How can IoT Streamline the Packaging Process?
If you’ve been followed our blog, you’ve likely read several entries about the Internet of Things or (IoT). But to give you a quick recap, IoT is all about the ability to interconnect multiple systems, technologies, and components through a shared internet connection.
But, what role does IoT perform in streamlining the packaging process? Many industry professionals are convinced that the use of IoT solutions is the wave of the future for managing the complete order fulfillment process… and this includes the packaging stage.
So, let’s take a look at how IoT can help streamline the packaging process for supply chain and fulfillment companies and give you some ideas on how you might do the same in your own warehouse.
Already leveraging technology in your warehouse operations but want to learn how to make even more use of it? The Innovation team here at Redwood Logistics includes experts in the field of IoT technology who can guide you through best implementation and management practices. Even better, you can contact them here to schedule a free consultation.
How IoT Helps Manufacturing
When it comes to manufacturing, the internet of things is one of the most powerful types of systems that most manufacturers should put into place. The ability to connect machines, materials, computers, order processing, and operational technology keeps the entire manufacturing process reviewable, streamlined, and operating with the power of automation.
Consider this futuristic scenario. Let’s say an entire manufacturing facility is automated, where each machine is operating fully under the control of a computer, supplies being fulfilled via self-driving carts, and finished products are bundled or packaged by robotic equipment, stacked, secured, and even palletized – without a single human hand.
Believe it or not – this happens across the globe each day. In fact, a study completed in 2017 discovered that nearly 77% of all manufacturers have some sort of IoT solution in their facilities. Most of these manufacturers have IoT connected to CNC or custom cutting/designing equipment.
IoT helps in multiple ways:
- It helps deliver information to machinery and equipment with little delay, which keeps the stream of manufacturing running smooth.
- With packaging, IoT technology is used to reduce human interaction, which ensures consistent packaging, can reduce payroll, and most importantly, can save many people from experiencing packaging-related injuries.
The Role of Robotic Technology to Streamline the Packaging Process
The main area where IoT technology is currently used to streamline the packaging process is through robotic equipment. Robotic equipment can help a business improve the efficiency and consistency of their packaging operations – simply by removing human error from the equation.
However, they have also found a home in several industries such as food manufacturing. The use of robotic equipment in food packaging helps to significantly reduce the spread of bacteria across different areas of operation. As cross-contamination is virtually eliminated, food safety standards improve – which is a benefit to public health.
Robotic equipment powered through IoT technology also helps with inventory control. IoT technology allows manufacturers to electronically store and catalog manufacturing capacity, which also transfers into improved forecasting, manufacturing scheduling, and ultimately – improved fulfillment to customers.
The Growth of Smart Packaging
There has been a rapid growth in smart packaging or also known as intelligent packaging. This type of packaging includes materials with interconnected technology that shares information. Typically, it’s embedded with QR codes or sensors that can be scanned through the supply chain, providing instant updates of the location of the package for customers ordering online.
But IoT technology is allowing this packaging to do so much more. It’s able to help manufacturers reduce the threat of counterfeiting – by verifying the authenticity of products. In fact, companies like Louis Vuitton, Levi’s, and Channel have integrated smart packaging technology with their high-end products.
It’s also used to help reduce tampering. A product called ThinFilm is used by alcohol manufacturer Johnnie Walker to ensure bottles have not been opened to contaminated prior to the point of sale in retail locations.
Temperature sensors are another example of smart packaging using IoT technology. It’s used mainly in perishable commodities including medication, to ensure it stays outside of the “danger zone” of temperature compliance.
The Internet of Things has a huge impact on the modern supply chain. It’s used in warehousing, fulfillment, retail, point of sale, and shipping products to consumers. The growth and expansion of IoT technology into smart packaging solutions should not surprise anyone. In fact, it’s something that more manufacturers and suppliers are looking to leverage to further streamline the packaging process.
If you’d like to learn more about how to best integrate IoT solutions in your warehousing, fulfillment, or manufacturing operations, contact the Redwood Innovation team today.