The Future of Maintenance in the Warehousing and Logistics Sector

21 April 2020

In an industry where the end product does not provide a large profit margin and demand is ever increasing, incremental gain must be made through efficient distribution plants. Over the last decade, heavy investment into automation has sought to alleviate these pressures within the Warehousing and Logistics sector.

The insides of distribution plants are an automated marvel.

Miles upon miles of centralised conveyor lines, pull out inventory, from deep within warehouses that can be over 80,000m². Currently, the only human interaction comes in the picking and packing of products after their retrieval by machines.

In any highly-interconnected process, downtime on the supply chain can impact the bottom line. The linear nature of logistics, with all inventory constantly moving in one direction, means the effects of any downtime can be easily seen. If a critical failure occurs, inventory will back up on conveyor belts and trucks will back up in the yard.

The cost of unplanned downtime for the supply chain.

In an environment so big and so unmanned, maintenance teams have to be well placed to solve issues as soon as possible. Taking twenty minutes to collect the staff and tools needed to fix an issue, then travelling to the problematic asset, causes a lot of unnecessary downtime - and the orders will keep on coming.

The Predictive Maintenance solution.

A move, from reactive to predictive maintenance (PdM), is necessary as logistics companies carry out further investment into automation. Due to the nuances of the sector, any PdM solution would have to work at scale and provide maintenance teams with an easy-to-use, supportive, decision-making tool.

Automated PdM products such as Senseye's PdM software suite provides a solution, specifically engineered and requiring no customization or extensive setup by the end user - meaning it can be applied across hundreds or even thousands of assets in any warehouse facilities.

The New Generation of Predictive Maintenance solutions.

Historically, the customized approach of predictive maintenance solutions involving high costs and long time frames to be implemented meant they were reserved to monitor high value assets available only to high margin industries. However, the automated and agnostic nature of a new generation of Predictive Maintenance solutions like Senseye PdM makes it affordable and easy to roll-out across all machines and locations, even for industries where margins are under constraint.

An Approach Already Serving Other Sectors.

In sectors like mining where processes centre around one key asset, there is a clear line of sight between preventing that asset's downtime and increasing profit. In Automotive, the production line relies on hundreds of different machines and predictive maintenance solutions need to be capable to support all of them and provide individual insights as each machine is unique, even if it’s from the same manufacturer.

The Benefits for Warehousing and Logistics.

For logistics, investing in predictive maintenance involves implementing the software on assets that could be replaced affordably, but whose downtime would have massive impacts on the bottom line - as a result of the linear supply chain.

The future of warehousing and logistics is exciting for everyone. The mass adoption of automated processes will mean products get to consumers faster and better. It’s up to solutions like PdM to keep the ever-quicker wheels of this industry turning.

Want to find out more about how Sensey PdM can help? Check out our white paper ‘Harness the Power of Prediction’ or book a demo of Senseye PdM today.