First steam, then electricity and finally computers - the three great industrial revolutions are behind us. Are we still on the threshold of the fourth or have we already entered it? Opinions are divided, but one thing is certain - Industry 4.0 has already revolutionized production and logistics, and the biggest changes are yet to come. This revolution, however, is particularly well visible in the example of magazine 4.0 - how does it look in practice?
Industry 4.0. What is this concept?
At the end of the 18th century, the first industrial revolution took place - steam and pioneering successes in the field of mechanization made it possible to open the first large factories, although still unlike those we know today. Less than 100 years later, a production line was established, and electricity allowed for the implementation of mass production. Another century has passed, and computers have made their way into industry for good. Production began to be subject to systematic and more and more developed automation.
Today, with technologies such as the Internet (including IoT, Internet of Things), artificial intelligence , virtual and augmented reality (AR, VR), machine learning (ML) and already well-developed robotics at our disposal , we are entering the era of industry 4.0.
One of its concepts that is already widely used is the 4.0 magazine.
Warehouse 4.0, i.e. technological solutions in logistics!
At the general level, intelligent warehouse 4.0 does not function differently than a traditional warehouse - all processes and operations carried out pursue the same assumptions and goals. The main difference is the use of new technologies and the management of industrial automation systems.
A significant part of the processes takes place even without human intervention - it is fully automated. Others still need people - their minds and their hands - but they are supported by a host of new technological developments. Thanks to this , the 4.0 warehouse works faster and more efficiently, errors are eliminated, and the work itself is much safer and easier!
Warehouse 4.0 and automation, i.e. a warehouse unit management system
Automation is a capacious concept, and magazine 4.0 pierces you right through!
One of the best examples is the logistics label itself, which requires data collection and processing at every stage of the supply chain. But thanks to it, the identification of logistic units is fast and error-free. The GS1 labels and the Serial Logistics Unit Number (SSCC) allow you to identify and verify, accept and enter deliveries with a few clicks - without the need for tedious "manual" counting.
Thanks to such solutions, each unit of the chain, i.e. the producer, carrier, distributor and seller-retailer, can efficiently manage the goods, without the effort of dozens of people, immediately and without errors. This information is also used for shipping and inventory management, and can be turned into a useful report with one click.
Warehouse 4.0 and the automation of warehouse space
Automation is obviously labels, barcodes, software and tools that identify goods and support their management, but also intelligent automatic machines that take over the function of warehouses .
At ASD Systems, we are contributing to the construction of warehouse 4.0. We produce modern vending machines that issue various products - tools and equipment, workwear, consumables and auxiliary materials, personal protective equipment, etc.
The users of the vending machines are identified by the machine (e.g. with a proximity card) and collect the necessary products, indicating the place where the cost was incurred (e.g. department, project). The system records distribution, and data on products and their downloads are available in the application . The manager of this system can grant employees access to selected products and define the limit of their downloads, and has easier contact with other departments of the company (e.g. accounting or controlling department).
Thus, the traditional method of supply becomes a thing of the past. There is order with the vending machines and in the warehouse and in "papers", and the company saves up to 50% of resources for supplying its employees ! The machines help in managing the warehouse management and ensure optimal use of the space available in the warehouse. They can also be combined with other systems supporting warehouse management and the company's operation (eg ERP).
Magazine 4.0 and its new employees - robots
Robotization goes hand in hand with automation - purchasing platforms and online stores are already allocating cosmic sums for these two processes, but at the same time they are also cosmically reducing their fixed operating costs. Robots can unload and load deliveries, pack products, form and seal boxes, transport goods within the warehouse . At the same time, they do not have to have the same conditions as we do (e.g. good lighting), and they work at least several times faster and flawlessly !
Of course, robots also have their limitations, and their work must be programmed and controlled. That's what you need people - with the right qualifications. This is also one of the assumptions of the concept of industry 4.0 - people and robots must cooperate with each other , but robots are delegated to a "black" job, which for us is heavy, dangerous, burdening health or threatening life. Employees can acquire new competences and make their work, and therefore their life, easier!
4.0 warehouse and data processing
In turn, automation and robotization are supported by technologies such as big data and predictive analytics (PA). In addition to their use in operational solutions, i.e. working with codes, labels and dispensing machines , they play a huge role in planning deliveries and logistics tasks.
Based on data, special software analyzes purchasing patterns, predict the demand or estimate investment risk - all this speeds up and streamlines the work of the logistics department, reduces the risk of financial losses, and in general helps companies to achieve higher profits and develop!
Industry 4.0 and its huge, but at the same time small part, which is the 4.0 magazine, are solutions already introduced by companies from various industries - the leader in this matter is, for example, Amazon! These are solutions that will surprise you now, and will surprise you for many more decades to come, transforming the world economy on a level that until recently was reserved only for sci-fi authors!
What is 4.0 magazine?
Warehouse 4.0 is one of the integral parts of the concept of Industry 4.0. These are technological solutions implemented in logistics that improve operational processes, replace the use of conventional accounting processes and ensure efficient management of the supply chain. They are expressed in the progressive automation of warehouse processes with the use of advanced technological solutions (e.g. internet, big data, artificial intelligence).
How are the assumptions of industry 4.0 implemented in logistics?
Warehousing in line with the concept of industry 4.0 is automated. Thanks to technological solutions and data processing, identification, verification and introduction of deliveries takes only a few moments. Robots perform a significant part of the work - they find, transport, pack and pallet goods. The supplies are distributed by vending machines that identify the employees, so that the entire process can be managed from the application level. And that is only a fraction of the possibilities!
How does the 4.0 magazine support the company's work?
Warehouse 4.0 solutions accelerate and improve work. They eliminate errors, ensure an efficient supply chain and optimization of operations, thus contributing to the company's development and achieving higher profits. They also increase safety, e.g. by using robots for work that affects health or endangers human life (take, for example, the operation of a high-bay warehouse).