Warehouse 4.0

ntegrating industry 4.0 technologies and lean methods make warehousing more powerful, more automated, faster, more reliable and smarter. This development offers enormous optimisation potential with regard to process quality, flexibility and logistics costs. Of particular relevance to the realisation of Warehouse 4.0 are dynamic localisation, the use of wearables, the use of robotics and the replacement of goods by information logistics.

Dynamic localisation: Thanks to developments in localisation technologies such as beacons, DGPS or UWB, methods such as geo-fencing can also be used within warehouses. This allows smart boxes, smart bins and smart racks to be localised and disposed of in real time. 

Wearables: The use of devices such as headsets, smart glasses, smart contact lenses, data clocks and forearm computers, RFID and data gloves, RFID bracelets and sensor bracelets, NFC and smart motion rings, motion-capturing clothes and exoskeletons will significantly improve the efficiency and ergonomics of transport, handling and picking tasks. In this context, an improvement in the health of workers and a reduction of work-related or accident-related work failures is targeted. 

Smart robotics: In locations where people will still have to move to the goods in the future, they will be supported by wearables; this makes the man-machine interface even more effective. In many cases, however, the time in transit (as the largest time component during storage or picking) will be taken out of the system. Automation, by means of cellular or swarm-based shuttles, drones, self-acting cobots, or smart transport robots (STRs), make completely new forms of smart warehousing possible – Warehouse 4.0.

Transport of information: New digital technologies and flexible manufacturing processes will replace large parts of the physical transports of products and raw materials with a ‘transport of information’ via the Internet and cloud platforms. In the ideal case, end products are created directly where they are used or consumed by the customer himself using 3D printing (Additive Manufacturing). This transformation will also result in a reduction of the warehousing area required today: Against this backdrop, the realisation of the vision of Warehouse 4.0 also means the virtualisation of the classic warehouse.

    Bild eines Roboterarms
    Mann mit Drone im Lager
    Kisten im Lager
    Containerpark mit Lkw und Zug
    ©August Phunitiphat/©Halfpoint/©gZapp2Photo/©nattanan726/shutterstock.com

    ROI has an extensive portfolio of methods and instruments to support companies in implementing Warehouse 4.0. We combine in-depth technological knowledge and mastery of all relevant lean methods with industry know-how and comprehensive process expertise in logistics and supply chain management. Our focus is on the following topics in particular:

    • Warehouse 4.0 design/target image development
    • Provider-independent selection of relevant technologies (hardware and software, platforms, automation, robotics, wearables, localisation technologies) and monitoring of implementation
    • Definition of physical and digital processes and interfaces for the integration of Warehouse 4.0 into the supply chain network
    • Rollout planning/transformation roadmap for the warehouses 
    • Implementation of just-in-time (JIT)/just-in-sequence (JIS), vendor-managed inventory (VMI) concepts and lean methods
    • Virtualisation/digitization of physical processes