A primary post-pandemic concern for many supply chains is how to build in more resilience and agility into their warehouses. It’s clear that reacting to crises is not a strategy. Today, it might be the Covid-19 pandemic; tomorrow, it will be the impacts of climate change, tariffs, trade wars, or some other supply chain disruption.
To benefit from advanced risk identification tools and keep up with heightened customer expectations, companies need to develop ways to automate their operations. It’s no longer enough to diversify your supplier base or establish safety stocks. Building resilient supply chains requires a speed of operation that can only be achieved through specific automation technologies.
Automation solutions aren’t just a nice addition to your warehouse operations. They’re a competitive differentiator integral for any organization that wants to remain competitive and profitable.
3 SIGNS IT'S TIME TO AUTOMATE YOUR WAREHOUSE WITH A WMS
In addition to rising fulfillment costs and inventory management issues, here are some of the signs that indicate it’s time to automate your warehouse processes.
1. RISING LABOR COSTS
Any reduction in labor costs translates to a competitive advantage. Several strategies can be implemented to reduce labor costs, including consolidating roles to reduce headcounts and training employees, but none are as effective as leveraging automated technologies like conveyor lines or voice picking to improve worker efficiency and productivity.
2. INCREASING ERROR RATES
Missing paperwork, damaged goods, wrong shipments, backorders, recalls, and increasing customer complaints are signs that you should automate your end-of-line processes. Technologies such as pick-to-light systems and automated storage and retrieval systems minimize opportunities for human error, plus can help ensure compliance and improve order accuracy.
3. FACILITY OPTIMIZATION
There’s a difference between a busy warehouse and one that can barely keep up with the rate of growth or the pace of business operations. Automating time-consuming everyday warehouse processes can lead to higher throughputs from the same warehouse space saving you time and money.
Automation solves a wide range of expensive problems for material handling businesses. Let’s look at some of the technologies you should be using as you strive for a fully automated warehouse.
4 MUST-HAVE SMART WAREHOUSE TECHNOLOGIES
As a business scales, warehouse managers face the internal pressures of managing greater inventory volumes, raw materials, and assets. The following warehouse automation technologies are key to solving warehouse and distribution challenges.
1. WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (WMS)
A WMS is a software tool that manages daily warehouse tasks. It consolidates all your critical warehouse data into one platform giving you a full view of your operations so you can respond better and faster to your customers’ demands. Your WMS should complement your other autonomous processes from receiving to fulfillment.
2. AUTOMATED PICKING SYSTEM
In high-volume distribution centers, picking is one of the processes that leads to high labor costs and operational inefficiencies. There are a variety of tools you can use to optimize your picking rates to nearly perfect levels, like voice picking, pick-to-light, goods-to-person picking, and automated storage and retrieval systems.
Plus, you can further optimize picking processes by using your WMS to calculate the best storage locations and pick paths for your pickers.
3. AUTOMATED GUIDED VEHICLES (AGVS)
AGVs are computer-controlled, wheel-based load carriers that travel along a factory floor and engage in putaway, loading, stocktake, as well as storage and retrieval processes. These machines are usually self-guided and follow digital paths to load and unload items.
If you’re looking to cut operational expenses, AGVs could be an ideal fit for your company. They reduce labor costs, increase inventory efficiency and accuracy, and unlike humans, they don’t tire or get distracted, thereby reducing accidents and mistakes that cost you money.
4. THE INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT)
The Internet of Things enables you to control all the moving parts of your warehouse. IoT technology improves the functioning of warehouses, increasing operational efficiency while providing transparency in logistics. There’s also the advantage of connecting warehouse operations to the growing demands of online retail resulting in cheaper and faster delivery.
STAY AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION WITH DATASCOPE WMS
In a fast-paced business environment, you want a WMS that gives you the precise functionality to optimize and futureproof your warehouse operations. DATASCOPE WMS is that system. It’s flexible, intelligent and helps companies to swiftly adapt to market changes by keeping warehouse operations optimized at all times. You’ll also benefit from more accurate demand forecasting and improved pick accuracy. Schedule a demo to get started.