December 17, 2022 – 01:01
Supply chain, logistics and distribution have changed tremendously in the last five years. Competition among manufacturing, distribution and e-commerce companies has become fierce. The increase in demand to meet the explosion of electronic commerce required more efficient distribution centers, leading to automated systems for handling products in logistics companies. Technology is essential in high-speed times like year-end parties.
Automation, along with a robust Warehouse Management System (WMS), is the logical way to improve any warehousing operation. Here are five reasons why automating your warehouse and distribution center operations will drive greater efficiency and improve the customer experience.
Labor Challenges. Labor challenges continue in the distribution sector. The pandemic-fueled explosion of e-commerce has exacerbated the workforce shortage. The shortage is not limited to front-line positions such as pickers, packers, crane operators and maintenance technicians, it is also difficult to find competent supervisors, and above all it is difficult to retain trained personnel. These labor issues are anticipated to continue in the future.
Automation helps in solving various challenges and costs related to labor shortage. Whether you have little or no automation in your warehouse or you’ve already begun your digital transformation, new and properly implemented automation helps your employees and operations in a number of ways.
First, automation can perform basic tasks that employees prefer not to do. The latest generation of warehouse robotics is designed to work closely with employees for safer and more efficient operations. Reduction in circulation reduces personal injury and product risk. Other areas such as customer service, billing and routine tasks can also be improved through structured data in robotic process automation (RPA). RPA mimics human movements on a computer to perform daily tasks more efficiently and with fewer errors.
Second, automation reduces the need for additional labor that must be recruited, hired, trained and maintained in order for the business to continue to grow. Giving people the tools they need to operate safely and efficiently saves on the overall cost of operations. High performing employees are more likely to be retained.
the limits of space. There are many ways to save space in operations through automation and technology. For better utilization of the space in the pallet warehouse, cranes and swings can be installed to access the trucks. Narrower gondolas increase storage density, which increases productivity exponentially.
Automation tools can reduce the overall footprint of a facility. Storage systems for products for people make use of the installation’s convenience and available vertical space. This use of additional space allows more inventory to be stored in less space, making employees more productive. Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) allow for automated palletizing, achieving greater benefits, such as better use of free vertical access space, greater product safety, and greater efficiency without sacrificing accuracy.
Productivity. Workers spend about 70% of the time traversing the warehouse in a manual warehouse. In other words, they only have 30% of the time left to choose from value-added activities. Automation makes operations more productive by reducing the time employees spend walking into the warehouse. Robots can work continuously for long periods of time. They do not need to rest or eat and they are not absent either. Robots can perform non-stop tasks increasing productivity and accuracy.
Automation combined with the right software increases productivity. One example that WMS solutions provide is direct storage. In a manual warehouse, the storage crane must find a suitable location to store the product. As the catch fills in, it becomes increasingly difficult and less efficient. Direct Save uses a system that indicates free space saving time and frustration.
Security. Repetitive work can cause personnel tendinitis and bursitis over time. Automating repetitive tasks in warehouses and offices reduces employee fatigue and the risk of accidents or injury. Replacing manual cranes with autonomous vehicles reduces congestion and creates a safer warehouse.
customer service. Customers demand better service now more than ever. They want to order what they want, when they want, from any device and all fast! Not to mention its importance during gift giving times like end of the year parties. Adding automation to your distribution operation helps streamline it and enables you to deliver products and services to customers faster and more cost-effectively. Automation helps achieve consistency by reducing errors, increasing customer satisfaction, reducing returns, and streamlining shipments.
When asked about the benefits of having automation in warehouses and distribution centers, Brendan Breen, president of the US Supply Industry Association, commented: “Distribution centers are fertile ground for automation. The combination of a challenging job market, highly structured repetitive tasks , and the pressure for higher margins make it an excellent choice for companies looking to become more competitive.”
Warehouse automation will fundamentally change the way people store and the number of people in warehouses and distribution centers. Robots will take over many of the tasks of operating the crane, leaving employees to focus on innovation and better ways to serve customers. Inventory cycle counting tasks will be replaced by Radio Frequency Identifiers (RFID), allowing the entire distribution center to be counted in real time with consistent accuracy.
Automation helps at all levels of operation. This is the future. Doubtful companies will be removed.