Increased scalability, greater flexibility, streamlined efficiency, and lower costs.
From the perspective of technological development – increased scalability, greater flexibility, streamlined efficiency, and lower costs are undoubtedly the trend. Exactly why more and more logistics companies are trying to find break-through opportunities with advanced automation, robotic automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and autonomous vehicles.
Let’s take a deep dive into some of the immediate benefits.
Reduced Operational Costs
Warehouse automation can require a significant outlay at the beginning, but compared to the costs of an inefficient warehouse, the ROI is substantial. The reason for impressively quick ROI is warehouse automation offers multiple new points for savings. For example, reducing staff administration and training costs, optimizing product handling and storage costs, minimizing inventory errors, and eliminating the risk of mishandling and product loss.
Reduced Processing Time
As automation increases, processing time decreases. Robots and automated systems work quickly, tirelessly, and with few errors. Nothing can match the accuracy and relentless pace of robots. Warehouse automation systems speed up the measurement process and accurately capture dimensions, weight, and image of a package within seconds. It saves time when you need to measure thousands of parcels.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
Being able to satisfy a customers’ purchasing experience has become an important lever of differentiation. Packaging automation means faster shipping. The less time items spend in your facility, the better it is for your clients – meaning that faster shipping leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction. If a customer is not satisfied with an item, the return management process is also automated. This is an important loyalty lever. Customers who have a good return experience typically buy back from the same supplier.
Maximized Space Utilization
Smart warehouses maximize on storage space. Robots and other automated equipment substantially increase storage by reducing aisle space, as they require less space than humans need to operate. Automation also can be used to maximize previously unused vertical space in a facility, sometimes increasing storage capacity by 2x to 3x. Under the same area, the storage capacity of building an automated three-dimensional warehouse is 7x to 10x that of building an ordinary warehouse.
Reduced Picking Errors
Robots and other automated systems are well-known for their efficiency and proficiency. We know that automated picking systems have near-perfect precision and accuracy, so you won’t get slowed down by mistakes that can have a negative impact upon your customers’ experience.
Warehouse automation isn’t simply “working faster” – automation can predict and avoid bottlenecks, shortages, and surpluses. Automation systems can identify the location of items in a particular order almost instantly, and workers spend less time moving goods and re-picking. Even more, warehouse automation can speed up order fulfillment when adopting automated warehouse robots and conveyor systems. That way, your optimally efficient operation can maximize on productivity.
Increased Safety & Reliability
They don’t get tired, they don’t get distracted, and they don’t have bad days! Robotic picking systems avoid these problems by bringing products to workers instead of workers picking them up. As a result, there is less traffic of people and equipment throughout the facility, which improves the overall safety of the warehouse, especially when automation is installed to perform repetitive and/or dangerous tasks.
For the same reasons just stated, robots and other forms of automation can work consistently, every day, even 24/7 if needed. There are no surprises, no scheduling worries, no callouts, and no sick days.
Sustainability is on the agenda of almost all businesses. Implementing material handling and warehouse automation can translate into reduced energy consumption because of the high-efficiency equipment, less waste created because of more efficient operations, and, as a result, lower operating expenses and improved service.
Increased Labor Efficiency
Keep in mind that robots and other automated equipment is not tantamount to replacing all employees on the floor. Instead, automation allows the most dangerous or repetitive (boring) tasks to be done quickly, efficiently, and safely. Human laborers are able to focus on tasks requiring human thought processes. And when demand is down, machines can sit idle without a need to be reassigned or laid off.
One of the great benefits of warehouse automation solutions is that you can easily scale up and down and quickly respond to changes in consumer demand. Warehouse robots and automated systems are flexible, by running at higher capacity or for longer hours or scaling down after the holidays. When demand increases or decreases, there is no need to hire more workers or reallocate tasks.
Nothing is as certain as change for companies that rely on warehousing and distribution centers. Fortunately, highly automated warehouses are more resilient to unexpected changes. Robots aren’t affected by pandemics, political tensions, and other factors that can affect your business. Your automated equipment will be able to easily adjust to whatever the season throws at you.
Automation in the warehouse is used to streamline processes, such as receiving, returns, picking, sorting and shipping. Sources show that distribution and fulfillment industries will be exploding with new automation technology for the next decade. It’s imperative for businesses to take advantage of expanding into robotics and automation integration now.
Let’s talk and take the first step towards future-proofing your operations. Contact an IndPro specialist today to start a discussion. We’re here to help!
IndPro Services, a leader in Commercial Systems and U.S. Federal Government procurement, provides successful, efficient, data-driven solutions.
Dedicated to improving efficiency in warehouse and distribution center operations, we work on the same side of the table with you to help you procure the best possible solution for your specific application.