Contrary to popular belief, automation does not mean that robots take over or steal jobs from people.
To make warehouse tasks more efficient and safer, companies use the ability and accuracy of machines that can work for hours without interruption.
Some warehouse automation devices cover everything from unloading trailers to fulfilling orders, but people are still a crucial part of the process.
When it comes to warehouse management, there is a need for constant evaluation and adoption of critical technologies, which are essential to improve profitability and maintain competitiveness.
Automation technology involves a series of automated solutions and technologies that help human workers and solve tasks (conveyors, automatic sorting machines, robots).
Why warehouse automation?
Benefits from automation have tasks that require repetitive work.
Automation in any scenario is an excellent method for completing repetitive, monotonous, and strenuous, demanding tasks.
Implementing automating technology to complete such tasks saves people from tedious work and allows them to devote time to more complex tasks.
Warehousing automation began in the mid-20th century. Back then, automation meant a conveyor belt or machine in a fixed place that repeated the same tasks.
Modern logistics nowadays come up with various solutions that want to improve warehousing operations, and thus the supply chain, aiming to meet the needs of consumers.
Today, robots and cranes are increasingly used to perform a wide range of simple and complex tasks.
The main advantages of warehouse automation
The key to successful warehouse operation is cost minimization, economical use of human resources and optimal organization of goods flows.
One of the main challenges of modern logistics chains is the constant improvement of work processes.
Modern warehouse automation technologies are more scalable and flexible than older automation solutions, such as bulky fixed conveyors.
There are many benefits to warehouse automation. Through automation in the warehousing business, more effective use of handling devices and storage space is achieved, especially in locations with limited area and in conditions of reduced temperatures.
The application of robotics in warehouses and the development of transport technologies enable more significant savings in labor costs while increasing the safety of goods and employees.
Some of the main advantages of warehouse automation are:
Lower operating costs
Reduced effort and workplace fatigue
Improved worker satisfaction
Fewer errors in the delivery of goods
Fewer injuries at work
In addition to quality production solutions, every modern production or distribution company, especially warehouses, must also have quality logistics solutions.
Warehouse managers today have a wide range of technologies to choose from to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and simplify business processes. They strive to ensure that goods, materials and products move through the warehouse as smoothly as possible, optimizing warehousing operations with a variety of technologies.
As the market and customer needs change faster, the technological solution you use in your business must be flexible and dynamic.
The goal of today's companies, small and medium-sized warehouses is to reduce productivity by reducing costs and automation.
Customers are accustomed to having the ordered goods delivered to them as soon as possible, so companies are increasingly considering investing in automation.
To fully use the advantage of the technology, you need to use it properly and have experts who will optimize the system and adapt it to your needs.
The system should help you speed up your business and make it easier.
In this blog, we will list some of the latest warehouse automation technologies used today.
6 key warehouse automation technologies to increase distribution profitability
Let’s take a look at the different types of warehouse automation, how warehouse automation works, and the primary benefits of a warehouse through the application of automation technology.
Machine-to-machine (M2M) technology
Over the past few years, Machine-to-Machine technology has dramatically evolved into more sophisticated systems that help monitor and streamline all aspects of warehouse operations automation.
Combined with Warehouse management systems (WMS), M2M systems make it easier to control all the equipment within the warehouse, which is vital for order fulfillment processes.
This technology helps gather and trade information that allows warehouse managers to check operational procedures and speed up decision-making.
Technologies for optimizing order fulfillment
Any warehouse that wants to improve its business should consider introducing the latest order fulfillment technologies to the market.
Various technological solutions are available to increase the accuracy and productivity of the warehouse.
There are two leading solutions: "Pick-to-Light" and "Put-to-Light".
These innovative technologies help automate warehouse processes and offer more efficient and cheaper solutions compared to manual selection methods.
Pick-to-Light - paperless order picking system
The pick-to-light system uses bar codes and LED lights to improve productivity and enable faster item finding and order accuracy, and reduce the possibility of picking up the wrong goods. They are very flexible, and the technology can plan, control and analyze the volume of selected orders.
