Advancements in technology have revolutionised many areas of manufacturing from production to warehousing. The use of machines and smart technology has improved the accessibility of data in distribution centres, which is changing how manufacturing companies operate. Big data may not have a prominent role in distribution centres as it does in other areas of the supply chain, but that is set to change. Not so long ago, warehouse managers relied on Engineered Labour Standards and Labour Measurement Systems to gather data. These systems did not offer enough information for managers to implement effective changes in warehousing processes. Computational capabilities have changed that.
DCs have two elements to them; the processes and the buildings. The data provided by IoT and other technologically advanced machines is making it possible to understand both aspects. Manufacturers have thermostats, cameras, monitors, alarms and other smart devices that mine copious amounts of data. By analysing this information, companies comprehend the operating conditions of DCs and use that to make adjustments where necessary. Warehouse managers get insights into inventory, labour and equipment productivity, among others. They can use big data to see which parts of a DC are failing. By understanding equipment and facilities better, managers are able to create safe work environments, improve the accuracy of inventory and boost production.
Data collection has evolved dramatically to provide distribution centres with actionable intelligence that has changed how warehouse managers make their decisions. Manufacturing companies are growing ambitious with the data they source. They are no longer satisfied with knowing the number of goods that a warehouse moves in a certain period. Information automation makes it possible to know what each DC in a network is up to.
As technology keeps offering new ways to operate distribution centres, big data will become more automated, allowing the distribution sector to improve how it handles operations.
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