How Smart Warehouses are Using IoT Devices

13 December 2022

The world is changing, and the internet of things is at the forefront of this change. Businesses of all types are beginning to adopt IoT (Internet of Things) technology in order to improve efficiency and bottom lines.


IoT (Internet of Things) is an emerging field where connected objects exchange data via the Internet. They use sensors and actuators to collect and analyse data from their environment. Furthermore, a study indicates that IoT technology implementation could help cut back on inventory inaccuracies by up to 30%, resulting in lower operational expenses and better workflow efficiencies.


One industry that is benefiting greatly from the IoT revolution is warehousing. In a typical warehouse, workers are tasked with completing a variety of tasks, such as picking and packing products for shipment. With the help of IoT devices, however, these tasks can be automated, making the warehouse run more smoothly and efficiently. Just look to Amazon's Smart Warehouse to see how they strive for continued innovation with a heavy focus on supply chain automation.


In this post, we will discuss how smart warehouses are using IoT devices to manage their activities automatically. We will also explore the benefits of automation in the warehouse setting and look at some examples of businesses that are using IoT technology to streamline their operations.


Applications of IoT in warehouse management systems

Greater efficiency

The use of IoT in warehouse management systems has allowed for greater efficiency and accuracy in managing inventory. In the past, managers would have to rely on manual methods to keep track of stock levels, which was both time-consuming and prone to error. With IoT-enabled devices, managers can now automatically track inventory levels in real time, ensuring that stock is always up-to-date. This not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of human error.


Inventory Management

In addition, IoT-enabled devices can also be used to trigger automated reordering processes when stock levels fall below a certain threshold. This further enhances efficiency by ensuring that inventory is always kept at optimal levels. As a result, the use of IoT in warehouse management systems has led to increased efficiency and accuracy in managing inventory.

The use of IoT devices has also led to increased flexibility in warehouse operations. For instance, businesses can now use mobile devices to manage inventory and order processing. This allows for greater flexibility in terms of where orders can be processed, which can save time and money.

On the other hand, businesses can also use sensors to track product locations within the warehouse. This helps managers to optimise stock placement and ensure that products are always easy to find.

Minimising the occurrence of accidents

Another application of IoT devices in warehouses is the ability to improve safety and efficiency. For example, warehouse workers can be equipped with IoT-enabled headsets that allow them to communicate with other workers and managers in the warehouse. This allows for quick communication in the event of an emergency, such as when there are accidents or anyone coming in contact with hazardous materials. As a result, with the help of IoT devices, one can now automate hazardous tasks, such as handling gas cylinders. By automating these tasks, businesses can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries in the warehouse.

Overall, the use of IoT devices in warehouses has led to increased safety, efficiency, and flexibility in operations. Businesses that adopt these devices stand to reap significant benefits in terms of improved productivity and profitability.


Benefits of an integrated solution for the Warehouse Management System

Automation with Sensors

Warehousing and inventory management are two of the most important aspects of any business that deals with physical goods. In the past, these processes were entirely reliant on manual labour, which was both time-consuming and expensive. However, thanks to the advent of IoT technology, warehouses can now automate their processes using smart sensors and software.


Consequently, it saves time and money and reduces the margin of error. Also, due to the fact IoT-enabled warehousing solutions allow businesses to track their inventory levels in real-time by monitoring workers' activities, they have been able to avoid any potential delays or disruptions beforehand.


As more and more businesses begin to adopt IoT-enabled warehousing solutions, it is clear that this technology is revolutionising the way we manage our inventory. Thanks to these solutions, businesses are now able to streamline their businesses even more so today.


How do businesses adopt IoT-enabled warehousing solutions?

Precise location tracking

Since a warehouse usually has a lot of goods stored, there needs to be software to manage and monitor all operations. With the impact of IoT, accurate location tracking can help warehouses increase their productivity by giving them better access to the right resources at the right time.


Here are two examples of how the location-tracking device works:

1.Tracking MHE Assets

Physical assets are important to warehousing companies because they help them monitor their warehouses. The asset monitoring system discussed here helps them do just that.

MHE assets include forklifts and yard vehicles as well as their real–time locations. With these capabilities, warehouse managers can save valuable hours by finding them quickly and easily.

The automatic asset management software makes it easy for warehouses to track their assets' location at any given time. For example, they can receive alerts if an idle or unauthorised MHE enters a certain zone.

