IoT is helping retailers to gain greater control and line of sight of their warehouses. From creating increased operational efficiencies to informing accurate inventory decisions, connected devices are arming the industry with the power to optimize and automate processes in ways not previously imagined. Some of the more impressive emerging IoT technologies in this space include:
- Smart shelves: Sensor-enabled shelves can more quickly and accurately communicate how much or how little inventory is on the floor and in the warehouse. This is especially important for businesses offering both online and brick-and-mortar product offerings. This informs re-ordering and re-stocking decisions that are more efficient and reflective of customer demand. When data is crunched over time, retailers can determine marketing, placement, and discontinuation decisions.
- Augmented reality: Using technology like visually-enabled smartphone apps or smartglasses, augmented reality is showing great promise in increasing the accuracy and efficiency in retail warehouses. Workers are able to see visual displays of details related to the product, such as where they are supposed to be stored, or other more specific packing instructions. The information is more accurate and cuts down on mistakes that may be made by manually searching through paperwork.
- Autonomous mobile robots: Robotic assistance is now a reality for some retailers. AMRs are often relied upon to move or handle products. Using sensors and cameras, these intelligent robots are able to move autonomously by identifying specifics of its environment and analyzing the best method for movement.
- Damage sensors: Using an RFID tag and a sensor that detects the integrity of a product, potential damage can be identified and communicated to warehouse managers in real-time. For grocers, this would allow immediate inspection and determination if any disruptions have impacted a product’s expiration date. For an electronics store, knowing if a shipment of TVs with limited availability have been damaged will allow the store to quickly order more and adjust marketing plans.
- Fraud detection technology: Tracking sensors on products prevent what can be a serious threat to inventory: employee theft. This technology can easily pinpoint when an item from the warehouse has gone missing and track its path, making theft detection easier. Knowing such tracking capabilities exist ahead of time may discourage a bad decision.
Optimizing warehouse operations and inventory is critical to lowering the bottom line and increasing profitability. With IoT, retailers can increase efficiency and make the decisions necessary to ensure what they offer is not only available, but available in the appropriate quantity.
KORE can help your retail organization make the most of its IoT implementations. Learn more.