What IoT Can Reveal About Your Warehouse Operations

Warehouses are becoming increasingly automated, with efforts to improve productivity, efficiency and safety. The industrial internet of things is a new concept, but it’s quickly being adopted in some larger warehouses and many distribution centers. The global IoT market is expected to grow significantly over the coming decade, and some of the strongest drivers of growth come from adoption of smart meters, machine-to-machine applications and asset tracking.

Adopting industrial IoT methods in a facility can bring numerous benefits to a company: reduced maintenance spend, increased ability to track inventory, improved climate control and a safer loading zone, just to name a few.

Predictive maintenance

As adoption of industrial IoT instruments picks up, one of the most popular focuses among facilities is optimizing maintenance needs. Emergency and reactive maintenance can be costly and time-consuming, and unexpected, but necessary, repair tasks can hold up productivity. As such, it’s hardly a surprise that warehouses, distribution centers and similar facilities would focus on reducing unscheduled maintenance needs.

Gathering data on equipment performance and health can provide helpful insight into potential problems that aren’t immediately obvious yet, especially for larger operations that consolidate data from all their assets onto a single dashboard.

IoT insights can also help facility managers identify problem with their buildings. If company forklifts undergo a lot of repairs related to g-force impact – as Supply Chain 247 offered as an example – the manager can investigate the paths those forklifts traveled, which could reveal potholes on the property or an uneven transition from one room to another. The opportunity to discover issues like this can help managers make preventive measures and reduce equipment breakdowns.

Climate sensors

Climate-controlled storage requires accurate and easily accessible metrics like temperature and humidity. Connected sensors installed in refrigeration rooms and other areas of a warehouse or distribution center can monitor conditions and alert facility managers when temperatures spike or dip outside of the desired range.

Certain models can even detect hot spots in the warehouse. Using this information, facility managers can quickly address the issue, perhaps by installing HVLS fans, before the hot spot affects product quality.

Loading dock metrics

Loading dock technology can make this area of a warehouse or distribution center safer. Installing interlocking systems can prevent certain actions from taking place until a safety feature is activated. For example, an integrated loading dock door won’t open until a trailer is properly restrained. That way, there’s no chance for trailer creep to present unsafe circumstances for forklift drivers.

Dock doors play a huge role in maintaining climate-controlled environments as well. When the door opens, cooled air can escape and hot air, along with insects, pollen and other contaminants, can enter the facility. Technology that monitors door usage can show facility managers how often doors are opened, and for how long, so facility managers can devise strategies in response to these insights.

Working with a national maintenance and equipment provider can help facilities integrate new and valuable technology into their operations. Reach out to Miner to learn how your building operations can improve with updated equipment and technology.