Three emerging futures for the nature of pick and pack

With the emergence of the Internet of Things picking up pace, the processes and roles behind pick and pack services may change in the coming years and decades. This article will look at three different technologies that could transform pick and pack.

3D Printing

Now, you may be thinking that 3D printing isn’t new, which it isn’t, but it is still emerging. Some problems arise from print times, component costs and material wastage to be worked out and corrected, but it has the potential to alter pick and pack. If orders received could be fed into a system that prints and ships the goods directly to the customer, the whole pick and pack process would need to adapt. Instead, warehouses could become 3D printing houses and retrain existing pickers and packers to operate the printers.

Augmented Reality

Warehouse operatives are already familiar with wearable technology, such as a smart watch that provides valuable data, but augmented reality can take things one step further. Imagine a picker wearing smart glasses that direct them where to go for the following item to pick, understanding how efficiently they are working compared to their colleagues or seeing product images on demand. This augmented reality version can inform the user with valuable data in real-time to improve accuracy, efficiency and safety.

Pick and Pack Robotics

One way technology is sure to advance efficiency and reduce time wasted is with fetch robotics. These robots contain bins that the picker fills before the robot shoots to the packer to prepare the goods for shipment. These innovations are already in some warehouses, but there’s a long road ahead before technology replaces humans in pick and pack roles.