The warehouse is as old as human enterprise. As a technology, its basic function of storing and distributing objects and material has never changed.
Today, warehouses are also an important, technologically sophisticated component of a system of commerce that spans the globe. The supply chains that drive the world economy require the support of a logistics sector that is highly precise and effective. Without the effective integration of warehousing and logistics, e-commerce would fail.
Three dynamics are shaping the warehouse sector today:
- Digitalization: the widespread adoption of a number of overlapping cutting-edge technologies, including AI, robotics, data analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT)
- Employee safety and well-being: the need to reduce or eliminate accidents and injuries, and to provide a productive and healthy working environment
- Sustainability: the push to make operations “green,” with carbon neutrality as an important goal
The pandemic strengthened these dynamics rather than blunting them. The shift to online purchasing boosted e-commerce, putting stress on supply chains and making the need for resilience, agility and digital transformation more important then ever. Health concerns forced worker safety and comfort to the top of the agenda. And the need for change has extended to a much more aggressive aproach to sustainable building renovations, especially in the commercial sector.
Connected, scalable systems for lighting and other building resources offer the technology foundation that the warehouse sector needs to meet the challenges that these three major dynamics pose. In this series of three articles, we'll explore how they can do so, especially as businesses reopen and reimagine their operations in the wake of the pandemic.