How 5G technology is bringing about a sea change in warehouse management
With the rapid growth of e-commerce, Indian warehouses are turning to 5G technology and cloud-based systems to stay ahead of the competition. Real-time tracking, increased efficiency, and faster connectivity are just a few of the benefits that these emerging technologies bring to the warehouse management and logistics industry in India.
Neil Banerjee March 29, 2023
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The advent of 5G technology has created a buzz across industries, with many businesses preparing to embrace the latest tech. The e-commerce sector in India is one such industry that is preparing to leverage 5G technology to gain an edge. With the rapid growth of e-commerce in India, warehouses across the country are gearing up to adopt the latest technology to enhance their operations.
5G tech to impact e-commerce ecosystem
Cloud-based warehouse management systems have revolutionised the way in which warehouses are managed by enabling companies to manage their inventories, orders, and fulfilment processes through a centralised system that is accessible anywhere with an internet connection.
The introduction of 5G technology is expected to have a significant impact on the e-commerce ecosystem in India. By incorporating 5G technology into their software, cloud-based warehouse management software companies will be able to provide a more efficient and seamless warehouse management experience to their clients.
Karthik Bala, Co-Founder and CTO of Stockone, says, “5G technology provides faster and more reliable connectivity compared to the previous generations of cellular networks. This increased connectivity, speed, and reliability will improve accessibility to cloud-based warehouse management software and enable real-time operations and data synchronisation.” 5G technology also supports faster connectivity with IoT devices, providing real-time data for optimising warehouse operations.
Rising demand for warehouses
The e-commerce sector in India has grown rapidly in recent years, with the pandemic accelerating the shift to online shopping. According to a report by RedSeer Management Consulting, the e-commerce market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 30 per cent and reach $111 billion by 2024. With such growth, warehouses are experiencing a surge in demand for their services, requiring them to operate at their maximum efficiency.
Hirdey Vikram, Chief Marketing Officer at Netweb Technologies, states, “In India, there is still a long way to go in terms of efficient warehouse management. Most warehouses are still managed manually, which leads to inefficiencies and inaccuracies. However, the adoption of cloud-based warehouse management systems has led to a significant improvement in the industry.”
A host of benefits
The adoption of 5G technology is expected to bring a significant improvement in the warehouse management industry in India. Bala points out,”5G technology offers several benefits for warehouses in India that can be leveraged using cloud-based warehouse management systems. These benefits include faster and more reliable connectivity, increased efficiency and productivity, improved inventory management, and enhanced safety and security.”
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By leveraging cloud-based warehouse management software like Stockone, the benefits of 5G technology can be further enhanced. The software can provide real-time visibility to inventory levels, order statuses, and shipping information, allowing companies to manage their operations quickly and easily at scale. The software can also automate manual processes, reducing errors and improving efficiency.
Bala adds, “We plan to integrate with IoT devices and sensors to provide real-time tracking of inventory and assets and enable our software to provide real-time insights and notifications to warehouse managers and operators.” It is crucial for businesses to stay ahead of the curve by incorporating emerging technologies like 5G into their software platforms, and companies like Stockone are leading the way in this effort.
Game-changer for logistics industry
“5G technology is a game-changer for the logistics industry, offering high-speed connectivity and real-time data exchange that enable businesses to operate more intelligently, efficiently, and transparently. With its low latency and high bandwidth capabilities, 5G has the potential to revolutionise supply chain management, particularly in the area of warehousing,” underlines Amit Maheshwari, Founder & MD, Softlink Global.
The adoption of 5G technology by Indian warehouses is not limited to cloud-based warehouse management systems only. According to a report by ETCIO, a leading technology news publication in India, the logistics industry is exploring the use of 5G to enhance supply chain management. The report states that, “5G technology can significantly improve the logistics sector by enabling the real-time tracking of goods and vehicles, providing a better visibility of the supply chain and reducing transit times.”
”I believe that in India, 5G will first be implemented in grade A warehouses that are expected to show a 15 per cent growth by 2025. The demand for high-quality, grade-A warehouses will increase with the increasing demand for a larger space, driven by the e-commerce & logistics sectors in the country. For such humongous areas of land, even the WPA3 cannot meet the requirements of connectivity, security, and coverage. With 5G coming into the picture now, this sector will surely get a boost,” says Sanket Sheth, MD & Founder, Elixia Inc.
“Most of the warehouses today are piloting automation, AI, IoT, and other latest technologies but are not getting adequate performance with the traditional Wi-Fi connectivity as the connection within the devices and touchpoints is not that strong & secure. This is expected to change when 5G arrives,” Sheth points out.
The implementation of 5G networks is predicted to enhance the communication between the internal factory/warehouse operations and the external distribution and transportation processes. As a result, 5G is playing the role of an enabler in the digital transformation of the logistics and supply chain procedures.
Challenges and opportunities
While the adoption of 5G technology and cloud-based warehouse management systems provides significant benefits, there are also some challenges that come with it. Bala says, “One of the biggest challenges faced by the warehouses in India is the lack of skilled manpower. Additionally, there is a lack of awareness about the benefits of cloud-based warehouse management systems among small and medium-sized businesses.”
Sheth believes that 5G technology will bring improved connectivity and visibility in all industries, including SMEs, which contribute generously to the economic health of the country. With its implementation, SMEs can achieve end-to-end supply chain visibility with lesser interruptions in communication, resulting in increased expansion opportunities. 5G will give SMEs greater control over their logistics operations, which is crucial for their growth.
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The Indian government is playing a crucial role in the adoption of 5G technology in the logistics and warehousing sector. The National Logistics Policy aims to address the inefficiencies and the higher costs across the logistics and supply chain processes. The government is also emphasising on the creation of a Unified Logistics Interface Platform and a master national plan for multimodal connectivity, which will demand high-end connectivity. The implementation of 5G technology will be at the core of the process of achieving these goals.
“The opportunities are endless with the potential to revolutionise inventory and warehouse management, enabling the use of drones and improved vehicle routing through intelligent fleet management. Furthermore, 5G opens up new research areas, such as autonomous vehicles, which can provide valuable insights and data to the supply chain,” says Maheshwari.
“Businesses that are embracing this new era of connectivity in Industry 4.0 and the digital supply chain are well positioned to stay ahead of the curve. By integrating 5G technology into their software solutions, companies can proactively track their inventory levels in real time and receive accurate information instantly, enabling their logistics and supply chain managers to operate more efficiently than ever before. The future of supply chain management is dependent on our ability to understand the implications of 5G technology and leverage its capabilities to stay competitive,” Maheshwari avers as he signs off.