Automation holds the key to improved efficiency for any warehouse. It’s a simple way to generate a higher return on investment and to create a more positive working environment for your staff. There are many different ways to begin integrating automation into your warehouse, whether you’re looking to start the process slowly or upgrade a number of key workflows in one go. These are just some of the ways that you can begin to incorporate automation into your warehouse right now.
Start with barcodes
One of the simplest automation options for any warehouse is to introduce a system of barcodes. There are many advantages to this, including ensuring that your staff can always find what they’re looking for at any time. Barcode scanners reduce the need for manual inputting, which can boost both efficiency and accuracy rates, and can provide a simple way to improve the way that inventory is handled overall.
Make better use of your data
Warehouses generate vast volumes of data but this frequently goes unused. If you’re going to invest in barcodes then it makes sense to also start trying to optimise your data too. For example, you’ll be able to see which items are purchased most often and place these in the most easily accessible spot. This will help to reduce the time it takes employees to retrieve them and minimise the need for forklifts or other moving equipment.
Use a robust Warehouse Management System (WMS)
The right WMS can be an essential link in the efficiency chain for your warehouse. For example, it can make it easier to use inventory software and improve the efficiency of shipping software. It will also create opportunities for better inventory handling and more perspective over your stock. The key is to choose a WMS that will work for your business needs – if you need to rotate stock regularly, for example, warehouse execution software that can be combined with automated storage and retrieval systems could make life a lot easier.
Let the machines do the work
The idea of robots in the warehouse is starting to become more mainstream, primarily because of the many advantages this offers in safety and efficiency terms. Machines can move, sort and organise, either right across the entire warehouse or in a few specific areas where they would be most useful. Assigning the most repetitive or low skilled tasks to robots allows your human workforce to add value elsewhere.
Invest in AGVs
Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) use navigation aids such as lasers or wires to get around your warehouse to automate the heavy lifting. Not only can they be more efficient and safe than when a human operator is involved but they require less space to work too. As a result you could reduce aisle size with AGVs and create more essential capacity.
Automation is going to be increasingly essential for warehouses, especially as the logistics and shipping industries continue to evolve. These are a few of the ways in which you can begin to incorporate the technology into the warehouse environment.