High-speed 24/7 processing with enhanced order accuracy which is running like clockwork – doesn’t that sound perfect and slightly sci-fi?
Warehouse automation is gradually becoming just another typical thing in the global supply chain. Various warehouses and DC’s across the globe are choosing this path to improve their material handling process in order to maximize the overall warehouse efficiency and output and enhance the order accuracy.
Warehouse automation is definitely the future of the global supply chain and will be implemented in more and more facilities going forward. It’s easy to see some of the obvious benefits, but there is a downside to the implementation process as well.
Pros of automating your warehouse
Efficiency. Increased output and faster order processing – the main benefit of warehouse automation. In the end, real efficiency is what any business is looking to achieve.
Manpower. You will be hiring and training fewer, more highly-skilled people, reducing the overall hiring and training time.
Seasonal spikes. You will be less dependent on the tight labor market and will face fewer layoffs.
Labor costs. With the two benefits above, you will reduce your operating costs and, granted the freed capital is properly applied, it will help you grow your business.
Accuracy. Computer software will eliminate the “human error” and will provide more accurate inventory and give you better visibility of what is in stock, as well as ensure fewer mistakes in shipping. This will help cut down on the cost of these mistakes, such as reverse logistics for example.
Cons of automating your warehouse
The most problematic part will be the implementation process.
Interrupted activity. Your present warehouse day-to-day will not run smoothly until the transition is complete. This will most likely temporarily set you back with inventory and delivery schedules.
Staff. Automation will eliminate jobs – you will either have to provide the training which will give them the necessary skills to handle new tasks, or face layoffs.
Cost. Automation will be expensive and will without a doubt affect your budget. Although it should pay off, considering the cons – make sure to go through a thorough analysis to ensure your budget will be able to afford it.
Accuracy? Computer software will eliminate the “human error”, but introduce the possible “software glitch”. The glitch may not be caught immediately and may affect the operations on a larger scale than just one person making a mistake.
The most important thing when making the decision to automate your warehouse is the in-depth analysis. Is it worth the expense if it’s only necessary during your peak season? Will the costly undertaking be actually worth it? Warehouse automation can be a life-saver for one business but will be the end of another.