With more warehouses and factories beginning to use the latest technology for some parts of their processes, the opportunity to take use those options to their utmost potential becomes increasingly important. Due to the fact that these changes typically require sizable investments, the ability of any executive to wring out every dollar of added efficiency will only increase the company's success. When crafting such a plan, though, businesses should take a holistic view of the shop floor.

There are many ways in which warehouse or manufacturing decision-makers can increase the overall efficiency of their facilities, even before they pour money into more costly investments, according to Ground Report. For instance, having the latest safety equipment, and the necessary training that goes with it can help to avoid workplace accidents. When every worker is healthy and happy, it ensures a better working environment more conducive to long-term success.

Other low-tech moves
Additional investments can pay off well here too, including new storage lockers or other shelving units that make more efficient use of space and potentially free up plenty of cubic footage that can be devoted to other aspects of the overall operation. potentially saving money if companies feel they need to expand or move to new facilities. Moreover, finding ways to cut costs related to electricity, heating, and cooling can likewise be a smart investment that frees up money.

Investing for the future
That extra cash may be best put toward the new technology many facilities need to get ahead, including scanning apps that work with warehouse management systems to increase efficiency and oversight. With even a few changes made to inventory control procedures, factories and warehouses can free up time and money, according to Automation World. This is especially true as more machines on the warehouse floor gain capabilities to connect to the Internet of Things and integrate with existing and emerging WMS platforms.

"The e-commerce boom and growing consumer expectations have put a spotlight on operational inefficiencies and disconnects," John Waldron, president and CEO and Honeywell SPS, said on a recent online broadcast, according to the Automation World. "To stay competitive, businesses need to deploy the Internet of Things, cloud solutions and automation throughout their supply chains."

Factories and warehouses are better off when the devices they deploy ensure better performance across all operations. That may soon become increasingly easier to achieve, simply because of the many options for manufacturing and warehouse efficiency starting to catch on, including augmented reality, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Industrial applications for AR are manifold. Smart glasses, for example, could show users critical information about inventories just by looking at them or pull up step-by-step instructions for when machines on the shop floor need to be fixed or products need assembly. The latter may be crucial for on-the-job training, which itself will be critical to filling the millions of open advanced manufacturing expected to emerge in the industry in the years ahead.

In general, the more warehouse or factory executives can do to ensure they know all their options for increasing efficiency, and how to proceed next, the better off they'll be when it comes to meeting their most pressing needs. That kind of investigation should include how well these systems will integrate with their current or potential future WMS platforms.