As technology becomes more innovative. Every industry will benefit from the intelligent and autonomous machines that are being invented. The industries that need manual labor can essentially incorporate robots into their work environments. Because they can carry out difficult jobs. The warehouse robotics industry is certainly one of them!
According to U.S. research Data from the Census Bureau, the average warehouse worker spends nearly seven weeks a year in unnecessary movement, costing more than $4.3 billion in labor. Warehouse Robotics can certainly help workers perform their jobs easily. But their benefits extend way beyond employee benefits. Big organizations can make use of robotics in their inventories and stores to increase profits and customer relations.
Before we dive into the reasons why industries are slowly transitioning into warehouse automation. We need to delve into the term itself and what it really offers organizations.
Whenever you hear the term “warehouse automation”, you should instantly think of the usage of automated systems and specialist equipment to perform repetitive tasks. Without requiring the direct involvement of warehouse staff i.e. human resources. Whether this is the utilization of automated storage systems, transport vehicles, or sorting systems. As long as it gets the job done without needing direct human involvement, it’s part of warehouse automation.
At the heart of this automation is a Warehouse Control System (WCS) This system directs and controls the entire automation process by allocating tasks and dispatching information/directives to the machines.
The Case For Warehouse Automation
In an industrial landscape, warehouses are full of unskilled and semi-skilled labor that performs repetitive tasks that are crucial to the workflow. but we also can submit these tasks to automated systems and equipment suited to those very specific roles.
This includes jobs such as transporting goods, picking/loading products, packaging items, or labeling items. All tasks are mundane and take up manpower hours.
The case might be that automation is an attempt to get rid of human labor but that isn’t the case. Especially because these systems are designed with the hopes of supporting warehouse workers while they carry out routine work rather than replacing them entirely. The idea is to engage automation systems in roles such as product conveyors. Or to help establish a system that will help workers to keep track of inventory and schedule inspections/tune-ups in advance.
At the end of the day, the vision is to create a system that isn’t draining on human resources. Also helps to achieve organizational goals at a quicker pace.
Let’s discuss the major points that show why businesses must consider warehouse robotics in their future strategies.
Warehouses are huge, meaning workers walk long distances to find SKUs and take orders to package and shipment areas. Excess walking is not only costly. Also, it can slow down the efficiency of your warehouse associates during their shifts. Robots are made for traveling long distances and approaching inaccessible areas.
Collaborative robots or cobots help accelerate activities by using AI and machine learning to optimize picking routes, reducing unwanted walking. Collaborative robots also make order fulfillment more efficient by helping with order picking by guiding employees through each task. The long walks between stages of the picking process become easier by collaborative robots. Further increasing unnecessary travel through the warehouse. Thus by increasing the productivity of workers, warehouse businesses can double their production.
Easy And Flexible Investment
Flexibility is one of the greatest benefits of collaborative robots. Some robot solutions, for example, give warehouse operators the choice to rent, purchase or do both. In times of normal demand, some businesses choose to purchase ample collaborative robots to meet their needs and hire additional robots when demand increases. That means warehouses can avoid investing significantly in automation solutions that will cover periods of peak demand. Alternatively, warehouse operators should restrict investments in capital to requirements to meet typical demand.
Collaborative robots can be easily transferred to other facilities thanks to their mobility. This allows more efficient use of resources for multi-site warehouse operations. It also makes the warehouse more efficient, reduces costs to support, and helps keep compliance with SLA.
Reduction of Human Error
For a store, human error can be costly. Sending the wrong order can damage customer relationships and increase return rates and demands for a refund. Essentially, all this can hurt the overall revenues and profits.
Collaborative robots, designed to incorporate AI and machine learning make quick decisions. Also, help to manage multiple tasks more effectively during a single trip to the warehouse floor. In addition, collaborative robots can guide your staff members through tasks. So, the likelihood of human error is also minimized.
There are several ways you can improve your warehouse operations by collaborative robots. Collaborative robots will boost your employees ‘ health, boost productivity. Ultimately help save money and maximize profits. So what is your strategy to make good use of the new robotic technology?
If you’re still not convinced with the idea of warehouse robotics, then the next part is ought to get you excited to undertake the process of automation within your organization.
Automated Warehouses Are The Future!
The global giant Coca-Cola is one of the many companies that have jumped onto the warehouse automation train, with a fully automated warehouse set up in their EMEA region.
This top-notch, highly sophisticated facility houses over 25,000 pallet locations and design accommodates on-site storage amongst other models for expansion. The focus with these warehouses is to cut down on logistical issues when shipping stock to local warehouses and instead focusing on such warehouses that can manage the entire workflow for the company.
Amazon is another example, with its fulfillment centers set up all across the world that deploy a certain amount of automation within their warehouses. It was through this rather strategic setup in multiple continents that Amazon was able to set itself up as an online retailer giant.
The FedEx SuperHub is another rather remarkable facility that keeps FedEx connected to any points across the globe. A recent estimate stated that the conveyor belts within these warehouses span over 300 miles and support over 3 million packages daily JUST through the Memphis International Airport!
The shoe geniuses Nike have also set up their “Distribuzione”; an automated warehouse for the European region that holds over 25,000 stock keeping units i.e. SKUs (in simpler words, individual products) while handling over 40 million items each year.
Zappos is probably one of the most impressive cases out of these since it had gained popularity for delivering products within 24 hours of purchase. It was through the automated warehouse system they had set up that Zappos grew exponentially and was ultimately able to get $1.2 billion from Amazon for their services. Their warehouses utilize automated systems to improve not just efficiency but also ensure that shipping does not hold for too long.
Future Of Automation
In a world where transformation is key, there is the need to change with the times and incorporate newer technologies to compete within the market while also achieve targets that might have seemed rather inconceivable in earlier times.
Through the incorporation of warehouse automation, organizations can look at the massive growth in shorter time periods and an overall improvement in their efficiency. If this wasn’t enough, then you also have the added incentive of allocating manpower resources to other areas of the organization and creating new products that you just didn’t have the people for before.
At the end of the day, warehouse automation opens up a wide array of possibilities while helping your organization grow beyond your wildest imaginations.