Furthermore, IoT-enabled inventory management systems can help warehouses track their inventory by tagging each item with an ID code. Warehouses can then use these IDs to locate items when they're needed and record important information, including how long the item has been stored and whether it was used before it was put away.

Warehouses can also be planned so that they don't cause traffic jams or other types of collisions which in turn reduce the likelihood of work-related injuries.


2. Tracking workforce with wearable technology

Wearable technology entails IoT (Internet of Things) sensors attached to the clothing/uniforms of people working at warehouses so that they can be tracked by warehouse management systems. These sensors enable warehouse managers to monitor the performance of their staff and improve productivity.


How can wearable technology benefit your workforce?

Wearable technology, otherwise called wearable computing, is an electronic device worn by a person which receives and transmits data to and from another device. In warehouses, the most common wearable technologies are smart glasses, activity trackers, and many others.


These devices allow everyone to perform their jobs and communicate with their managers without having to hold or let go of the phone or tablet. As a result, people can get orders or reports without needing to touch or release their phones or tablets.


Moreover, the tracking features of wearables improve transparency between employers and workers. By tracking their activities, employers can easily monitor whether or not workers follow the predetermined plans.


Implement automation for employee's daily activities:

With IoT-enabled wearables, you can implement automation for employees' daily activities. For example, if an employee leaves his/her office at noon, he/she would be able to use a wearable device to automatically log out from the system.


The technology also gathers information about an employee's activities and location in real-time so that you can determine if they're doing their job properly, and which ones may need extra assistance or support.


Conversely, this technology does not just benefit your workforce but also your business. Wearable devices that track workers’ physical activity enable them to automatically fill out their tasks. This reduces the need for any human supervision and allows your business to prioritise other important tasks.


Last but not least, wearable devices equipped with IoT sensors can alert management whenever an employee enters a restricted zone so you can prepare in case of any emergencies.


Optimising Warehouse Operations

Warehouse layout planning is an important part of any warehouse management system (WMS) implementation. However, instead of constantly looking at the warehouse layout, you can plan the layout using a digital tool.


Equal workload distribution

It is increasingly important to maximise space utilisation and allocate workload equally among workers for greater efficiency when your business expands.


In addition, equal workload distribution to the workforce would improve their productivity and result in faster work completions. Warehouses could distribute workload by matching workforce and assets allocation based on individual zones' data, available through warehousing management software.


Improved Inventory Lead Time

Another advantage of warehousing operations' efficiencies is improved inventory lead times resulting in cargo leaving warehouses fuller and faster. By monitoring performance using internal systems, warehouse managers can use daily tracking of inventory levels to identify any underperforming areas.


Shorter inventory leads time improves delivery efficiencies, which customers appreciate, thereby increasing their satisfaction. Likewise, efficient use of resources will result in less waste and lower environmental impact.


Improved safety

Warehouse management companies must be able to monitor their warehouses for any potential hazards. Luckily, IoT-enabled smart warehouse solutions can help them achieve this goal.

Some examples include:

  • Alerts warehouse managers when unauthorised entries occur or when employees use their mobile devices inside the warehouse.
  • It prevents traffic collisions between motorcycles and motor vehicles by establishing safe distances; whether an accident occurs, the device will send a real- time warning.
  • Zones control the number of people allowed in each space at any given time.


Types of IoT technologies used within smart warehouses:


Beacon technologies use low-power Bluetooth technology to transmit signals between different types of equipment, allowing them to communicate with each other. They can then be monitored through smartphones and other GSM-enabled mobile phones.


Beacon technologies are embedded into the inventory management system to help improve your asset management system, balance your inventory, and ease information distribution.


Beacons are preferred because they're better than RFID tags for warehouse applications due to their lower cost, smaller size, and longer battery life. They also have High read range and their Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology is ideal for tracking movement and activity levels. It helps increase efficiency because multiple movements can be monitored from a single mobile phone.


BLE technology uses less energy than traditional Bluetooth LE devices. As a result, battery life is usually longer for beacons that use BLE technology compared to those using Bluetooth 4.0.


Most importantly, beacons are becoming increasingly affordable because they're being produced in bulk by companies who want to get their products into people's hands.



On the other hand, RFID tags are used extensively in warehouses too. They are attached to products and use radio waves to communicate data about the product to a central system.


This data can include information about the product's location, type, quantity, and more. They make it possible for businesses to track their products throughout the entire warehouse without having to rely on manual input from workers.


Robotic Arms

Another type of IoT device that is being used in warehouses is the robotics arm. Robotic arms are capable of completing various tasks such as picking and packing products. They can also be used for inventory management and item tracking.


