Managing the day-to-day operations of a warehouse is no easy feat. Warehouse management tasks include keeping track of what could be hundreds to thousands of inventory, manufacturing products, managing how employees move products, shipping products to customers, and much more. It’s a tough job with a lot of pressure to perform. Especially now as Amazon teaches customers to expect two-day shipping or less.
So, how can you evolve your warehouse in an age where speed and efficiency are the keys to success? Don’t panic, the solution to your warehousing woes exists, and it’s called warehouse automation.
What Is Warehouse Automation?
According to RFgen Software, an industry leader in supply chain automation and digitization, warehouse automation “enables a warehouse operation to achieve higher outcomes with significantly less effort through the use of one or more technologies.” It uses technology to help boost your return on investment (ROI) by minimizing labor demands, strengthening accuracy, and refining your overall efficiency.
Now, you can think of it as robots invading your warehouse space (and no, the machines aren’t taking over the world one warehouse at a time), or you can think of it as data systems that use barcodes to track your inventory and more. The goal of warehouse automation is to make warehouse management easier.
Types of Warehouse Automation
RFgen Software identifies two sides to the warehouse automation coin: process automation and physical automation.
Process automation converts manual processes like the inventory data collection we mentioned earlier into digital form and incorporates that data into your software. This is also called system automation. This automation type uses barcoding and wireless barcode scanners to collect and store data that can be retrieved in the future. In other words, this can help you keep track of inventory throughout the manufacturing and shipping process.
Physical automation is more or less what you’d expect—robot and robotic system installations. It is mechanized automation that physically operates in your warehouse space. Compared to process automation, physical automation is more costly. We recommend this automation type for larger warehouse operations if you want to gain any ROI benefits. Some examples of physical automation include:
- Goods-to-person (GTP) technology
- Driverless automated guided vehicles (AGVs)
- Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)
Benefits of Using Warehouse Automation
According to RFgen Software, here are some of the areas of operation that warehouse automation can help improve:
- Decreases operating expenses, overhead, and unneeded costs from errors
- Protects the company’s assets, brand, and reputation with customers and partners
- Boosts performance and output of human resources
- Lessens manual processes and handling of stock-keeping units
- Maximizes warehouse space usage, physical arrangement, and flow
- Coordinates usages of material handling equipment, such as barcode scanners and mobile computers
Needless to say, warehouse automation has plenty of benefits. Leave the digital operations and heavy-lifting to the machines, so your warehouse staff can focus on high-value tasks. It can help you create a safer environment for your warehouse staff, avoid human error, cut costs, reduce inventory shrinkage, maximize your productivity, and make your customers happy with your service!
When Should I Consider Using Warehouse Automation?
Warehouse automation sounds amazing, right? But you might be wondering, how do you know if you need it or not? Can you survive by operating manually? Here are some symptoms that will reveal if managing your warehouse processes manually is actually hurting your organization:
- Current processes are strenuous and time-consuming
- It’s difficult to get orders out on time
- Order fulfillment is complicated to track or is inaccurate
- You’ve hired/assigned more personnel to check and recheck order accuracy
- You can’t trust your inventory levels because counts aren’t accurate
- Your customers are unhappy
If any of these apply to you, you may want to consider warehouse automation.
Looking for a Warehouse Space For Lease?
Contact us for help finding the perfect warehouse for lease in North and South Carolina! Schwarz Properties specializes in commercial and residential Property Management in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. We lead the market for industrial and warehouse spaces for lease, and our portfolio also includes retail space, restaurant space, residential, office space, and many more. Please contact Schwarz Properties at 336-485-4584 or visit our website.