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Staying Ahead with Warehouse Automation

Published on
2024-07-08

Automation plays a key part in improving the efficiency of a warehouse. From picking and sortation, to barcoding, palletising and material movement, robotics are taking over to improve accuracy, reduce damages and boost productivity. As warehouses become increasingly automated enterprises in a wide range of industries are seeing the benefits of streamlined operations and a safer, more productive environment.  

In today's fast-paced world of e-commerce and retail, supply chains are under tremendous pressure to deliver more, quicker and better. Businesses must continually look for efficient ways to create competitive advantages through optimised logistics and warehouse management processes, and that is warehouse automation.

What Is Warehouse Automation?

At its core, warehouse automation combines robotics and software to streamline warehouse operations, enabling businesses to become more productive with fewer resources. Warehouse automation solutions provide the range, agility and speed necessary to meet customer expectations and handle an omnichannel approach.

Understanding how warehouse automation works and its specific applications for any business is important as automation levels can vary in different industries. There are two main categories:

  1. Automating Decision-Making Processes
    This includes the application of technology to improve workflow and decide where to store items and where to pick them from. Automated decision-making eliminates human error and enhances efficiency, contributing to a better customer experience through quicker shipping.
  2. Automating Goods Handling Processes
    This focuses on the actual transport of material within the warehouse, from the arrival of the goods to storage, order picking, packing, and dispatch. These automated processes can enhance efficiency, decrease accidents, and improve productivity.

Benefits of Implementing Warehouse Automation

If implemented correctly, warehouse automation can deliver transformative benefits for efficiency, productivity, sustainability and better customer experience. Some of the key advantages include:

  • Higher Throughput - Automation enables warehouses to handle increasing order volumes by ensuring everything is tracked, traced, and handled more efficiently.
  • Optimsed Space Utilisation - Since warehouse space is costly, automation maximises every square foot by optimising layout and enabling quick shipment processing.
  • Improved Warehouse Safety - With fewer manual tasks, there are decreased labour costs and reduced risks of injuries. This allows warehouse workers to focus on higher-value work.

When considering warehouse automation, it is important to consider the specific needs of your business. Different automation technologies are better suited to different types of operations.

Types of Warehouse Automation

From robots to automated processes, different types of warehouse automation based on various technologies can help you increase productivity by leaps and bounds.

  • Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS): These systems use machines to store and retrieve inventory, eliminating the need for human intervention.
  • Sortation Systems: These systems use conveyor belts and scanners to automatically sort and direct packages to their correct destinations.
  • Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs): These robots use navigation systems and sensors to move around the warehouse, transporting goods and supplies to and from storage locations, and are able to increase efficiency and reduce labor costs by automating tasks.
  • Cubiscan Automatic Dimensioning Systems: These systems use sensors and cameras to automatically measure the dimensions and weight of packages, allowing for accurate calculation of shipping costs and efficient storage.
  • Warehouse Management Systems (WMS): These software systems manage and control warehouse operations, including inventory management, order fulfillment, and shipping.

Looking Ahead

As customer expectations continue to rise and the logistics processes become more complex, the adoption of warehouse automation is necessary to accelerate worldwide in the coming years. By carefully evaluating your operational needs, you can implement the right automated systems to drive higher throughput, effective space usage, a safer workplace, and the ability to strategically plan for future needs, and with the right approach, it can be a valuable investment for businesses of all sizes.

If you are considering transforming your traditional warehouse into a fully automated warehouse, but are unsure where to start, contact us for expert advice. With years of experience in warehouse automation, BPS Logistics Technology can help you navigate the process and create a customised solution that meets your business needs.

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