Thursday, June 4, 2020

Warehousing Group Partners Up to Drive Efficiencies in Logistics and the Supply Chain

Internet of Things Harnessed to Improve Processes
Shipping News Feature

UK – The Internet of Things (IoT), along with emissions and viruses, seems to be one of the great watchwords for the logistics industry at the moment, and now the United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) has begun working with an elite group of partners to promote its integration into operational platforms aimed at capturing efficiencies and driving productivity in warehousing and the rest of the supply chain.

The project, ‘IoT Data Integration Platform for Supply Chain companies’ is part of the Research England funded Pitch-In project and is designed to demonstrate the efficiencies and savings logistics companies can make from integrating real-time IoT and static operational data.

With partners including such as the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing, the UKWA will support the development of individual case studies as a conduit to industry, to test and prove in a ‘real world’ environment the benefits of warehouse management systems (WMS) operational platforms being integrated with IoT.

In the first instance, UKWA will be nominating member businesses to take part in trials, involving sharing data and providing feedback. There will be no cost involved for participants, other than commitment of resources and time to engage with the project, but in the longer term UKWA CEO Peter Ward believes there will be significant potential benefits for businesses adopting this integrated technology across the UK.

It is envisaged that the integration of IoT with operational WMS platforms will substantially improve efficiency in the warehouse, facilitating better workplace and workforce planning, and deliver clear value impacts, from reduced picking process times to major cost-savings on required staff levels. Peter Ward sees it thus:

“Our message has been clear for some time that in order to keep up with the rapidly evolving logistics landscape, businesses must embrace new technology. This project will dovetail with our UKWA Technology Advisory Board, which provides a thought-leading forum to share latest technology developments with members, and reflects our themes over the last two years of National Conferences, where we have fielded technology leaders and focused debate on how to succeed in the digital world.

“This exciting Pitch-In project provides a unique opportunity to move forward. We’ve done all the talking, now is the time to take positive action; we will be testing some of the latest thinking from leading academic researchers with our members, with a view ultimately to rolling out real-world solutions able to make best use of technology such as IoT.

I’m delighted that working alongside academic thought leaders, UKWA will be playing its part once again at the forefront of our industry as a catalyst for positive change.”

The Pitch-In project, funded by Research England Connecting Capabilities, brings together Higher Education Institutions (Cambridge, Oxford, Sheffield, Newcastle) with representatives from industry to collaborate in breaking down perceived barriers to using IoT. The Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) is part of the Department of Engineering of the University of Cambridge. Leading innovation in manufacturing, the IfM integrates research and education with practical application in industry.

The IfM research covers a range of manufacturing-related topics including advanced production technologies, digital manufacturing technologies and data analytics whilst helping organisations achieve their strategic goals through recommended business tools and processes.