In the warehouses of the largest companies in America, an alarm on a shelf or on a rack gives off a beep sound whenever an item similar to those on that rack is scanned by a store clerk somewhere else hundreds of miles away. An automated guided vehicle (AGV) then rolls onto the rack and picks up the item lowered by a vertical lift storage system (VLSS).
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A large number of e-commerce and logistics companies are realizing that they need to invest in optimization by adopting automation systems for their warehouses. More companies are learning about the numerous benefits and immense advantages they can get from automating their warehouse operations and logistics systems.
Adopting an automation system for your warehouse can yield numerous advantages for your business operations. Other companies that have implemented automation have experienced significant improvements in the areas of productivity and efficiency. Here are some of the benefits of automating your warehouse:
1. Increase Productivity And Efficiency
The first benefit you’ll get from automating your warehouse is that it will increase the productivity and efficiency of your warehouse operations. Industry experts are now convinced of the incontrovertible data proving that automation improves efficiency.
Imagine how a warehouse that isn’t automated runs on a daily basis. Each time a delivery truck brings in inventory items, these have to be unloaded and placed on their designated shelves and racks by people. They have to do this for each item one by one. This can be done with more efficiency by using automated vehicles and vertical lift systems to transport an item to its rack, lift it, and put it into place.
The automated vehicles and lifts can be programmed in such a way that they’ll bring items whose designated locations are near each other, thus saving on the time going to and from the shelves and racks. The same efficiency can be achieved in retrieving items for packaging and delivery.
2. Improve Inventory Tracking And Data Management
The second benefit you’ll gain from automating your warehouse is that it will vastly improve your inventory tracking and data management. When a warehouse is automated, all the data collected and collated from the warehouse operations can be processed and analyzed by the data management inventory tracking system of the company without the need for manual data entry.
The first problem with warehouses that even some supply chain management executives who haven’t been introduced to supply chain software optimization tend to overlook is that a warehouse that isn’t automated is like a head without a brain. It provides space for storage, but it doesn’t know what things are located where. It doesn’t even know what’s happening in one part of it unless someone writes it in a logbook.
With automation, the operating system for automated operations will act as the central information hub for recording everything that’s being put inside the warehouse and being retrieved from the shelves and racks. This information can then be accessed anyone within the company who needs it.
3. Optimize Space Usage And Revenue
The next benefit of automating your warehouse is that you’ll be able to optimize the use of your warehouse space.
In an automated warehouse, the shelves and racks can be made to reach the ceilings since people aren’t needed to go up and down to place or retrieve items as needed. This can be handled by vertical lift storage systems that automatically go up or down the shelves or racks. Once a product is retrieved, it is then placed in an automated vehicle. These vehicles are sleek and small enough to fit in between the shelves and racks.
By optimizing the use of space, the company benefits more from its warehouse facility per square foot. Doing so also raises the value of the property by increasing the revenue-generating capacity of each square foot.
4. Improve Workplace Safety
Another benefit of adopting an automated system for your warehouse operations is that it will improve workplace safety by reducing the potential occurrence of injuries.
In an automated warehouse, human labor is substantially reduced. As a result, the margin of error is significantly minimized. By reducing human error, workplace accidents are brought down to a minimum if not completely avoided. Experience has shown that automation of repetitive jobs produces better results for tasks requiring high precision, such as cutting steel bars or shaping metal sheets.
In turn, the company doesn’t have to spend as much for their workers’ healthcare insurance not only because of the reduced number of personnel but also because of the decreased risk of workplace accidents. They’ll pay lower premiums to their healthcare provider and avoid having to deal with numerous workers’ compensation claims.
5. Reduce Wages And Salaries
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between an automated guided vehicle and a human warehouse worker is that the latter will be expecting wage increases every so often. With automation and robots, employers will have fewer worries about wages and salaries.
Another benefit is that robots won’t complain if they’re made to work nonstop 24 hours a day. They won’t ask for 15-minute breaks, lunch breaks, and overtime pay if they’re made to work past 5 pm. And they aren’t entitled to graveyard shift rates if you make them work from 10 in the evening until the next morning.
More companies are realizing the numerous benefits they can gain from automating their warehouse operations. As e-commerce sales continue to increase, there’ll be more incentives for them to invest in warehouse automation systems to improve their efficiency, reduce risks, scale up their revenue generation, and bring down operations costs.