Pick to Light is the fastest and most accurate way to distribute highly sold to ultra sold products with short to medium-long shelf life.
The main reason for using this system is its simplicity. These systems use specific light screens that guide storage operators to the locations where the products are located.
The devices are manually placed on the locations with the goods (shelves, workstations) and they show the type and quantity of goods to be picked up.
Pick-to-light systems reduce unnecessary paperwork and avoid writing down seized goods on paper.
Advantages of the Pick-to-Light system
Precision in work
Sort products or orders in real-time
Reduced costs of unnecessary paperwork
Faster fulfillment of customer orders
This technology helps operators decide how and where to deploy products within the warehouse. Put-to-Light systems are beneficial when it comes to the bulk material.
The technology is ideal for retail warehouses dealing with clothing, sports equipment, personal care products, food and groceries.
Advantages of the Put-to-Light system
Ability to sort orders at high speed
Lower operating costs
It is ideal for smaller but consistent daily orders
It takes up less space
As new storage technologies evolve, Pick-to-Light and Put-to-Light systems adapt to the design to combine the durability needed to work in different storage environments.
The result is a technology you can rely on to meet your distribution needs.
Storage robotics technology
New robotics technologies have become one of the most sought-after storage management technologies.
Leading manufacturers work with warehouse management system providers to create custom software and robots to help move, store, and sort inventory.
Investing in storage robotics technology will be of great benefit. By increasing order quantity, product number, personalized order packaging, and fast delivery requirements, robotic solutions will help you respond effectively to increased workload and perform more tasks with less work and lower costs.
Advantages of storage robotics
Reduced operating and labor costs
Reducing security incidents
Robots should be viewed as a tool and like any other new technology that brings numerous benefits, through increased capacity or cost control.
Investing in new technology helps you stay relevant on the market, raises competitiveness, expands business and secures employment in the future.
Voice assignment technology
It is a hands-free technology that uses voice commands to select, store, receive, replenish and ship goods. It is very similar to RF (Radio Frequency) technology and is a flexible choice for fulfilling orders.
Voice control commissioning software is used to improve productivity, accuracy and security in warehouses, stores.
This technology is cheaper and more flexible and enables significantly higher productivity and faster return on investment than other automated solutions.
Advantages of voice assignment technology
Requires less worker training
Better system control
Data analysis and communication is real-time
Higher return on investment (ROI)
How to manage the work of employees?
A work management system helps employers gain insight into the workforce and improve productivity. It helps them to plan work, manage employee time, control labor costs, and improve efficiency.
A good work management system automates processes, eliminates paperwork and reduces monotonous tasks, allowing employees to focus on getting the job done.
To effectively manage and control operational costs, managers often have to invest in worker management technologies.
Measuring productivity can be challenging, but in combination with warehouse management systems, labor costs can be easily reduced.
The following guidelines can help you improve the performance of warehouse employees:
depending on their tasks, area of work and the challenges they face, set concrete and realistic goals for all employees
provide feedback, motivate them and monitor their work and progress
check employee job satisfaction and job security
Worker training is also a critical part of warehouse management. Innovative technology to consider using is a learning management system to help warehouse operators educate regularly.
What does the future of warehouse management technologies bring?
Using automation solutions for warehouses can increase productivity and accuracy, reduce labor costs, and improve security.
In the next few years, we will see more automation and an increase in the number of robots in warehouses. Technology makes many storage processes more efficient.
Robots' efficiency and intelligence will undoubtedly be influenced by further technological development, so robots will integrate with employees and perform more complex tasks, with less necessary supervision and maintenance.
As more advanced technology is introduced in the warehousing and logistics sector, warehouse managers and companies need to keep up with the latest innovations.
Upcoming technologies, such as Pick-to-Vision, electronic data interchange and drone use, will soon become indispensable in the industry. Implementing the right technologies will be the key to the smooth operation of warehouses and supply chains.
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