Before we start explaining warehouse automation, it is good for us to understand the meaning of warehouse automation. A warehouse is a building that is meant for the depository and storage of goods. Automation is the process in which technology is used to perform tasks with slight human arbitration. Warehouse automation is whereby technological or automated systems are introduced to reduce monotonous tasks.
In this article, we are going to discuss all that entails warehouse automation, its types, benefits, and also the limitations that come with it. Before we begin to break it down some people may ask themselves, one may first want to know the signs that make one know they need to automate their warehouse. Here are questions one should ask themselves to see if their warehouse needs automation:
- Do you experience delays due to the constriction of staff workers?
- Are you currently witnessing a decrease in your order of goods?
- Do you still depend on outdated software and the use of a spreadsheet for management?
- Are you currently experiencing complaints from clients concerning the servicing of your goods?
If your answer is (Yes) in correspondence with the above, you need to automate your warehouse.
First, we are going to discuss the several types of warehouse automation:
This is where technological systems are used to identify and arrange goods in a prescribed sequence, then sent processing.
USE OF DRONES.
The drone is technically a flying robot, that is usually remote-controlled. In warehouses, it is used mostly for inventory counts and also in overseeing goods or items that need restocking.
procedures are mainly done by cranes and automated vehicles that move around the warehouse. They sort items or goods and restock goods to their respective shelves.
As we have seen the machines in restocking of goods. In that, when automated restocking is being carried out it prevents stock loss and overstocking.
This is a technological system in which ‘voice’ is incorporated with technology, to help in ease of communication between pickers and taskers. This is mainly done through headsets.
This is whereby machines are made to bring goods to the workers for packaging. It reduces the heavy carrying of goods for the workers. This process is mainly performed by cranes and automated vehicles.
We shall now proceed to list the benefits of warehouse automation, which are multitudinous:
INCREASE IN PRODUCTIVITY.
Due to great efficiency in the running of the warehouse, and the easement work. Goods are highly produced.
Machines accidents are a very rare occurrence since machines are technically controlled. This has aided the occurrence of injuries in warehouses since there is slight human arbitration.
GREATER CLIENT SATISFACTION.
With a lack of warehouse automation, we tend to see a lot of errors occurring and the quality of goods is reduced, hence leading to client dis factory and complaints. But with technological systems in place the quality of goods is improved hence great client satisfaction.
LESS STRAIN AND FATIGUE FOR WORKERS.
With automated systems in place, human labor has been reduced. And this helps workers not to be too tired and leads to great work improvement and efficiency from the workers.
REDUCTION OF OPERATION COSTS.
This I can say is one of its biggest advantages since t e opening costs might somehow stretch one’s budget but greater outcomes are seen in the long run. Warehouse automation decreases the need for human labor and tends to increase hours of organizational operation by using the best CMMS software.
ACCURACY AND SPEED.
With machines, goods are produced efficiently and in good time, hence no delay is witnessed. Machines save time compared to human labor, making work accurate and efficient.
When choosing warehouse automation, of your company’s budget limits and also future goals. And with this, we are going to briefly discuss the levels of warehouse automation.
- Basic automation-this is where there are the use of scanners and printed papers
- System automation-Here is where voice is incorporated into the technology. Use of mobile radio frequency and headsets.
- Mechanized automation-Mostly we see the use of conveyors.
- Advanced Automation-Just as the name suggests it is more advanced. Here we see the use of robots and automatic sorters.
Although the many benefits of warehouse automation, some challenges come with the following are some of the disadvantages of warehouse automation:
LARGE CAPITAL INVESTMENT
Automation requires the opening cost to be quite expensive since as we have explained to you its advantages are seen in the long run. Also, we tend to find that the cost of maintenance is high, as when machines break down it takes a high cost to repair them.
DISPLACEMENT OF WORKERS.
As we have seen machines do most of the work, hence human labor is greatly influenced. This has led to many workers losing their jobs which are their source of income and highly leads to emotional distress for the workers.
This means that once some of the old systems are disassembled they can’t be installed again.
REQUIREMENT OF HIGH TECHNICAL SKILLS.
Since machines are new and expensive, the workers have to undergo full technical training, to clearly understand how to go about the new systems. This, of course, is a long process and you find that some of the employees tend to resign.
For one to effectively be able to deal with the challenges listed above, then they need to implement the following best practices:
- Prioritizing your safety-this is best done by the installation of surveillance cameras.
- Less rely on manual input- As usual human is to error, we use tools to aid us in being efficient. A system is required to maintain records for all inventory.
- Tracking of vending operations-this is to ensure pure efficiency of your goods.
- Always be prepared for emergencies-this is key since machines can easily break down, so one should always have some money aside in case of such alerts.
Warehouse automation is nice and improved hence a lot of benefits. It helps businesses scale quickly through the automation of complex tiresome processes. Businesses also stay ahead of their competition through quality service delivery. You can check out this limblecmms.com for more insights on warehouse automation.