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Technology shaping the future of our supply chains

Since early March, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc in our daily lives. Now as businesses are slowly easing themselves and their employees back into work, many have made changes to make the launch into the workplace seem more amenable despite the ongoing risks.

Responding to social distancing rules and track and trace systems, business are quickly responding with radical new technologies, which implement methods to keep staff safe.

In an attempt to adapt operations to a new normal, many warehouses are now investing in a variety of technologies that serve to keep employees safe, workspaces clean, and to reduce the chances of virus transmission.

Whilst facilities usually employ an automated system that monitors staff time, attendance, and rostering, many others are now implementing additional biometric measurements to control access, while also observing the health and safety of the employees within the workplace, during the current pandemic.

Contactless technology

One such example is contactless technology which also measures the temperature of staff as they begin a shift and enter the workplace premises. Referred to as biometric facial and palm recognition clocks, these devices enable employers to detect any staff with a fever by identifying raised temperatures using contactless infrared sensor technology.

Reliant on high definition cameras, which can recognise the hands and faces of employees, Biometric Clocking Systems work via terminals that match unique features such as hands and faces, against data recorded in device memory.

This technology works by providing real-time alerts on-screen when raised temperatures are detected. Also scanning the temperature of visitors and vendors, Biometric technology serves to keep workplaces and employees safe and protected.


As Covid-19 spreads easily, the warehouses of the world's supply chains remain in a high-risk category for potential transmission centres for the Coronavirus. Working to eliminate this risk, a rise has occurred in automated vehicle technology. Fully remotely operated forklift trucks from companies and are currently installed in several US warehouses, as well as across premises in Europe.

Fully operational from a remote location, this technology exists to decrease - and maybe in future may wholly eradicate - the need for people to be physically present on-site and inside of service vehicles.

Allowing supply chain operations to continue efficiently and successfully, this means of teleoperation involves furnishing forklift trucks and other similar vehicles with cameras and sensors which transmit vehicle data to a separate building within which people control the vehicles.

This remote-controlled form of semi-autonomous technology allows staff to work off-site, with many believing that providing reliable communication over wireless networks, is paving the way for safer warehouse operations of the future.

Needing to employ fewer people on-site overall, equates to safer work environments, and could even serve to accelerate the development of fully autonomous vehicles of the near future.

The cloud

Cloud-based technologies have also grown in popularity since the outbreak of Covid-19. Easily accessible, without requiring any face to face interaction, again it is a technology that has enabled many businesses to continue to thrive despite lockdowns and tightening of pandemic restrictions.

Remote Implementation programmes allow for programmes, such as WMS software and data, to be onboarded globally without any physical presence required. Technology of this calibre, provides businesses with virtual support, online training and regular status updates. As long as there is an internet connection, regardless of where the warehouse is, or whatever physical access barriers may exist, cloud-technology supports the continued output delivery to clients.

Also popular, Warehouses Management Systems (WMS) offer some major advantages over the traditional on-premise solutions. Practical, uncomplicated, and accessible from anywhere, a versatile, best-of-breed, cloud-based WMS facilitates improved warehouse performance, with software upgrades normally included as standard.

Cloud technology’s main advantage is internet accessibility, meaning that wherever a facility is situated, it can be continuously supported and operations adapted from anywhere in the world. Without needing anyone to ever physically enter the premises, the transmission of the virus is greatly reduced, and business operations can continue as normal.

Prepare your facility

As the UK likely faces yet another nationwide lockdown, we can no longer be solely reliant on older physical processes of supply chain management. Processes which used to be effective in the pre-pandemic days, are no longer dependable and as a nation, we need to continue to research and begin to invest in the newest technologies which can support our needs and quickly adapt to change. To continue to be successful within the supply chain industry, remote workers, cloud-technology, and an increase in contactless monitoring of staff will ensure we can manage our health and safety, and more predictably plan for the future.

SCN can future-proof your business plans and warehouse design.

Email: Or call: 01423 815 941

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