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Based on the article written by the Banker S., in back 201, there is the sustainable warehousing exist when companies meet certain level of sustainability and can generate a certificate out of it with “sustainable” scores based on classification schema of LEED. (Banker, 2015). However, question that might be raised, here, is whether sustainable warehousing has any effect on technological advancement of the logistics companies.
In fact, coming today, there is less and less need for new operatives and fewer line managers, since certain labour analysis-reducing technologies are replacing or making them more efficient at their performance. Let’s make more considerations on those technologies that is playing a tremendous role in warehousing and its sustainability.
Sustainable Warehouse and technology
Sustainable warehouse is about balancing, managing and integrating the economic, social and environmental inputs and outputs of the warehouse processes. Sustainability is the fundamental factor in determining each and any business entity’s value but they are struggling with implementation of it in the present business scenery especially when they collaborate with third party logistics (3PL) management frame like distribution and warehousing in the supply-chain business setup. (Tan et al, 2009) To support this phenomenon, many companies comes with solution, which is presented by the novel technologies of current disruptive technologies advancement.
As another factor which pushing businesses toward more advanced technologies to gain a goal of good sustainable warehousing, is the globalisation intensives such as increasing global expansion, growing consumer expectations and demand, increasing environmental regulations, rising labour costs, and resource scarcity. Thus, companies are in the challenge, and accepting these by implementing economic, environmental and social perspectives and intending to harness efficient and sustainable measures into playground. (Asia Outlook Magazine, 2018).
Source:Sustainable enterprise modelling and simulation in a warehousing context (Tanet al, 2010).
One of the main technology adopted by the companies and their 3PLs is the warehouse management system. Warehouse management system (WMS) is the frame of processes in warehousing operations of the company, which have been advanced to make warehouse activities faster for labour to perform and engendered productivities to decrease labour-intensiveness. (Faber et al, 2013) For instance, it cut the paperwork and data entry procedures off from operations in the warehouse activities. In short, WMS reduced “the need” for labour to spend time (in this case, time of company) completing paper forms and entering data from those forms into data management applications. Second, WMS reached full score at picking warehouse operations because technology overcomes human hands on efficient working practices with features such as system-guided picking. Third, WMS is effectively integrating tasks (e.g. task interleaving) by extending concept of system-guidance across all operations, especially with forklift operators. (Radley Corp., 2017).
For example to this point, one of the client of ARC Advisory Group Company, started to implement RedPrairie as its interleaving system technology at both the mixing centres and the warehouses controlled by its 3Pl partners. Only two days before adopting novel task interleaving system, the company only shifted about 470 stacks of boards, and then on a day of interleaving started to be in operations, the company moved about 700 stacks, which is almost twice more efficiency at performance. (Banker, 2009).
Video Network Technology
Next is the modern network video technology that used to improve several warehouse types and reach sustainability of operations which provides real-time analysis of different activities. (Kembro, 2017). Based on the research paper, there is now highly integrated video monitoring technology that could be implemented on warehousing. This makes warehouse operations faster, safer and more transparent and more sustainable than ever before. In this, the technology integrates video applications and current information technology and creates a new dimension for analysing real time operations. Main advantage of this technology is that, aftermath, companies can improve efficiency at work and cut costs meanwhile responding to market competitiveness and the supply chain.
At present, radio frequency technological method is well-known system that helps companies to avoid such obstacles in the warehousing operations like a mis-shipments, difficulty locating material and erroneous information entered by hand. (The WMS Handbook. 2006). This technology improves operational management and immediately and easily track items being loaded, shifted, and shipped. Companies uses technology of RF with collaboration of WMS system, RF barcode scanners and barcodes. For instance, any output is identified with bar codes on the board which same process with cases and pieces. Locations within each of amenities are determined with bar code for each shelf, row, slot, rack and bin position.
These all are examples for technological advancement in order to achieve economic sustainability of organisation since there is mission of reaching effectiveness and customer satisfaction as the main performance indicators. (Lintonet al,2007). In contrast, most transportation and warehousing companies (logistics) have little respond when it comes to environmental impacts of their operations, and also lack of social consequences of their business procedures. One of the main and evident reason for such argue, which also presented by the academic such Quariguasi Frota Netoet al,vehicle emissions are one of the major sources of air pollution. And logistics companies should recognise this fact and the importance of transforming their present forms of business models into sustainable (environmental) ones.
By automating labour-intensive operations, the business entities can gain business and financial management sustainability welfares in the long run as advanced inventory perceptibility can influence customer satisfaction and increase product accuracy. For instance, as we stated above, by switching to RFID and bar coding technologies will certainly see a reduction in paper consumption since there is largely adopted digital methodology, hence, lending a hand to environmental sustainability en route.
Such sustainable business with disruptive technologies implemented allows them to manage companies in a holistic manner that balances the economic realms with the environmental and social essentials while sustaining intergenerational equity. Thus, technologies are only way to create haven for fully well managed and sustainable warehouses.
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2. Tan, K. S., Ahmed, M. D., & Sundaram, D. (2009, June). Sustainable warehouse management. In Proceedings of the International Workshop on Enterprises & Organizational Modeling and Simulation (p. 8). AC
3. Sustainable Logistics – The Warehousing Approach| Asia Outlook Magazine. (2018). Asia Outlook Magazine. Retrieved 23 September 2018, fromhttps://www.asiaoutlookmag.com/news/sustainable-logistics-the-warehousing-approach
4. Faber, N., De Koster, M. B. M., & Smidts, A. (2013). Organizing warehouse management. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 33(9), 1230-1256.
5. Radley Corp. How Task Interleaving Can Improve Warehouse Productivity | Radley. (2017). Radley Corporation. Retrieved 23 September 2018, fromhttps://www.radley.com/how-task-interleaving-can-improve-warehouse-productivity-4-benefits-you-need-to-know/
6. Banker S. 2009. Task Interleaving: An Advanced Warehouse Productivity Practice | Logistics Viewpoints. (2009). Logistics Viewpoints. Retrieved 23 September 2018, fromhttps://logisticsviewpoints.com/2009/10/29/task-interleaving-an-advanced-warehouse-productivity-practice/
7. Kembro, J. H., Danielsson, V., & Smajli, G. (2017). Network video technology: Exploring an innovative approach to improving warehouse operations. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 47(7), 623-645.
8. Tan, K. S., Daud Ahmed, M., & Sundaram, D. (2010). Sustainable enterprise modelling and simulation in a warehousing context. Business Process ManagementJournal, 16(5), 871-886.
9. Danielsson, V., & Smajli, G. (2015). Improving warehousing operations with video technology[Ebook]. Retrieved from http://lup.lub.lu.se/student-papers/record/5464480/file/5464498.pdf
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12. Quariguasi Frota Neto, J., Bloemhof-Ruwaard, J.M., van Nunen, J.A.E.E. and van Heck, H.W.G.M. (2008), “Designing and evaluating sustainable logistics networks”, International Journal of Production Economics, Vol. 111 No. 2, p. 13.