The Link Between Warehousing Trends and Morgan Freeman’s Voice

Imagine you had a warehouse employee who could run at a speed of 5 miles per hour and effortlessly lift up to 700 pounds at a time. How would that impact the efficiency and productivity of your warehouse? Now imagine that you had an entire group of warehouse workers with these capabilities….

That’s the case at Amazon. The online retailing giant acquired Kiva, makers of warehousing robots, in 2012. Two years later, Amazon started using the orange robots in its warehouses. And it became very clear just how efficient inventory management could be with these super-powered warehouse workhorses.Warehouse

This year, it was reported that Amazon now has 45,000 robots working across 20 fulfillment centers. That means that last year alone, they ‘hired’ 15,000 more robots to work alongside Amazon’s 230,000 human employees.
Amazon is leading a trend that will eventually filter through warehouse management for all companies – the use of robotics in supply chain management. Of course, that’s not the only technology that is revolutionizing the way warehouses work.

Nearly all of us are using smart phones, Fitbit activity trackers, or Apple Watches; these portable, wearable computers have revolutionized our daily experiences and they’re also revolutionizing the way warehouses operate. Building on technologies like EDI and cloud computing infrastructure, wearable technology now allows warehouse managers the ability to access and input data in real time. The benefits? Improved productivity and better metrics that allow for more informed decision-making around processes, inventory levels and scheduling.

Omni Channel fulfillment also continues to grow. You may not have heard of Omni Channel fulfillment, but I bet you’ve used it! Omni means universal and it refers to a mult-channel method that allows customers a seamless shopping experience irrespective of where the shopper is buying from.

For example: you order a pair of shoes online from a mega-retailer; the shoes arrive from a store 60 miles from your house; they don’t fit; you return them to the store 3 miles from your house. That’s Omni Channel fulfillment. It’s how retailers like Wal-Mart and Target are trying to compete with Amazon. Here’s a great article on the subject from Forbes contributor, Steve Banker.Warehouse

Although these trends may seem a long way off for warehouses still working with forklifts, drivers and mountains of paperwork, they’re coming faster than you might imagine. In 2016, thought-leader Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) made two astounding New Year’s resolutions – log 365 miles of running time and build his own personal assistant.

Yes, that’s right. He coded his own personal assistant that can control his appliances, play music based on his personal preferences, recognize the faces of family and friends, and let them in the front door. The assistant even talks to him and tell jokes.
When they heard about the project, several celebrities including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert Downey Jr. offered to be the voice of Zuckerberg’s robotic assistant. But in the end, Zuckerberg went with Morgan Freeman. (You can watch the video here.)

I think Zuckerberg’s on to something. Would it be great having Morgan Freeman schedule your next warehouse pick-up or drop-off? It could be the next trend in warehouse management….

Fuel for Thought,