They are a type of technology that is growing in popularity because they essentially work 24 hours a day without tiring and they don't require breaks or lunches. Additionally, they can be programmed to complete multiple tasks simultaneously.



Sensors in warehouses use radio frequencies to automatically transmit signals to read and send data. This is where RFID sensors offer great benefit as they can help keep an eye out for inventory by attaching them to products. It is fundamental that every product gets where it needs to go during the production stage.


On another note, fingerprint scanning technology can also be used to limit access to certain rooms, which could include fingerprint scanners at the entrance of each room.


Using Cloud-Based Warehousing Management Platform to track Inventory

Cloud-based warehousing management platforms integrate information gathered by IoT devices into their system. With a secure connection to the internet and an easy-to-use interface, online warehouse management software will help you keep track of inventory levels and monitor shipments. It will even give you insights into which products sell best and where there might be room for improvement.


In summary, the main advantages offered by IoT technology for warehouse operations are as follows:

1.Optimises space utilisation

Spatial utilisation optimisation uses IoT technologies to give warehousing managers a clear understanding of the layouts and configurations of their storage spaces.


It enables warehouses to expand without having to buy new land. Especially when considering the high costs associated with purchasing lands and building warehouses. Therefore, the focus of spatial utilisation is to make the most efficient use of the available storage spaces in order to store the goods and assets they own.


2.Enhances equipment effectiveness

Being able to improve equipment effectiveness means that warehouses can manage their resources better, so they don't waste any of them. You can achieve that by using asset management software that integrates with a reliable warehousing monitoring system.


Ultimately, warehouses using asset tracking systems gain the capability to analyse and gain insight into the key attributes of their warehouse management system (WMS). These include quality, availability, and performance.


3.Grants remote monitoring

Smart warehousing system features allow businesses to make real-time decisions without having to visit each location. Managers can now immediately gain access to real-time data from their warehouses using a web-based application. By being able to view their entire operation remotely, they can organise their operation more effectively.


4.Increases employee productivity

Using IoT technology allows warehouses to automate tasks, makes it easier to manage and allows decision makers to take action quickly.


At the same time that they're helping companies boost efficiency through increased automation, warehouse management systems (WMS) can increase worker performance by allowing them to perform more tasks without having to rely on physical movement. They can also easily share information with their supervisors without having to submit paperwork, which can be cumbersome and time consuming.


5.Reduces risk and cost

IoT technology has been integrated into the warehouse management systems so that they can monitor their safety. If something goes wrong, the system will automatically alert the manager.


Smart warehousing enabled by IoT technology could also facilitate warehouses and get them up-to-date stock levels so they know which products are currently selling well. In this case, it helps them eliminate any products that are taking up space and costs for the business.


6.Enables environmentally friendly operations

Optimising warehouse operations can lead to efficient energy usage, which ultimately results in reduced carbon emissions, thereby helping companies meet their environmental sustainability targets.


Are you ready to start incorporating smart warehouse management?

Smart warehouses are used by many warehousers who've successfully improved their operations through the use of IoT technology.

With our innovative technologies, we have always strived to deliver technology solutions that fit our customers' needs and help them achieve their efficient warehousing systems.

Contact us if you'd like a demonstration or a consultation.


On a final note…

There are many benefits associated with automation in the warehouse setting. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is increased efficiency. By automating tasks that were previously completed by human workers, businesses can take advantage of faster completion times with greater accuracy.


Another great benefit is that automated systems can often work longer hours than human workers. This means that businesses can take advantage of 24-hour operation times without having to pay overtime to human employees.


Finally, automation can help businesses save money on labour costs. When tasks are completed by machines rather than humans, businesses no longer have to pay wages or provide benefits to workers. Read this blog to discover more about how AI and automation work hand-in-hand.


The Bottom Line

These days, smart warehouses are using a variety of different IoT devices to automate their activities and improve efficiency. With the use of RFID tags, sensors, beacons, robotic arms, wearable technology, and more; businesses can integrate modern solutions to optimise their business operations at a greater scale.


Technology is ever-advancing and by using IoT technologies, businesses don't have to rely on manual input as now robotic arms can take over to complete tasks simultaneously. There are infinite reasons for automation in the warehouse setting from improved accuracy, to greater efficiency, 24-hour operations, and reduced costs. Many different types of businesses including Amazon, Walmart, and Target have already adopted warehouse automation in some capacity and it is only expected that this trend will continue in the future as technology continues to evolve.

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