Coronado, Calif. — Rear Adm. Brad Rosen, commander, Navy Region Southwest, toured Naval Supply Systems Command’s (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) San Diego 5G smart warehouse located on Naval Air Station North Island Sept. 8.
“The 5G smart warehouse will considerably reduce processing times and fewer errors will be made. There’s huge opportunities here to harvest,” opened Capt. Cory Schemm, commanding officer, NAVSUP FLC San Diego. “You have to elevate your gaze a little to see the full potential and value capture opportunities. This will end up decreasing the resources spent in getting parts where they need to be in a more timely and accountable manner.”
This 5G smart warehouse is the first prototype assigned to the Navy to enhance and digitalize warehouse processes by leveraging state-of-the-art 5G-enabled technology. The project kicked off in December 2020 in a three-phase (12 months per phase) approach.
The visitors were shown demonstrations of each section of the warehouse starting with receiving naval aviation customer requests and ending with parts leaving the warehouse. The demonstrations showcased how the 5G network and technology will streamline parts coming and leaving the warehouse. An RFID tag will be attributed to each package in the warehouse, tracking its movements whether it be on the shelves or moving to where it needs to be via autonomous mobile robots.
With 5G, the smart warehouse has access to the latest wireless technology, offering multi-gigabit speeds with ultra-low latency. This secure wireless transport will help provide faster processing times for tagging packages, as well as being able to find them on the shelves.
“Smart storage aids, like the newly installed vertical lift modules, will decrease pick/stow inaccuracies while allowing NAVSUP FLC San Diego to decrease storage footprints by almost 90% and increasing storage capabilities by 77%” explained Steven Burrill, Naval Base Coronado 5G smart warehouse logistics program lead, NAVSUP FLC San Diego.
The working integrated product team is comprised of engineers and scientists from Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific and a program manager and supply systems analyst from NAVUSP FLC San Diego. Together, they are collaborating with Vectrus to integrate 5G enabled technologies and software application into the warehouse. In addition, the WIPT have been in discussions with Defense Logistics Agency and industry partners to apply automation lessons learned in Navy warehouses.
“Many of those warehouses are just now exploring 5G enabled automation, meaning the Navy is actually at the forefront of automation via 5G. Implementing 5G technology offers improved performance and security that existing warehouses cannot leverage with existing technology, like Wi-Fi” continued Burrill. “Preliminary performance testing of the 5G network recorded throughput values exceeding four GB per second, four times the capability of most commercial Wi-Fi networks.”
“Our project will essentially digitalize a piece of the end-to-end supply chain’’ said Burrill “effectively enhancing Naval Sustainment System-Supply efforts while improving audit compliance across the board.”
NAVSUP FLC San Diego is one of eight FLCs under Commander, NAVSUP. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, NAVSUP employs a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 25,000 military and civilian personnel. NAVSUP and the Navy Supply Corps conduct and enable supply chain, acquisition, operational logistics and Sailor & family care activities with our mission partners to generate readiness and sustain naval forces worldwide to prevent and decisively win wars. Learn more at www.navsup.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/navsup and https://twitter.com/navsupsyscom.