Warehouse Automation and the Changing Logistics Paradigm

Warehouse Automation and the Changing Logistics Paradigm

Select a product, add to shopping cart, make payment and then wait for the shipment to arrive. For customers, this entire process is as easy as a mouse click. However, that is not the case for the e-commerce company. The logistics of getting goods to the customer has grown more complex.

E-commerce players are addressing this challenge by introducing smart technology into warehousing and order fulfillment, just like the manufacturing industry that started process automation a few decades ago. From picking and packing goods to transportation and door delivery, the future of logistics is going to be highly dependent on robotics. A new report from Transparency Market Research (TMR) states that the global warehouse robotics market is expected to be worth US$ 9,579.3 million during the forecast period 2019-2027 . The market is also projected to expand at a CAGR of 12% during this time. What drives the global warehouse robotics market is the rising demand for warehouse automation from the e-commerce sector.

Here’s how (and why) automated warehouse robots are changing the face of modern logistics.

Improving productivity at warehouse

Improved productivity translates itself to increased supply chain efficiency. Many of the largest e-commerce facilities experience a shortage of workers at their distribution centers, especially when the customer demand shoots up during the holiday peak season. As the demand for qualified workers continues to rise, staffing at warehouses becomes increasingly challenging every year.

McKinsey Global Institute reports that automation at warehouse will not have a serious effect on the workforce such as loss of jobs. Automation in logistics brings significant cost savings to employees and will not leave the existing workforce redundant, since many of the workers can be reassigned to new jobs that require collaborating with the new robotic systems.

Warehouses that have implemented this kind of collaborative robotic systems report benefits such as increase in productivity rates, minimal errors and greater employee satisfaction. Robots at warehouse can attend to mounting demands round-the-clock without diminished performance.

Increasing customer satisfaction

By allowing automation to enhance your order fulfillment, you can spare your workforce’s time to concentrate on building unique customer experiences through activities such as better communication and follow-up strategies, innovative packaging and offers, or loyalty programs.

From partial to fully automated warehouses, automation has come a long way. Automated pallet-handling systems cut down shipment-processing time by 50%, reports McKinsey. Integrating smart technology into warehouses helps in enhancing customer experience through effective order management, real-time planning, and error-free inventory monitoring.

Faster decisions driven by intelligence and mobility

Unlike the manufacturing industry where industrial robots are anchored firmly to the floor and operate in a controlled environment, logistics warehouses function in an unstructured ecosystem. For example, a logistics robot that works in an e-commerce warehouse or a parcel sorting center requires more flexibility to move around and work. Robots at warehouse should guide associates in making real-time, data-driven decisions such as optimizing pick up routes, handling multiple tasks in a single move around the floor, better planning of paths to avoid unnecessary floor walks, and reducing steps between tasks.

By adopting artificial intelligence and machine learning, the retail industry could gain incremental value over time. If warehouse automation minimizes human intervention in day-to-day logistics operations, AI can augment the process further by assisting workforce in executing cognitive functions that involve learning, reasoning, and problem-solving.

Why should you bring robots into your warehouse?

The global warehouse robotics market is at a tipping point due to the increasing demand for staffing in e-commerce warehouses countered by the growing labor shortage. The strong growth of e-commerce is forcing companies to transform supply chains by replacing fixed infrastructure and obsolete processes with flexible and scalable robotic solutions. As robotics can be customized for specific operations, you need to evaluate current bottlenecks before bringing a robot into your warehouse.

By making your customers happy and creating a safe work environment for your employees, you can make your business more productive and profitable. Strategic addition of robots to your warehouse operations should help you reach this goal quickly.

For more read: Common Logistics Technology Issues and Their Causes

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