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Episode 1

The Future of Warehouse Management: AI and Automation

22/01/2024
Forfatter
Forfatter

Emma Østergaard, Content Marketing

In the coming years, warehouse management will undergo significant changes driven by advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. Actually, neither automation, artificial intelligence, nor the use of big data is something new in warehouse logistics. On the contrary, the industry is among the most digitized business areas.

However, we are currently experiencing a lot of talk about artificial intelligence, better known as AI, when it comes to future technology. The discussion about AI is clear, it is necessary, and it offers enormous development potential, sparking discussions both positive and negative.

So why is the conversation about AI so relevant for the logistics industry and warehouse management systems when automation and digitalization have already been fundamental in the industry? The reason is that these innovations not only offer improved efficiency and cost savings but also transform the way warehouse operations are conducted. So even though artificial intelligence has been known since the 1950s, and automation and AI do not necessarily go hand in hand, they can do so today.

The AI boom we are currently experiencing is a consequence of the efficient hardware that is now available at favorable prices. High-speed networks, processors, and large data storage options are now available, enabling the practical implementation of AI.

The blog post you are about to read attempts to pave the way for the future use of automation and artificial intelligence in warehouse logistics. It’s a big topic, and that’s why we invite discussion. You’ll find the discussion in episode 2 of the blog post. We find this development exciting and educational, and it raises many questions. We’ll attempt to address some of these questions in the following two episodes of “The Future of Warehousing: AI and Automation.”

AI Opportunities in Warehouse Logistics.

Let’s get the definitions straight before we mix things up.
Automation is essentially hardware controlled by coded software. A developer has sat down and built this software. And this software is not necessarily built on intelligent data, but it could be. We argue that automation in the warehouse today includes things like Autostore, Geek+ (known as floor robots), PLC (control and sorting), storage machines, robotic arms, and the list goes on. These automation solutions are all something we work with at Apport, but they are not driven by artificial intelligence.

AI, on the other hand, is what we’re talking about. Here, we’re dealing with a neural network that makes its own decisions. So, automated hardware needs to take it a step further and use data so that, for example, the robot can predict and make the best decision on how to carry out a logistics solution.

And now we’re mixing the goodies. Because it means that AI and automation can go hand in hand if data is used to make automation autonomous. And that’s exciting and opens up a discussion about the future of warehouse logistics, which you can read about in episode 2.

Introducing opportunities for precision, speed, and scalability.

At Apport, we specialize in warehouse management systems. We’re proud to call ourselves logistics enthusiasts, and we work with companies of all sizes because we believe that everyone deserves effective warehouse management, regardless of their size.

So, how can AI help a startup company? Even in this scenario, AI offers new opportunities.

Moving on to well-established companies and enterprises, you are probably already familiar with and using automation because there are many possibilities. For example, you may be using automated warehouse systems and tools, such as robots and autonomous vehicles, that enable you to handle repetitive and labor-intensive tasks, reducing human errors and improving workplace safety.

AI technology can indeed play a crucial role in optimizing picking processes and improving throughput times. But what if you made this automation technology AI-driven?

Who can use AI and automation?

We can probably agree that artificial intelligence is more prevalent in some industries than others. However, it would be unfortunate if the use of intelligence were based on the size of the company. The incredible thing about AI is that it doesn’t necessarily require significant financial or technical resources to use the solutions.

The argument for self-learning algorithms must precisely be that intelligence can be useful in many aspects of your business. Regardless of size, each company must become aware of how the use of AI can be beneficial. Here we are not just talking about warehouse management, but in all contexts: communication and marketing, administration, legal matters, optimal practices, and the list goes on. But remember to involve your valuable employees in the understanding and implementation of AI.

At Apport, AI also provides new opportunities. For example, if we use the vast amount of data accumulated through our 20+ years of experience and let the self-learning algorithm “think for itself,” we can extract new recognizable patterns in logistics, assist in decision-making, and more. Thus, we can bring even greater value to our customers in their logistics operations.

An AI optimization in technology can transform your company from precise forecasts of inventory needs to optimizing warehouse layouts, where AI-based systems continuously learn and adapt to changing conditions your warehouse may face. The more your artificial intelligence works, the more data the AI application collects, and with this data, the underlying algorithm can continuously optimize, adjust, and improve performance, whether it’s for robots, vehicles, or something entirely different.

We argue that AI possibilities can lead to less waste, increased productivity, and a more flexible adaptation to market demand. So, the future of warehouse management looks bright with broader utilization and implementation of AI and automation. And the best part is that we have probably just scratched the surface of the future, and the best is yet to come. What do you think?

We invite you to join the discussion and continue the conversation about the future of warehouse logistics with automation and artificial intelligence in episode 2 of “The Future of Warehousing: AI and Automation.” Read it here.

Literature
1 Opportunities for the use of artificial intelligence in logistics, BITO

2 AI is already revolutionizing production, SCM.dk 2023.

3 Amazon’s Alexa gets AI turbocharging: How the voice-controlled assistant will work, Computerworld 2023.

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Do you want to know more about automated warehouse management?

Do you need help assessing whether a warehouse management system, as well as which automation solutions, are right for your company? You are always welcome to contact me so that we can find the best solution for your company together.

Christian Mikkelsen
Christian Mikkelsen

CCO, Apport Systems

E: [email protected]
T: +45 4177 6304

Christian Mikkelsen
Christian Mikkelsen

CCO, Apport Systems

E: [email protected]
T: +45 4177 6304

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