By Diane Jordan, VP of Industry Strategy, Accelogix
As the industry continues to adapt to its changing demands, technology offerings continue to expand. Today a workforce can no longer be considered only the people within the 4 walls of your DC. Your workforce is being transformed into an automated workforce. The combination of people, automatous technologies, software and fixed automation work together to move the goods through your operation. If all these contributors are not working harmoniously, inefficiency will be introduced. But, working as a single team, the combination of technologies can set you up for success today and into the future.
With more options than ever before coming onto the market, the stakes are high. When looking to invest millions of dollars on automation, you want to make sure your ROI can be achieved. Making the wrong investment can have long term impacts.
It feels that I encounter more customers that regret their automation decisions than those that know that it helps set them apart from their competition. Why is this?
So the question remains; what is right for your operation? The best advice I can provide is to do your research. Most vendors are there to sell you their solution. If that solution only focuses on one area of your operation and consideration is not provided for up-stream and down-stream processes, dig deeper. You may not have found the solution that is going to return operational savings. Know your options and their application.
With more options than ever before coming onto the market, the stakes are high. When looking to invest millions of dollars on automation, you want to make sure your ROI can be achieved. Making the wrong investment can have long term impacts. It feels that I encounter more customers that regret their automation decisions than those that know that it helps set them apart from their competition. Why is this?
After digging a little deeper, the causes often come to one of two things. The first is that they overspent. They trusted their vendor but the system itself was over engineered for the results it could provide or was wrong for their application.
The second, the automation system itself is working as it should, but the surrounding processes have become the bottleneck. Thus, the overall operation has not gained in efficiency. The inefficiency has just been transferred to another part of the operation. This fortunately is the most common cause and thankfully can often be fixed through process re-engineering, flow optimization technology or automation / facility improvement. For me, this is the best-case result because the program can be fixed, and the ROI can be achieved.
As we jump into 2021, what path do you take? Make a roadmap. You need to understand your operation, goods, order profiles and YOUR GOALS better than anyone else. Ask for help. You are about to jump into a growing and complex industry. Do your research and engage experts to help lead you down the correct path. Understanding where you need to be tomorrow is important but understanding where that journey needs to put you in 3-5 years is critical before you make your investment.
I know this can all sound a bit daunting, but if you are considering new automation and processes this year and want a partner to bounce ideas off of or assist with processes and integration, our team may be able to help.
You can learn more about our automation consulting services here.
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