Intralogistics as an area for automation in companies

What is intralogistics?

Intralogistics, also known as internal logistics, is the logistics sector responsible for the transport of goods and information within a specific segment of an enterprise, such as a warehouse. This term was first used in 2004 and is quite well-known among owners of companies involved in the flow or storage of goods. Intralogistics is becoming an increasingly recognizable concept in the global market, and companies focusing on improving intralogistics processes are achieving greater success.

This article defines the concept of internal logistics, describes the processes it includes, and provides examples of popular solutions for improving the intralogistics system within enterprises.

Intralogistics – definition of the term

The primary task of intralogistics is the organization of the flow of products, semi-finished products, and components within an enterprise. Additionally, it includes the circulation of related information. Internal logistics pertains to all activities associated with the transportation of products within a company – starting from the production line or the receipt of goods, and ending with their preparation for shipment. It is important to emphasize that intralogistics also includes product traceability and management.

Intralogistics is applicable not only in typical manufacturing companies but also in distribution or warehouse centers.

In manufacturing companies, intralogistics focuses on supplying components and semi-finished products for production and on transporting finished products to a designated place in the warehouse where they await shipment. Subsequently, the order is assembled and sent to the final customer.

Distribution centers handle the receipt of goods from suppliers as well as the assembly and shipment of orders to customers. The transport of goods in such places must be fast and error-free to meet customer expectations.

Although intralogistics solutions are used only for processes occurring within an enterprise, they are also influenced by external factors such as demand and supply of goods. Proper product rotation, quality controls, correct order assembly, and optimal warehouse utilization are fundamental to the proper functioning of a company’s logistics system and contribute to a higher level of customer service, which is the goal of every enterprise.

What processes are included in intralogistics?

The most important areas of intralogistics are processes related to the internal transport of goods, aiming to optimally organize production and storage, as well as order fulfillment.

This area includes:

  • moving goods within departments inside the company,
  • storing goods in a specified place and time,
  • retrieving goods from the warehouse and preparing them for shipment,
  • activities related to warehouse receipt and issuance.

Information flow processes related to inventory management can also be classified as part of intralogistics.

These are:

  • information about incoming orders,
  • demand and supply forecasts,
  • information about current inventory levels,
  • information on current stock levels

It is also important to remember warehouse management processes, such as receiving, storing, issuing goods, and the circulation of information connected to these processes. These elements are fundamental components of intralogistics.

This includes:

  • changes in inventory levels,
  • processes of moving goods within the warehouse,
  • optimization of warehouse space utilization,
  • integration of the warehouse with IT systems for faster information flow.

What technologies are used in modern intralogistics?

The progress of digitization and the dynamic development of robotics that we have witnessed in recent years have enabled enterprises to carry out logistics processes in a more efficient manner. In recent years, warehouse or production management has focused on automation, robotization, and system integration. Currently, the most important and commonly used solutions are:

  • internal flow of product automation,
  • warehouse space robotization,
  • Warehouse Management Systems (WMS),
  • integration of warehouse and production processes

Automation of internal product flow

Automating the internal flow of products is a key component of modern production and warehouse management systems. By leveraging advanced technologies such as automated conveyors, robots, and sorters, significant improvements in internal transportation processes can be achieved. Automating logistic processes eliminates many manual operations, reducing the risk of errors while increasing efficiency and precision.

Robotization of the warehouse space

A breakthrough moment in the development of warehouse management was the introduction of robots into warehouses. By employing warehouse robots such as autonomous forklifts, sorting robots, and systems for automatic storage, retrieval, and palletization, significant acceleration and improvement of storage, order picking, and internal transportation processes are possible. Additionally, the use of robots assists workers in performing repetitive tasks, reducing the human labor input in the warehousing process.

IT warehouse management systems

A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is a solution designed to control and streamline processes occurring in warehouses. Its main task is to manage the flow of goods and provide visibility into the entire history of product locations. WMS greatly facilitates tasks related to receiving goods, picking, and preparing them for shipment. The Warehouse Management System enables better control over warehouse management processes.

Integration of warehouse and production processes

Modern supply chain management relies on the integration of production, warehouse, and accounting systems within the enterprise. The flow of goods within the company is continuously recorded in an information system that integrates various logistical processes. Through this system, it is possible to accurately track and record the quantity, quality, and location of goods in the warehouse or production department. The collaboration of the information system with industrial automation devices enables automatic sorting, internal transportation of products, or order picking.

Summing up…

Automated and robotized intralogistics solutions bring many benefits to the companies that utilize them. A key element for the proper functioning of such systems is the integration of industrial automation systems with information systems. Implementing devices tailored to the specific needs of a given enterprise allows for reducing operational costs and increasing efficiency. The use of robots enhances precision in processes and relieves employees. Companies that effectively implement automation in intralogistics processes become more competitive, manage resources better, minimize errors, and increase customer satisfaction.

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