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digitalisation in UK manufacturing

Creating a smart warehouse with enhanced Internet connectivity

30 October, 2020

Nick Sacke explains how deploying high performance units to provide enhanced Internet connectivity from day one at existing and new warehouses can offer tangible benefits for logistics firms as they rebound post the current pandemic.

The European logistics industry is slowly returning to normal after months of supply chains being disrupted and overstretched with reduced workforces and higher demands, following the effects of the pandemic. With new hygiene and protocol measures in place within warehouses to increase employee safety; which in turn, might slow down procedures, now is the most critical time for companies to optimise their operations using data and technology.

To successfully manage this transition, the adoption of new technology and smarter processes must be underpinned by reliable, portable and high-speed Internet connectivity on site. With fewer staff members and a decreased inventory for the foreseeable future, a high-quality Internet connection is the foundation for warehouses to reduce any further impact of challenges the industry may face.

Satisfying business Internet needs

Internet connectivity is a necessity for businesses in every industry, and logistics is no exception. The latest technology, software and hosted applications, that are essential for the industry to innovate and keep up with demand, function better with high speed and reliable internet network connectivity. However, it remains a fundamental hurdle that the industry must overcome if it is to create a solid foundation for providing stable Internet performance on site and get warehouses ready to adopt and use digital innovation, as well as making better use of the resources already available. To overcome this challenge, particularly for warehouses where there is often no existing connection, portable wireless units can be installed. As internet connectivity is no longer restricted to fixed-line provision only, companies can invest in a communications resource that truly satisfies business Internet needs – irrespective of location. Additionally, with this solution, companies can rapidly open new warehouses, avoiding the delays associated with fixed line installations, enabling retailers and the like to capitalise on the flexibility this affords them.

Advanced bonded wireless Internet solutions enable organisations to add important resilience and back-up capability to their Internet connection and build in contingency by combining Internet connections from different carriers to create a single ‘virtual internet pipe’. Optimisation of the performance parameters of the virtual connection is included with management of data usage, to ensure there is control over costs and quality. With combined bandwidth and enhanced reliable internet performance integrated into a portable solution, it is highly suitable for immediate deployment situations; especially if Internet services are required urgently. In many cases, communications infrastructure is either missing, needs repairing or may take several weeks to secure an install date.

Advanced bonded Internet solutions can be applied to one warehouse, or multiple sites internationally, no matter the location, with visibility and management of the entire estate through a single portal. And with portability being a primary factor of these solutions, they can be rolled out on site rapidly, enabling instant internet connectivity – thereby reducing downtime and immediately improving productivity.

Using digital technology

With rapid advances in technology and the advent of cloud-based solutions, the way we work and interact has dramatically changed. Technology innovation has led industries to continually strive to be more efficient, productive and cost effective. Yet, when it comes to the world of logistics, investment in IT has been slow, which meant advancing at scale has been difficult, and subsequently led to the slow progress of the digitisation of warehouses.

Despite these challenges, the technology available to logistics firms has advanced rapidly and we are now starting to see examples of how advances in digital technology can deliver efficiency and productivity opportunities at the start of all projects, such as enhanced supply chain visibility – truly revolutionising warehouses of the past. AGVs, IoT, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are no longer works of fiction, but can be adopted by forward thinking firms looking to capitalise on the benefits that embracing innovation can bring to smart warehouses. All of these innovations require high quality, reliable internet network resources to function and deliver benefits in the field.

Conclusion

The logistics industry must embrace digital advances and adopt smarter processes and technology to stay competitive and meet both demand and expectations. It must set aside outdated processes and management methods to make this a reality. To enable this digital operation in the future, the basics of warehouse internet connectivity resources have to be in place.

So, how can logistic companies ensure that a high quality, reliable Internet network connection is established quickly in warehouses to make certain that a lack of connectivity does not negatively impact projects? By working with an ecosystem of experienced and trusted providers who can discuss options and supply the connectivity solution and services that warehouses require. The industry will then be able to continually benefit from the opportunities that the latest advances in technology innovation for business operations present. The potential rewards to firms that capitalise on digitisation will be transformative.

Nick Sacke is head of IoT and products at Comms365

https://twitter.com/Comms365

https://www.linkedin.com/company/comms365-limited

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