An automated warehouse system is a formidable tool that can help improve productivity, precision, and reliability while saving you on the costs of labor. According to Inbound Logistics, costs of labor account for about 65 percent of the operating budgets of most warehouses. With this in mind, automated warehouse systems can be a game game-changer when it comes to reducing labor costs.
Also, Supply Chain Management Review shows that long-term costs can be considerably reduced through an automated warehouse system. Understanding what an automated warehouse system is can help you remain competitive and profitable in a market that is driven by considering the demand for rapid fulfillment.
What Is Warehouse Automation?
Warehousing is full of tasks that are repetitive, process-oriented, and prone to human error like documentation, packing, receiving, and shipping. At its core, this involves pinpointing regular tasks and looking for innovative ways to automate them. In a warehouse setting, this can entail using a warehouse automation system to achieve process and/or physical automation.
Physical automation integrates the use of robotic systems, like goods-to-person (GTP) technology, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). Process automation, on the other hand, involves gathering inventory data and incorporating this into a database system. Process automation uses a barcode wireless scanning system to track and input data. Then, the data is sent to a centralized repository where you can retrieve it using a software system.
Benefits of Warehouse Automation
Automated warehouse system offers a lot of benefits, some of which include:
- Maximizing space layout, flow, and utilization in the warehouse
- Reducing the cost of labor and other operating expenses
- Increasing the efficiency, productivity, and accuracy of workers while reducing headcount
- With data at your disposal, you can ensure prompt delivery due to superior packing and shipping efficiency
- You can avoid the total depletion of stock because the system will automatically re-order goods immediately after it reaches a pre-defined threshold.
- Automated inventory tracking and data collection from the arrival of the items to shipping, significantly minimizing inventory loss, misplacement, or shrinkage.
- Superior goods tracking and inventory control utilizing automated storage and retrieval systems
How Do You Automate a Warehouse?
The best warehouse automation solution mainly depends on your business goals and budget. Due to the higher upfront costs of an automated warehouse system, physical automation may only offer the appropriate ROI for high-volume warehouse operations and bigger distribution centers. Also, because physical automation improves or directly builds upon existing processes, you may want to start by examining which digital automation components to embrace and build upon from there.
Generally, you will want to start with an illustrative sample of internal stakeholders who have the expertise on the current capabilities, performance, and challenges of the current warehouse and understanding existing gaps in technology. They will evaluate how you are currently collecting data and analyze your current inventory control.
At this point, you will draw up Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to evaluate the impact of an automated warehouse system. Moving forward, you can start implementing your Warehouse Management System (WMS) to begin monitoring the progress of the solution as it occurs.
Automation warehouse solutions can be integrated on several levels, so it is vital to rely on an experienced and reputable partner. For more information about automated warehouse systems for your business, contact Cornerstone Automation Systems; let's have a conversation.