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The Impact Of Artificial Intelligence (AI) In The Warehouse, unnecessary or profitable?

With Artificial Intelligence (AI) being such an important topic of discussion and growing trend over recent years, it’s no wonder it possesses many benefits to the constantly evolving and competitive warehousing industry.

Some of you may be asking yourselves what AI is? In simple terms AI is a computer that can learn, a machine that can imitate human intelligence capabilities such as visual perception, decision-making & speech recognition, which is defined as AI.

Within the warehouse industry, there are various different technologies that fall under the AI spectrum which have a major impact on a warehouse including decision making, enhancing customer relations, machine learning, speech recognition, robotics and improving inventory accuracy.

Machine learning tech has a significant impact on the data collection and decision making aspects of running a warehouse. Warehouses produce incredible amounts of data from inventory stock levels, shipping data & order numbers. This type of tech can also use the data to predict customer needs based on orders and returns, furthermore eradicating waste and improving customer service, there is no need to order items that are nearly out of stock if no one is going to buy them.

Vast improvements in AI have led to far more effective voice-picking technology via speech recognition, this tech can learn a warehouse employee’s voice, determine where they are picking a particular item and confirm the accuracy of inventory records and levels of performance.

Robots programmed with AI are everywhere, from places like Amazon warehouses to small distribution centres, so it’s no surprise robotic technology isn’t as futuristic as it sounds, some robots only have the capability to perform simple tasks, whilst others are capable of interacting with humans on the warehouse floor, they can be programmed to learn where to take items, who to bring them to, and how to navigate their way around a building/warehouse.

The use of AI technology is rapidly expanding and the impact it has is continuing to grow, as the years go on we will see a lot more use for AI in the warehousing industry as well as the impact it provides.

Given the obvious benefits this technology has for the industry, do you feel it is unnecessary or a profitable direction moving forward? And are these positives outweighed by negatives?