Warehouse automation technology—what is it, why do I need it, and how should I introduce it to my facility?
The vast majority of production lines move at a slow pace, and that won’t change just by hiring more people. Labor density isn’t the issue; it’s the quality of production. You need the right people overseeing production to prevent defective product shipments. Fortunately, there’s a solution that helps streamline this meticulous process without compromising the quality of the products—warehouse automation technology.
In this blog, we break down everything you need to know about the warehouse automation process. Our experts explain what the technology is, what it’s used for, and the types you should consider. Finally, we discuss best practices and how to adopt the right solutions.
Warehouse Automation 101—Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Warehouse Automation Solution?
In simple terms, warehouse automation is a form of technology that’s programmed to streamline tedious, labor-intensive tasks. These solutions involve applications of specialized equipment and storage and retrieval systems to perform jobs handled by unskilled and semi-skilled workers. This includes repetitive activities such as pallet-handling, inventory management, picking and packing, and load transferring.
Why Consider Warehouse Automation?
Automation technology can help boost performance, catalyze faster turnarounds in the supply chain process, and support company growth. Some of the primary features and benefits include:
Lower Overhead Costs
Automation helps reduce costs associated with labor, equipment, and maintenance, while also increasing throughput. It also lowers spending on energy consumption, storage space, and safety incidents.
Workforce Productivity and Retention
Boost productivity in your labor unit without adding to its total headcount. By automating your facility, you’re eliminating intensive tasks that require heavy lifting and repetitive motion. Not only does this improve safety conditions, but it also reduces the amount of energy you have to exert each day.
Today’s best automation systems are built with multiple data collection functions. These tools keep track of lost inventory, shrinkage, and misplacement. If the goal is 99.9% accuracy or better, an automation system is the ideal solution. With such sterling inventory control, expect fewer shipping errors overall.
An automation system is a sustainable resource that minimizes your facility’s impact on the environment. This technology is engineered to conserve energy, which helps reduce utility waste and lowers operating costs. These benefits are especially important for refrigerated and temperature-controlled working environments that manage hazardous waste.
Types of Automation Technology
When it comes to workforce automation, there’s no one-size-fits-all option. All applications are custom-built for your unique operation. Whether it’s a large or small task, you have equipment tailored to solve significant problems. Some of the safest and most reliable solutions include:
- Automated pallet dispensers
- Automated pallet stackers
- Automated pallet conveyors
- Automated load transferring systems
- End of arm tooling (EOAT)
- Robot integrations
When Should I Automate My Facility?
It’s best to adopt an automation process when the following symptoms show visible signs:
- Your current processes are too labor and time-intensive
- You struggle to fulfill orders in time
- Order fulfillment is inaccurate
- You’ve increased headcount to check and recheck order accuracy
- You can’t trust your inventory levels because counts are rarely correct
- Your legacy solution requires too much upkeep
- Your customers are unhappy, no matter what you do
How Does the Automation Process Work?
Automating a warehouse or distribution center is not a straightforward process you can perform on your own. It’s best to partner with a professional technology provider to walk you through the four critical stages of the upgrade:
- Data collection and inventory scanning
- Migrating automated guided vehicles
- Installing robot delivery systems
- Rugged computer replacements
Improve Production and Order Fulfillment With ROI Industries
More companies are turning to ROI to streamline the warehouse automation processes. We provide solutions that help boost efficiency and reduce human error. Our proprietary PalletPOD solutions can help expedite every area of labor production. From palletizing to stretch wrapping, we have the technology to help simplify every milestone in the supply chain process.
Contact ROI to get started with a free consultation.