How Industrial Wearables Shape the Warehouse of the Future
The warehousing and logistics industry is undergoing rapid change. Increasing demands for efficiency, productivity and customer satisfaction are driving this process. But technology can help address these concerns. Industrial wearables are a prime example.
Contrary to popular belief, the number of warehouse workers in the U.S. alone has tripled in the last decade. The need for innovative solutions to optimize operations and improve human-machine collaboration is more apparent than ever. One of the key technologies leading the way to the warehouse of the future is industrial wearables. These are devices that can be worn or attached to the body. Examples include smart gloves, glasses or watches. The best wearables can provide real-time feedback, guidance, and data to workers and managers.
Survey finds more than half of warehouses are utilizing industrial wearables
According to a recent survey by ProGlove, more than half (56%) of warehouse and logistics executives are currently using industrial wearables to improve warehouse efficiency. Additionally, 42% of respondents are certain they will invest in industrial wearables to improve warehouse operations in the next five years. It’s easy to see why wearables are gaining so much momentum. They offer a number of benefits that warehouse and logistics operations need, such as:
- Reducing errors and increasing accuracy by providing visual, auditory, or haptic feedback to the workers
- Improving safety and ergonomics by minimizing the need for handheld devices or paper-based processes
- Enhancing productivity and performance by enabling faster and easier scanning, picking, packing, and shipping
- Enabling data-driven decision making by collecting and analyzing valuable information about the warehouse processes and workflows
- Empowering the workers by giving them more autonomy, flexibility, and control over their tasks
However, industrial wearables are not the only technology transforming the warehouse and logistics sector. Automation is also a major trend reshaping the way warehouses operate. According to the aforementioned ProGlove survey, less than a quarter of respondents currently use full automation. However, 49.4% plan to invest in semi or partially automated systems over the next five years. AI technologies are also a high priority for investment, with 46.9% of respondents indicating their intention to implement them in the next five years.
CollaboMation: The Future of Human-Machine Collaboration in Warehouses
There is no doubt that both of these trends have great potential. However, this does not mean that organizations have to choose between one or the other. In fact, it makes sense to embrace both and strive for a state of collaborative automation. At ProGlove, we like to call this CollaboMation. It encapsulates the idea of achieving the optimal balance between automation and human work.
The goal is to harness the power of industrial wearables and enable human-machine collaboration. As Stefan Lampa, CEO of ProGlove, said, “Undoubtedly, the number of organizations relying on automation will increase in the coming years. It’s an enormous undertaking that will bring with it a significant change in people’s work. However, there are many different boxes to be ticked in a warehouse’s total operations. As a result, the mental acuity, agility and problem-solving skills human workers provide will have a significant part to play for years to come. Over the next decade, connecting those human qualities with the power of automation technologies will be a key part of success.”
Interested in learning more? Check out our latest Expert Series webinar “The Warehouse 5 Years from Today” at: https://proglove.com/expert-series-warehouse-in-5-years/