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What a 3D Map Can Do For Your Warehouse Logistics

August 23, 2018 by Sam Slater

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The vast majority of popular applications for 3D mapping and rendering technology are public-facing. 3D maps can be used to create vivid, virtual tours, and custom digital experiences. Some of the most useful applications of 3D mapping technology are best used in the background, as part of the internal building functions like asset tracking, and warehouse logistics.

If your business manages a warehouse of goods or you are a logistics company housing and shipping products for dozens of clients, then an interactive 3D map of your warehouse might be exactly the streamlining tool you've been looking for from asset tracking to optimizing the assembly of orders.

Create an Accurate Representation of Space and Shelves

The first thing that a 3D map can do for your warehouse and logistics facility is to accurately represent it. This is the simplest and most basic use of a 3D map because it is the map itself. Concept3D will study your facility from top to bottom and include every detail they can identify. The more accurately your facility is represented, the more you can do with the map when it is complete. Every shelf will be perfectly recreated, along with the loading bay, offices, storage closets, doors to other rooms, and emergency resources mounted to the walls.

Building a Virtual-Locational Inventory

From there, you can build your entire inventory into the shelves, marking the location and possibly even choosing from a few optional visual assets to use as representations of product on shelves. As they are gathering the renderings, this is a great opportunity to put RFID chips on your assets. So the assets data can get integrated into the map as its being built.  Rather than simply referencing the shelf letter and number, or whatever your current referential sorting system is, you will be able to digitally represent the exact location of a stocked item in a way that no one will be able to confuse.

With the right software, you can move assets from one place to another easily, register and place a new asset and its location, and even track things that have not been shelved yet like palettes waiting on the loading dock. Likewise, you can also easily note the location of new packages or shipments that have been assembled and are waiting for transport.

Use Sensors to Track Specific Assets

In almost every warehouse, there are at least a few things that should be tracked individually. High priced products in limited stock are often tracked one at a time to ensure that shrinkage doesn't occur with your best inventory. And with 3D mapping technology, you can do more than just read every barcode that passes through. You can easily add RFID tags, customized barcodes, or even radio transmitters to track the important stock in the warehouse.

Live Update Vehicle and Access Locations

Asset tracking is also highly useful for your own equipment inside the facility. Unfortunately, constantly being in a hurry can also lead to these useful assets being left in random locations throughout your huge warehouse facility, making them more difficult to find and use when needed.

Using sensors to track your key facility assets can ensure that nothing is ever lost in the aisles where it was last used. Instead, your staff will be able to check on the tracking signal of asset they need, then go straight to the closest one instead of losing minutes to aisle scanning.

Use Apps to Quickly Find Items

One of the best things about building a 3D map of your facility with the right team is access to a mobile app that integrates your facility design with the needs of your staff. In a warehouse, the biggest concern is helping staff find and retrieve the items they need quickly. When this involves running down miles of shelved aisles, just sourcing items can be a pretty big task, and one you don't want to get lost in the midst of.

A 3D map hooked into your inventory location system can not only tell staff members where the item they need is, it can show them. By tracking the location of your team member's mobile devices, the app can pinpoint where they are in relation to what they're looking for and clearly depict which shelf, level, and precise spot the item they need to retrieve is stored.

 

Plot a 'Navigation' Path for Fastest Order Assembly

But even more powerful than locating one item at a time is he navigation feature of many 3D map applications. Being able to retrieve the items on the find and then ship items quickly is the heart of every warehouse. 3D mapping will make you be able to not only locate the item but send it even quicker with 

If a staff member requests the location of several items at once, a well-designed wayfinding program can guide them through the most efficient retrieval path. This is the ultimate tool for streamlining staff time by preventing aisle wondering, doubling-back, and accidentally taking the long path around the shelves.

Wayfinding

Highlight Location of Key Resources

Finally, a 3D map and interactive application can also help your staff outside of the normal routine. Every commercial workspace has a few key resources like the fire extinguisher, first aid kit, security phone, and so on. While you may not need these things every day, it is vital to know where they are if something unexpected or unfortunate happens. From a bad finger cut on a jagged shelf edge to a small electrical fire, it may be necessary for staff to find these assets under stress and when they don't remember the precise location in your large warehouse facility.

Your 3D map can be loaded with dozens of unique locations that can be called up on request. Your staff can easily highlight the first aid kit, the bathrooms, the exits, or the fire extinguisher among anything else you'd like to make easy to find with the tap of a smartphone screen.

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An interactive 3D map has an incredible amount to offer to a logistics service or business warehouse, and the bigger your facility, the better. Take advantage of technology that is already benefitting customer-facing facilities in order to streamline your processes and make life a lot easier for your hard-working staff. For more information about how to build your 3D map and logistics app, contact us today!

Topics: wayfinding, Interactive Mapping, Logistics, Warehouse

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