Getting the warehouse automated should be a top priority for businesses today. The warehouse is one of the areas where even small problems can slow down the rest of the processes, cause customer complaints, and reduce the effectiveness of the business.
In the past, warehouse automation solutions were expensive, but that’s no longer the case. The advances in hardware and software technology have helped to reduce not only costs but also the space requirements that are needed. Below are some of the different types of automation solutions that companies will want to consider implementing sooner rather than later.
Types of Automated Warehouse Solutions to Consider
Today, a wide range of configurable warehouse automations are available that could help warehouses of all sizes and types. They can often be added individually, or companies might want to have several different solutions all working together to provide even better results.
- Label Print and Apply
Often, labels will need to be applied after manufacturing or while stocking the shelves of the warehouse. Adding each of these labels manually takes a lot of time, and there is always the chance for human error to occur. This could cause products to be shipped or stored incorrectly. In some warehouses, even the position of the label is important. If it’s not affixed in the proper position, it can cause a host of problems. Using a label print and apply solution will help to eliminate those concerns.
- Automated Sortation
Another excellent tool for the warehouse is automated sortation. It can help to manage inventory and incoming products, making things easier to find in the warehouse after a sale has been made. The streamlining it can offer for inventory management makes it easier to know what’s in stock, where it is, and to ensure that restocking is easy. The system also helps with shipping and receiving, reducing errors that might otherwise occur if everything was done manually.
- Automated Scanning
With this tool, warehouses will no longer have to worry about manual scanning of incoming and outgoing products via barcodes. The system will scan the items and capture all the data that’s needed to ensure they get to the right place. It is fast and accurate and is a good solution for incoming and outgoing products in the warehouse.
- Automated Receiving
Automated receiving systems will often include barcode scanning, label printers, applicators, and conveyors for items. The use of these systems can help to increase accuracy and speed up the process of receiving even large numbers of items into the warehouse. It could help to reduce the unloading time of trucks, which could help to reduce the labor costs. Since the system is automated, it also allows the warehouse to operate at a higher capacity.
- Automated Guided Vehicles
In large warehouses, it might be a good idea to choose automated guided vehicles that can help move items from one area to another. A quality robot can scan a package and the barcode will let it know where it needs to be delivered in the warehouse — whether it needs to be shipped or shelved. The robots can often place the parcel onto a chute, or they could wait for the item to be removed manually.
These machines are on the cutting edge of automated warehouse solutions and can help to make it faster and easier to move items around the warehouse. When looking for a provider, check to see whether they have these machines in development. They can help to cut down on a lot of manual labor in the warehouse.
- Automation Software
Of course, when dealing with all of the different types of automation solutions, managers and owners will need to have a good and viable way of managing the operations. The provider’s solutions should provide quality automation software that can be easily integrated into the warehouse, so everything can be operated from a single digital environment.
Benefits of Using Automated Warehouse Solutions
Above were some of the most popular and common types of automated warehouse solutions available today. Those who are still on the fence when it comes to these types of systems should consider all of the benefits they can provide and why they should be implemented.
For starters, when only humans are doing all of the repetitive work, there is a chance for errors to be made. Whether it’s with labeling, sorting, or any other process in the warehouse, human error can and does occur. Even the best and most diligent employees will make a mistake from time to time. Using automated solutions virtually eliminates these errors. The employees can then focus on other aspects of their job and be more useful in helping the warehouse to become more productive and efficient.
When these solutions are in place, it can help to increase the warehouse throughput while reducing handling and storage costs. There is less reliance on humans for certain tasks, so managers won’t have to worry about rescheduling when employees have time off or are sick. The machines can continue to work around the clock.
Choose the Right Provider for Automated Warehouse Solutions
When choosing a provider for solutions like those discussed above, warehouse managers and business owners need to choose what’s right for them. Consider the types of solutions that will work best for the business now and what might be needed in the future. It’s often better to automate and future-proof now with scalable automated warehouse solutions than it is to buy a system that will need to be replaced in a few years.
Consider the types of options providers offer for the solutions, their scalability, ease of use, the size of the machines, and the overall customer service of the provider. Customers should also check to see whether customization is available. After all, not all warehouses operate in the same way and some may have special needs that need to be accommodated by the solutions they choose. Find a provider that can offer the needed customizations for the best results.