Automation, the use of automatic equipment, machinery, and software to streamline operations and processes, is becoming increasingly popular in many industries to save money, reduce human labor costs, and improve efficiency. While the concept of automated warehouses may sound futuristic, today’s technology enables warehouse owners to automate their processes in several ways.
Automating your warehouse operations will give you an advantage over your competitors and help you remain profitable. This article will discuss various ways to automate warehouse processes, types of automation technology, and the numerous benefits you gain from utilizing this technology.
What Is Warehouse Automation?
Warehouse automation identifies routine logistics processes and essential material-handling tasks and creates new ways to accomplish these tasks without human involvement.
Automation can include anything from utilizing warehouse management systems to complete repetitive, process-oriented tasks, such as collecting inventory data and integrating it into a database, to physical actions, such as transporting inventory from one location to another.
Effective automation allows companies to reduce labor-intensive tasks and increase efficiency, speed, reliability, and precision. Automation completes daily operations critical to your business’s success safely and correctly.
Warehouse Automation Technology
There are several types of warehouse automation technology, including the following.
- Goods-to-Person (G2P)
- Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS)
- Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)
- Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)
- Pick-to-Light Systems
Goods-to-person (G2P) technology is one of the best ways to increase efficiency and minimize congestion. G2P technology uses machines to transport materials to workers or designated stations for assembly and shipping. G2P systems can double or triple the speed of warehouse operations if used correctly and often have fantastic ROI.
Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS)
Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) help with inventory management and storing and retrieving materials and products. Warehouse owners typically use AS/RS systems for high-volume, limited-space applications and to quicken order fulfillment.
Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs)
Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) assist in transporting goods, supplies, and items within warehouse facilities. AGVs follow a predetermined digital path, so you should only use them in large, straightforward warehouses. AGVs are not a good fit for complex warehouses with a lot of human traffic and limited space.
Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)
Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) utilize GPS systems to safely and efficiently plan routes and navigate dynamic situations with lots of human traffic. AMRs use laser guiding systems to learn their surroundings, detect impediments, and plan new paths to their destinations. They are simple to program and implement within various warehouse settings.
Pick-to-light systems use barcodes and LED lights to assist workers with locating relevant goods and materials. Pick-to-light systems use mobile scanning equipment linked to digital displays to direct workers to the locations of selected items, significantly minimizing the time it takes to locate goods, especially in high-volume settings.
Benefits of Warehouse Automation
Automating your warehouse operations benefits you in many ways, including the following.
- Reduces Operational Costs
- Boosts Employee Productivity
- Increases Long-Term Sustainability
- Uses Space More Effectively
- Improves Inventory Visibility
Reduces Operational Costs
Labor is often the most expensive component of any organization, making automation an appealing alternative for warehouse managers and business owners. Automating your warehouse’s operations and lowering the time spent on manual processes reduces human error and saves money in the long run.
Boosts Employee Productivity
Warehouse automation does not wholly replace human workers; it allows them to focus on jobs that add more value to the company. Automating these repetitive and menial tasks enables you to put your employees to work on higher-value tasks that are more fulfilling for them and more integral to your company’s success.
Increases Long-Term Sustainability
One of automation’s most significant advantages is energy consumption reduction. Reducing energy consumption cuts your overall operational costs and minimizes trash, land use, and your warehouse’s environmental impact.
Uses Space More Effectively
You must make the most out of every square inch of space when managing a warehouse. Automation helps you make the best use of your available space, allowing you to put it to better use for things like expanded production lines, add-on facilities, and conveyor systems.
Improves Inventory Visibility
Automated inventory management, including automated data collection and inventory transactions, enables more accurate, timely, and efficient tracking. Automating these essential processes aids in the recovery and reduction of lost or misplaced items and allows you to reduce shipping errors and fulfill orders more effectively.
Modernize Your Warehouse with Help from BILT Industries
Warehouse automation provides numerous advantages and comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and configurations. Every warehouse stands to benefit from some level of automation, but the most important thing is to ensure you equip your warehouse to handle advanced automation technology.
BILT Industries manufactures state-of-the-art industrial shelving solutions designed to be compatible with automation technologies, like AMRs. Our number one goal is preparing businesses for the future, and we accomplish this goal by providing robust, high-quality shelving lines that are easy to assemble and transport.
If you’re interested in upgrading your warehouse with our world-renowned shelving systems, give us a call at (913) 675-2039. We look forward to hearing from you!