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The Current Status and Future of Warehouse Automation

Views: 0     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2024-07-08      Origin: Site


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Intelligence and automation are reshaping every aspect of the supply chain at an unprecedented speed. Especially for warehousing and logistics Automation, the core node in the supply chain system, automation has become a powerful tool to drive change and innovation.

Why do companies need to automate warehouses?

For the warehousing and logistics industry, warehouse automation is already a commonplace topic. However, in the digital age, the business environment and customer needs are undergoing tremendous changes, so warehouse automation has become more urgent and valuable. The driving forces behind the transformation of warehouse automation mainly include the following aspects:

Improving safety and human factors engineering. In traditional warehousing operations, employees often need to carry heavy objects and shuttle through complex environments, which can easily lead to safety and occupational health problems. Replacing manual labor with automated equipment, especially in dangerous and human-risky positions and scenarios, can significantly improve operational safety. For example, using automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to transport goods and using aerial robots to complete the picking of the highest level of shelves can effectively avoid safety hazards.

Improving employee experience. The work of front-line warehouse employees is often monotonous and heavy, which seriously affects employee experience and engagement. A positive and vibrant team of employees is the source of corporate productivity and innovation. Automation is changing all this. The gosunm team pays great attention to the perspective of employees and hopes to use automation to liberate front-line employees, freeing them from heavy physical labor and engaging in more valuable and meaningful work, such as monitoring automated equipment, participating in process optimization, and providing customers with better services.

Enhance the reliability of terminal customer service. With the booming development of e-commerce, customers have higher requirements for delivery timeliness and accuracy. Ensuring that customers receive first-class service experience is the ultimate mission of the supply chain. Warehouse automation can minimize errors and shorten delivery cycles by optimizing key links such as order processing, inventory management, sorting and packaging, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. At the same time, the automated system has stronger scalability, which helps companies quickly adapt to demand fluctuations. For example, a retailer shortened the order processing time by 60% and increased the accuracy to 99.99% by deploying an automated storage and sorting system. It not only coped with the peak of orders during the epidemic, but also increased customer satisfaction by 20%.

Improve productivity. Automation is an important means to improve productivity. Many storage centers have improved their storage operation efficiency by more than 30% in the past five years by continuously optimizing the degree of automation. Some key indicators, such as the number of boxes picked per hour and cargo turnover rate, have been significantly improved. The increase in productivity not only directly reduces operating costs, but also creates conditions for business expansion and responding to market changes. However, automation is not the only source of productivity. Continuous improvement must be achieved through comprehensive means such as optimized layout, lean management, and employee training.

Reduce error rates and improve operational quality. Order errors are a nightmare for supply chain management. They not only cause waste, but also have a negative impact on customer experience and brand reputation. Compared with manual operations, automated systems can reduce error rates by 1-2 orders of magnitude. On the one hand, operations with simple rules and strong repetitiveness are more suitable for machines to complete; on the other hand, the use of artificial intelligence technologies such as visual recognition and machine learning can detect and prevent defects that are difficult for the human eye to detect. In addition, end-to-end digitization enables data to flow and share seamlessly between various nodes in the supply chain, further eliminating the possibility of errors.

How do companies choose good warehouse automation solutions?

Faced with the importance of automation, companies are faced with the challenge of where to start to promote change. In response to this issue, gosunm shared some strategies:

Comprehensively review the current supply chain status and identify problems and opportunities. From suppliers to end customers, it is crucial to understand the needs and pain points of each node in the logistics chain. Clear improvement goals can be set from core dimensions such as cost, service, quality, and safety, and then focus on areas that are most likely to produce breakthroughs. For example, if an enterprise faces a high rate of damage to goods, it may be useful to focus on high-risk links such as sorting, packaging, and loading and unloading, and introduce technical means such as visual inspection and automated packaging and sorting.

After determining the direction of improvement, the next step is to explore the market and understand the maturity of different technical solutions. Many companies often stop here. For companies, technological innovation has always been a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the application of new technologies is expected to bring about a leap in efficiency and competitive advantages; but on the other hand, the lack of technological maturity and the obstruction of commercialization make exploration and development far away.

It is true that for multinational companies, establishing a sound evaluation system requires a lot of resources, and small and medium-sized enterprises may not have such conditions. However, we should insist on evaluating technological innovation with objective standards and put it into use at the appropriate stage. For automation technology, we should neither be too ambitious nor give up because of fear. Only by finding a balance between technological innovation and industrial application can enterprises move forward steadily in an uncertain environment.

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