By Will Schneider, founder, InsightQuote
Companies around the world are investing in advanced automation systems. One goal behind the trend is streamlining their daily operations – these systems improve workplace safety, efficiency, and reduce overall operation costs.
When it comes to warehouse companies, they use automated systems to scale their operations according to fluctuating market demands, to sustain round-the-clock operations, and so on.
The technology behind these systems is advancing on an almost daily basis. This is leading companies to integrate more and more advanced digital solutions into their existing warehouse operations.
Keep reading to learn about four real-world examples of warehouse automation and advanced technology in action.
1. Robots in warehouses
Warehouses keep investing in sophisticated robot systems to remain competitive and shorten delivery timelines. The latest robot additions are fully autonomous mobile robots, designed to provide enhanced safety.
These robots perform more than lifting and transporting packages – they can detect and sort different items.
Proteus, one of Amazon’s newest robots, is programmed to operate like human employees, navigate physical spaces like humans do, and work independently without interfering with the human workforce.
Amazon uses computer vision and artificial intelligence to enhance the sorting capabilities of its robots – like the Cardinal – to speed up item identification and preparation for dispatch.
2. Drones for last-mile package delivery
Third-party warehousing companies are embracing drones for last-mile delivery as a means of reducing fulfillment time.
The logistics drone market is expected to reach a market value of $53.32 billion by 2031. Companies like Amazon and UPS are already using drones for home deliveries in select localities.
The emergence of several drone manufacturers – including Wing, a subsidiary of the tech giant Alphabet – means delivery companies will have access to multiple drone options, varying in pricing and payload capacities.
These drones will reduce package pile-ups in warehouses while helping delivery companies reduce their environmental impact.
3. Automated guided vehicles in manufacturing plants
Manufacturing supply chains are volatile, and require companies to optimize their inventories and effectively manage warehouses. They must create synergy between raw materials (supply side) and finished products (delivery).
Manufacturers can combat warehouse-related challenges using automated guided vehicles and autonomous mobile robots (AMR).
BMW uses automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to automate intralogistics in their manufacturing warehouses. These machines use fixed routes to transport supplies and finished goods, giving the company better visibility over its inventory.
Warehouses should look into the potential of AGVs and AMRs and expedite routine operations even as their market share grows.
4. Automated storage and retrieval systems in retail companies
Retail companies handle millions of customers daily. They replenish warehouses frequently to ensure an adequate availability of consumer goods.
Retail warehouses can overcome complex supply chain challenges by automating warehouse operations using automated storage and retrieval systems.
Walmart acquired Alert Innovations, a robotic automation company, to implement automated storage and retrieval technology (among other material-handling technology).
The technology is beneficial for expanding the volumes of Walmart’s fulfillment centers spread across the US.
Warehousing and logistics companies must continuously innovate and improve the technical capabilities of existing automation systems for enhanced order fulfillment, better tracking, and increased operational efficiency. Companies can choose from a wide variety of warehouse automation solutions based on their order volumes, existing supply chain challenges, ease of use, and the available budgets.
About the author: Will Schneider is the founder of InsightQuote, a match-making service for B2B services, and writes informative posts about fulfillment services at Warehousing And Fulfillment. He is passionate about helping businesses find the right solutions to improve their operations. When not working, Will enjoys coaching youth basketball.
Main image by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash