What is intralogistics? And how can it help warehousing?
Intralogistics is a concept in the area of manufacturing and logistics. It is touted as offering opportunities to establish competitive advantage in a variety of ways. But what exactly is meant by the term? And what advantages can it offer warehouse operators?
Intralogistics concerns the optimisation of pathways throughout your operations – whether materials, goods, people, machinery and transport or information. The information aspect is possibly the most important, since this is what enables the optimisation of all other movement.
What business challenges can intralogistics help to solve?
Intralogistics deals with the part of the supply chain that encompasses all internal goods processes and movements.
For warehouse operators, this spans everything from goods delivery at your warehouse, through storage, picking, packing and loading and/or shipment to customers.
Given the scope of the intralogistics, the opportunities to impact business outcomes are numerous. Optimising internal supply chains can help to drive efficiency, facilitate resource optimisation, further sustainability initiatives and assist with improvement to the customer experience.
What technologies are used in intralogistics?
In order to better manage the flow of goods, people, machinery and information around your internal operations, effective intralogistics management might draw on a variety of different technologies.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Process automation solutions,
- Sensors and scanners to track items as they move around the warehouse,
- Handheld devices, so staff can record information and/or receive push alerts,
- Advanced warehousing and inventory management systems,
- Cobots and robots for automated picking and packing,
- Automated or robotic transport solutions for movement insight the warehouse,
- ERP systems and other high-level business systems,
- Energy management systems and utility automation solutions,
- Data warehousing and business intelligence solutions to record information from these systems for later analysis,
- Digital twins to model warehouse operations and the flow of goods and people in order to offer insights around process optimisation,
- Advanced software, incorporating artificial intelligence and/or machine learning technologies for advanced insights, automation or further optimisation.
How does intralogistics help in the warehouse?
In the warehouse, these new technologies can be deployed to deliver different business benefits. For example:
- By using digital twins to model process flows, warehouse operators can ensure that products flow around the warehouse as efficiently as possible.
- By combining sensors with robotic picking solutions, warehouse managers can address the pressures that online ordering and smaller batch order sizes would otherwise require much greater investment in manual picking – thereby driving cost efficiencies while meeting changing customer demand.
- By introducing automation and robotic solutions in areas of high risk, warehouse operators can safeguard the safety of their employees and divert their time to less dangerous tasks.
- By monitoring stock levels and patterns in customer demand and ordering, warehouse operators can optimise stock levels so less cash is tied up in inventory.
Whatever challenges you are addressing, working with a partner with a good understanding of intralogistics can help to drive efficiencies and improvements throughout your warehouse operations. Establishing a comprehensive base line of operational information management is the first step – then additional technologies can be overlaid on top to address particular business challenges and drive optimisation in different areas of the warehouse.