To tackle the common challenges in warehouse management and avoid time lags, businesses now use warehouse management systems. One of the critical components in warehouse management is warehouse automation. To be able to make the most of automation you should understand the different types of automation available and how to use them effectively for business. Warehouse automation systems can be used for improved efficiency of distribution centres and overall productive supply chain processes.
Reasons to use warehouse automation
- A warehouse automation system helps eliminated fatigue errors and human errors due to numerous other reasons.
- Data security in the warehouse systems also gets better with automation
- The overall quality of supply chain processes gets better as automation helps add a consistency to these processes
- Faster and predictable shipping and order fulfilment becomes possible with automation
- Another major perk would be the efficient labor utilization
Types of warehouse automation systems
1. Goods to person technology
These are basic systems where robotic implementations can be used for the timely delivery of products to the workers in the shop floor. Both in packing area and the basic assembly lines there are robots used for smooth storage and retrieval of items in the inventory. Sometimes these are implemented in the form of conveyor systems ti transport the materials to the respective workers in the designated areas.
2. AGVs or automated guided vehicles
Businesses looking for partial automation of their warehouse or for automation with a tight budget might find the use of AGVs to be a dependable choice. Even through small changes these can make significant enhancements to the warehouse processes. Compact, standard, custom and hybrid AGVs can be used depending on the actual workflow in the warehouse. They can be integrated by the use of designated pathways with built-in sensors. The computer rendering in these automated guided vehicles makes sure that these have the predefined paths fed into them. Based on the programmed timing, path and other parameters these automate the movement of goods from one section to another.
3. Pick to light systems
Warehouse picking is a time-consuming task with a lot of dependencies attached to it. With the use of lights, workers can easily be guided to the respective areas of the goods they are looking for. Labor costs can be cut down a great deal with help of pick to light systems and the efficiency of the processes also gets better. These systems combine barcodes and lit pathways for easy navigation.
4. Autonomous mobile robots
For businesses that are looking for convenient movement of goods with more efficient movement of the robotic vehicles, autonomous mobile robots are useful. These are upgraded versions of AGVs and they come with a host of additional benefits. They are designed with GPS for a more efficient navigation and optimal path decisions. Another level of automation would be the use of hurdle detection systems that helps in quickly adjusting the path based on real-time movement in the shop floor.
Knowing that there are so many choices in warehouse automation systems pick your warehouse management system accordingly. So, These are decisions you make for the long-term improvement of your warehouse operations. So now would be a good time to rethink your strategies in warehouse automation and other technological improvements.