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Unlocking analytics for the warehouse

06 September 2023

Robotics can go hand in hand with big data and analytical tools to unlock warehouse efficiency, says Andrei Danescu.

COMMUNICATION BETWEEN humans and machines has been evolving with research going back as early as the 1960s. The first attempts at creating machine-readable data involved cataloguing music and an eerie, AI-like recreation of a psychotherapist – ELIZA – which read user text input and replied with questions that reflected the user’s own words back at them.

In the decades since, after the advent of the internet, machine-readable data has found practical uses across every modern industry and revolutionised global logistics. Supply chains across the world are starting to become dependent on seamless data collection, storage and management to maximise profit and minimise waste. 

Efficient warehousing has never been more important in global supply chains. Over 80% of warehouses worldwide reportedly have no automation whatsoever and rely entirely on manual methods. The warehousing industry is predicted to grow over 50% by 2025, therefore streamlined functionality and processes that enable optimised operations is the need of the hour.

Also known as DaaS, Data as a Service allows for the offloading of all data storage, management and processing to a third-party, letting companies avoid significant up-front costs, devote resources elsewhere, and guarantee the availability of crucial data. With autonomous warehouse robots and bespoke data software, companies like Dexory are on the cusp of a new working model for the freight industry and a solution for data management.

Modern warehouses and logistics systems rely on data collection, and new tools enable businesses to produce a high-definition, 3D scan of warehouse space, and recreate this within software platforms as a digital twin using real-time data – unlocking a new level of data analysis for businesses. Having increased visibility and control, demand and warehouse capacity can be accurately forecasted, for better decision-making and pricing proposals.

In February this year, our client Menzies Aviation added real-time value to their operations with the help of our data gathering robots. They are now achieving high accuracy levels, on a daily basis, in a fraction of the time it has historically taken to do it manually. 90% of Menzies’ locations are automatically checked which saves around 18-20 hours per week. Scanning these locations takes an average of 16 minutes, running at 11 pm each day, with issues being identified immediately.

Benefits of Data as a Service are amplified when used with multiple warehouses, cutting out supply-chain operating silos and boosting integration across an entire logistics network. SMEs and startups can offset setup costs for single warehouses, and larger companies can quickly set up an inventory control network across their entire supply chain for significantly increased integration.

In the last decade, the logistics industry has discovered that wealth of business insight and information can be found within their own warehouse shelves. Over 5 billion pallets are in circulation across the world, and more goods are being transported than ever before – businesses can see thousands of products enter and leave their network every day. Hidden within this sprawling network are performance trends and business intelligence that can be as valuable as the products they represent. 

The ability to simulate the impact of outside factors or operational changes can unlock new efficiencies and allow businesses to pre-empt supply chain issues such as reduced capacity or delayed freight. While big data like this can be impenetrable, DaaS can provide the solution. Via cloud-hosting, businesses can fully delegate the collection, organisation and processing of warehouse data to a third-party. Using the data to represent back to businesses allows the highlighting of urgent issues and the suggestion of operational efficiency changes.

Nothing is more valuable to businesses in the supply chain than first-party data, with many logistics companies having to purchase trend data produced by competitors and being unable to access the insights their own supply chain network could provide. Using DaaS, the barriers to industry-leading efficiency are not only lowered for SMEs, but also for larger businesses with more complex data, allowing every logistics firm to access the vital business intelligence within every managed warehouse. This data will be the key to businesses of all sizes surviving and scaling as new and unprecedented climates create increasingly complex supply chains.

Andrei Danescu, CEO and co-founder, Dexory

For more information, visit www.dexory.com