How AI and Automation Are Impacting Warehousing in Thailand

12 May 2022

The impact of AI in warehouse automation has been revolutionary as it is leveraged across multiple multiple applications such as robotics, computer vision, and language processing tools to streamline warehouse operations. In this article, we’re going to look at how AI and automation are impacting warehousing in Thailand, and what it means for the future.

 

What is AI and how is it used in warehousing?

AI (artificial intelligence) is intelligence demonstrated by machines, as opposed to the inherent intelligence displayed by humans. Right now, it is a far-ranging field of research and innovation in the computer sciences and the industry has gone through some impressive leaps and bounds over recent years.

 

For some people, the rise of AI is unnerving. For people in the product warehousing and logistics industry however, it’s revolutionising the way business is done while providing a wealth of economic advantages.

 

So, how is AI used in warehousing? Right now, AI is being introduced to warehouses all over the world. It is being used to gather data from sensors and then leverage this information to recognise patterns and suggest certain actions, for example: the faster replenishment of nearly out-of-stock items, identifying shorter walking routes, and better positioning inventory.

 

The “Robot Rack System” is a great example of AI in warehousing. Here’s how it can benefit warehousing operations in Thailand:

  • Reduce human hands (and speed up the process): robots are far faster than humans when it comes to judging and working. Based on the appropriate input content, the robot will go to pick up the necessary products from the rack. In addition, the AI boasts a machine-learning function that will enable the robots to efficiently rearrange racks, steadily eliminating additional tasks for warehouse workers.
  • Limit human error: as picking operations using robots will be managed by an AI, mistakes (such as the handling of wrong goods or delivering to incorrect destinations that are otherwise normally caused by people) are greatly reduced. Not only that, but the AI can yield accurate inventory data on demand thus reducing deadstock.
  • Increase warehousing capacities: as the only space necessary will be for the passage of the robot to access the rack systems it will be possible to utilise the warehouse space far more efficiently than before.
  • Can be easily expanded and moved: as a business continues to grow and expand it can be facilitated by introducing additional robots and racks, including accommodating the relocation of warehouses.

 

How does automation benefit the supply chain?

Automation, both in and outside of the warehouse include enhanced efficiency (increased fill rates and lower cycle times), increased warehouse throughput time, reduced labour requirements, lower operations costs, the elimination of human error, and the overall improvement of inventory management.

 

In the supply chain, leveraging digital innovation, automation can be used to streamline back-office tasks and requirements, for example, processing delivery orders, dock receipts, bills of lading (B/L), and sea waybills.

 

Additionally, there is transportation automation to consider (autonomous trucks and drones used to deliver goods). Investments in the autonomous vehicle market is on the rise with the industry being projected to rise to $11 billion by 2028!

 

Will warehouse automation mean a significant loss of jobs?

The grim reality is that warehouse automation is resulting in job loss all over the world right now. As warehouse automation with AI can significantly improve the overall function and efficiency of the required processes, while similarly reducing overheads by a significant amount, if companies wish to remain competitive they must embrace the ever-changing landscape – and this means upgrading their warehouses and implementing robotics.

 

Unfortunately, this means letting people go – in the long-term at least. For now, AI and automation is assisting and improving employee’s jobs and making their lives easier (relatively), however, as technology continues to innovate and expand exponentially, it is fair to say that humans in warehouses will become more or less obsolete sooner or later.

 

How is AI and automation impacting warehousing in Thailand?

As it is with warehousing all of the world, AI and automation is having a monumental impact in Thailand. Thailand’s robotics and AI capabilities have experienced significant growth over recent years thanks to the nation’s role in the global supply chain (that, and the innovations sparked during the coronavirus pandemic).

 

As Thailand has already reached a fairly advanced development stage in machinery information, and communication technology, the nation ha as strong foundation in place for automation and the robotics supply chain to thrive.

 

AI, robotics, and the digital industry are now a big priority for the Thai government, as part of their national strategy affectionately referred to as Thailand 4.0. This 20-year plan will seek to elevate the Kingdom’s development and competitiveness in the global market with a keen focus on advanced tech, coupled with green and sustainable growth.

 

As of 2019, Thailand boasted the highest number of industrial robots within its 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (the ASEAN). With 3,000 units up-and-running, Thailand accounts for some 1% of the total industrial robots in operation globally (many of which are US-based). That might sound like a small number but with 195-countries worldwide, this means Thailand is making some serious moves in the AI, automation, and robotics sector.

 

Thailand’s service robot industry experience significant growth and a proliferation of innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a necessary response to the more pronounced needs of the time, such as providing healthcare services and caring for the elderly.

 

The nature of Thailand’s competitive supply chains, e.g., automotive, electronics, and food processing, have increased the overall demand for industrial innovation as businesses have been embracing the transformative effects of AI and robotics in relation to productivity.

 

The International Federation of Robotics forecast that Thailand’s use of automated guide vehicles in factories and warehouses, including hospitals, would grow by 60% per year to over 700,000 units by 2022, and that prediction appears to be well and truly underway.

 

Conclusion

To conclude, AI and automation is making some big waves in the warehousing industry in Thailand. The Thai economy will benefit greatly from these advancements. It’s an exciting time with much promise in the warehousing, logistics, and supply chain sector and it will be interesting to see how Thailand progresses over the next several decades.

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