According to recent data, the average size of a company’s warehouse is 181,370 sq ft, with the trend of building larger warehouses growing year after year. In addition, 87% of industry decision-makers plan to expand their organizations’ warehouses by 2024.
Warehousing is a complex endeavor as it entails an abundance of diverse operations, inventory tasks, and goods management and distribution processes. Luckily for managers and workers alike, tech innovations offer solutions to ease, simplify, and speed up warehousing processes – from the moment the inventory enters the warehouse until it leaves.
This article will be helpful to anyone who wishes to scale their warehouse management processes and significantly upgrade their warehousing performance while saving time and resources. Read on to discover how you can use the latest automation technologies to get the most out of your warehouse management.
What is Warehouse Automation?
- What is Warehouse Automation?
- Ten Best Warehouse Automation Technologies
Automation goes beyond optimizing and streamlining manual tasks. Many organizations actually adopt automation across their operations to support and facilitate their teams’ processes.
Warehouse automation signifies replacing repetitive tasks with automated systems to eliminate laborious and time-consuming duties. By automating warehouse processes, workers can focus on more valuable, creative tasks.
Besides, warehouse automation helps minimize errors, boosts efficiency, increases inventory accuracy, lowers labor costs, and improves worker safety.
Generally, warehouse automation splits into two types – digital automation and physical automation.
Digital automation implies employing software and electronics to facilitate manual processes and thus reduce reliance on manual labor. An example of digital warehousing is a tracking inventory system.
Physical automation, on the other hand, relies on automation equipment to minimize or completely eliminate worker labor. Vehicles and machines used to transfer goods within a warehouse are an example of physical warehouse automation.
Ten Best Warehouse Automation Technologies
1 .Collaborative Robots
For most warehouse workers, robotic process automation embodies the end of work and, thus, something to fear and resist.
Yet, Logisticsmgmt‘s data reveal that 54% of businesses plan to increase investments in training to retain and boost careers for valued workers.
These include technical training in managing collaborative robots, i.e., cobots. Cobots work side-by-side with human workers and therefore minimize errors and improve operational speed and efficiency.
Cobots are found across warehouse operations, from packing to palletizing warehouse goods.
2. Automated Storage & Retrieval Systems
AS/RS assist in storing and retrieving warehouse goods by relying on established routes. These systems consist of cranes, shuttles, vertical lift modules and other machines, all designed to get goods automatically.
Automated storage and retrieval systems minimize the need for human workers, decrease labor costs, improve picking accuracy, and maximize space utilization.
G2’s findings suggest that automated storage and retrieval systems support on-time delivery of orders, which is an important factor in making customers happy and satisfied.
Modula automation offers solutions to optimize your warehouse space with vertical lift modules and horizontal carrousels to leverage the maximum of warehouse space.
3. Predictive Maintenance
Predictive maintenance is a well-known AI concept, referring to the process of monitoring equipment to detect potential defects. The purpose of this technology is to prevent equipment failure by automatically scheduling corrective maintenance.
Integrating predictive maintenance software enables warehouses to operate with less downtime, improved workplace safety, and increased equipment lifespan.
4. Pick-to-Light Systems
Pick-to-light systems are an order-fulfillment technology that uses barcodes and LED lights to guide workers in locating the correct items.
The system light is up the shelves where goods are stored and thus reveals the items’ location to the employees. Pick-to-light’s goal is to improve productivity by allowing workers to locate items faster.
5. Put-to-Light Systems
Put-to-Light systems work in reverse, i.e., they guide warehouse workers during the replenishment stage. These systems use lights to direct operators to the location where they should put the items to.
In put-to-light systems, workers scan an order barcode upon which rack-mounted lights display where the goods should be stored.
Both pick-to-light and put-to-light warehouse automation systems raise productivity, enhance picking accuracy and downsize training costs.
6. Industrial IoT
The Industrial Internet of Things, i.e., IIoT, entails a network of connected devices in an industrial setting, such as warehouse management systems, predictive maintenance software, and automated guided vehicles.
IIoT allows different systems, equipment, and software to mutually share information and improve efficiency.
The benefits of automating warehouse processes with the Industrial Internet of Things include greater productivity, lower costs, and better decision-making.
7. Voice Picking
Voice picking uses voice technology to assist workers in completing warehousing tasks. Through verbal commands, these systems direct workers where to retrieve goods and in which quantity.
These warehouse automation systems improve operational accuracy, productivity, and safety.
8. Autonomous Mobile Robots
Autonomous mobile robots are specialized to address high-volume and high-labor requirements. AMRs use artificial intelligence and sensors to navigate through the warehouse independently.
Some AMR systems move around the warehouse and meet with workers, whereas others use vacuums and trays to pick boxes.
9. Automated Guided Vehicles
Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are self-guided vehicles that move across the warehouse with an onboard operator.
AVGs can transport goods over long distances and offer better scalability.
10. Fleet Management Systems
Fleet management refers to the monitoring and management of vehicles to ensure maximum productivity while reducing operational costs.
These systems collect and analyze data from gadgets mounted on vehicles, including speed, engine run time, and fuel usage.
Fleet management systems leverage the gathered data to track vehicle activity, protect the organization’s equipment, and supervise maintenance services.