UKWA teams up with Cambridge to develop warehouse integrated platforms

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The UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) is working with an elite group, including the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing, on a project to promote the integration of IoT (Internet of Things) with operational platforms aimed at capturing efficiencies and driving productivity in logistics and warehousing.

The project, IoT Data Integration Platform for Supply Chain companies, is part of the Research England funded Pitch-In project and is designed to demonstrate the efficiencies and savings logistics companies can make from integrating real-time IoT and static operational data. As a conduit to industry, UKWA will support the development of individual case studies, to test and prove in a ‘real world’ environment the benefits of WMS operational platforms being integrated with IoT.

Commenting on the initiative, CEO Peter Ward explains that the project is a natural next step for UKWA. He said: “Our message has been clear for some time that in order to keep up with the rapidly evolving logistics landscape, businesses must embrace new technology.

“This project will dovetail with our UKWA Technology Advisory Board, which provides a thought-leading forum to share latest technology developments with members, and reflects our themes over the last two years of National Conferences, where we have fielded technology leaders and focused debate on how to succeed in the digital world.”

In the first instance, UKWA will be nominating member businesses to take part in trials, involving sharing data and providing feedback. There will be no cost involved for participants, other than commitment of resources and time to engage with the project, but in the longer term Ward believes there will be significant potential benefits for businesses adopting this integrated technology across the UK.

It is envisaged that the integration of IoT with operational WMS platforms will substantially improve efficiency in the warehouse, facilitating better workplace and workforce planning, and deliver clear value impacts, from reduced picking process times to major cost-savings on required staff levels.

Ward concludes: “This exciting Pitch-In project provides a unique opportunity to move forward. We’ve done all the talking, now is the time to take positive action; we will be testing some of the latest thinking from leading academic researchers with our members, with a view ultimately to rolling out real-world solutions able to make best use of technology such as IoT. I’m delighted that working alongside academic thought leaders, UKWA will be playing its part once again at the forefront of our industry as a catalyst for positive change.”