How many times have we thought about the future and the innovations that lie ahead?
Change is a natural process of technology that brings with it many variations designed to speed up and simplify the most cumbersome operations in the business environment.
This process of renewal has always affected some specific sectors, such as IT or telecommunications. It is in recent years, however, that this phenomenon is taking hold in increasingly diverse contexts, such as logistics management.
Logistics and, in particular, warehouse management, has had to adapt to customer and market demands to meet increasingly specific needs, such as decreasing delivery times, which have gone from a few days to even a few hours.
It is therefore in trying to meet customer expectations that the drive for innovation and change is found.
Innovations for the warehouse
The future of warehousing is not only through artificial intelligence and machine learning, but includes a number of changes aimed at improving internal organization and decision making.
Interest in automation is not new. Indeed, it has been since the early 2000s that solutions for storage, automated goods picking and other technologies have been deployed in distribution centers.
Highlighting this growing interest is the current focus on Industry 4.0.
Indeed, in the near future, a major trend will be to minimize human error by automating decision making through management software.
The implementation of these tools allows greater control over the movement of goods and better supervision over all stages of the production cycle, promoting a reduction in costs and time spent.
The increasing use of automation, is the result of a process that is already taking place, namely that of the decrease in skilled labor.
Indeed, a consequence of this process is the trend toward the massive use of robotic operators. An example of this increasingly realistic fear is the experiment held at Amazon’s robotics lab in Massachusetts, where all item shipping operations, were handled by “Sparrow.”
The small robot, does not represent the first attempt to introduce robotics into warehouses, but it is one of several trials aimed at the constant and tangible use of these machines.
Speaking of industrial future, one cannot avoid mentioning the topic of environmental sustainability.
In Italy, this specific topic is being addressed by the Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security.
It is precisely the Ministry, through an official publication, that refers to green warehouses, or industrial depots that plan to minimize the carbon footprint on the national territory within the next 5-10 years.
In addition, sustainable logistics aims to minimize environmental impact at all stages of production, from manufacturing to warehouse management, from order preparation to shipment to the end customer, with the goal of reducing pollution and promoting environmental protection.
Thus, automation, robotics, and sustainability will be major themes that will accompany us in the coming years. However, they should not be understood as radical and inevitable changes, but as the result of an already ongoing process that evolves and progresses through more or less obvious stages.
The introduction of increasingly advanced machinery in the logistics industry does not necessarily imply a complete replacement of human intervention but rather represents the evolution and progress of a path that aims at an increasingly realistic and concrete integration between man and machine.