingly. In a warehousing environment where parcels and pallets are constantly on the move, the ability to predict behaviors can greatly impact productivity and efficiency. Through machine learning, AI uses pattern recognition to make predictions, and in many cases, these predictions are incredibly accurate.
AI can also be used to make adjustments on the fly based on changing variables and predictive behavioral algorithms. As new orders come into your warehouse, the time it takes to manage existing orders can change. Trying to manage these changes manually can be a difficult balancing act, but AI can communicate with a variety of devices and systems to automatically adjust delivery times, available space in a warehouse and routing considerations for machines on a warehouse floor.
AI systems are also a benefit to workplace safety in a warehouse environment as they can be used to monitor the whereabouts of potentially hazardous materials and workers. If a worker nears a hazard, AI tools can send alerts to the appropriate people as an early warning. This can also be helpful in the event that a safety incident occurs.
AI can automatically send alerts for emergency response personnel if an accident or injury occurs, and sensors can log data about who was in what area when an incident took place. Any connected machinery will also have its data logged to show what actions took place leading up to a workplace accident. This can be beneficial for rectifying safety issues, but it may also be a benefit when dealing with insurance and worker’s compensation insurance claims.
Collision detection systems that use AI can also protect workers and parcels in a warehouse environment. Sensors can connect to smartphones and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices that can be used to send notifications in the event that a collision is possible. For example, smart lights can be connected to an AI safety system in your warehouse. When a worker or forklift gets too close to a connected sensor, lights in the area will automatically begin blinking or changing color based on the degree of danger.
Warehouse operations are almost exclusively concerned with inventory management. After all, your warehouse serves as a hub for inventory, and effectively managing inventory is essential for success in the warehousing industry. AI tools can monitor the locations and expected delivery and departure times of all items within your warehouse to track the progress of logistics operations.
If a delay occurs, AI systems can send this information along a supply chain or logistics network to adjust other automated processes automatically to account for the delay. This keeps everyone in an organization updated and can reduce the potential for bottlenecks. As mentioned previously, changes can then be made on the fly along a connected network of AI-powered devices to account for variables, delays, and early arrivals.
Contact Pallet Market Inc for Efficiency Solutions in Warehousing
If you’re interested in using AI to improve warehouse operations or seek ways to improve efficiency and expand productivity within your warehouse, Pallet Market Inc is here to help. Our pallet making company specializes in custom pallet design, pallet pickup, and more. Schedule a no-obligation consultation with our experts today by calling [PHONE] or use our convenient [CONTACT_FORM] to reach our team online.