Efficiency should be the goal, not just automation.
Are you building your processes around warehouse automation or implementing warehouse automation to achieve optimized processes for your operation?
For the past few decades, the warehouse automation and software industry used FOMO-based marketing tactics to reinforce the idea that automation was a goal in and of itself. As a result, many companies purchased automation or expensive picking systems, and then engineered their processes to maximize the ROI of their investments, unfortunately missing holistic opportunities along the way by not considering end-to-end data and human worker process flows. Luckily, the automation landscape has evolved over the last decade with warehouse automation and robotics that are no longer bolted to the floor and software-driven automation that enables much more process flexibility, opening many more pathways for ROI justification.
Automation is a very powerful tool to drive efficiency, but it’s essential to first understand your current state and then engineer future state processes in a holistic and end-to-end manner. Start with the process you wish to achieve and then find the warehouse automation to accomplish that vision.
Automation is a very powerful tool to drive efficiency, but it’s essential to first understand your current state and then engineer future state processes in a holistic and end-to-end manner, considering both the strengths and weaknesses of people and machines.
Real-life examples of consequences due to automation-first process engineering are implementations of expensive sorters without upfront consideration of item profile and end-to-end system integration, resulting in many hours of manual induction and post-sortation processing, or the implementation of a fixed pick-to-light system with half the lights needed during peak season.
As you consider warehouse automation options, remember that you have many viable options available to you so there is no need to limit your process engineering to the automation capabilities (or pricing models) of yesteryear. Start with the process you wish to achieve and then find the warehouse automation to accomplish that vision.
Flexible Automation Investment and Savings Analysis
Ready to start your automation journey? Contact us today to request your customized automation assessment.