In a world where everything is moving towards automation, the traditional ways of warehouse management are also slowly giving way to new methods. For e-commerce and logistics businesses, particularly, warehouse management is one of the most challenging tasks. All companies, big or small, are stressing on the importance of adapting old warehousing to automation strategies to create a productive environment where both man and machine can work in sync.
An ideal warehouse management system today should be one that is integrated with other systems of the supply chain to keep track of all activities and ensure optimum utilization of the warehouse. Software-based warehouse management systems are already helping businesses manage the processes in a warehouse, from inventory management to order shipping. Automation has also been implemented in many areas of warehouse management by most big businesses. Technology is changing at a faster pace than ever, and keeping your business processes up to date with these changes is crucial for progress. So, how to prepare your warehouse for automation?
Here are six warehouse automation strategies that you can adopt to prepare yourself for the future of warehousing:
The more effective the shipping of products to customers, better will be the utilization of the warehouse. This is why using a shipping software is the first step in the process of automation of a warehouse. The more tasks that the shipping software can automate, the better. The use of a shipping software reduces the time consumed in decision-making by employees and processing of orders. It also results in fewer errors and maintains a constant speed of shipping and delivering orders. That implies no space in the warehouse will remain occupied for longer than it should.
Real-time inventory data
Real-time information on inventory in the warehouse is necessary for maintaining continuity in the supply chain. Manually keeping track of inventory is usually quite inaccurate. When a warehouse worker picks up a product and manually enters it into the system, there may be already discrepancies, and the process becomes much slower. Automation of this inventory keeping process can improve the accuracy of the data and also reduce human intervention. With an automated process, every time a worker picks up a product, it is instantly recorded in the database of the warehouse management system in real-time.
Automation of repetitive tasks
With advancements in technology, human effort, and skills are no longer required in performing those tasks which are repetitive and require no rational thinking. If these tasks are automated, the human resource can be put to much better use where their skills will come in handy. Using mobility technologies, data systems, conveyor belts, robotics, and other automation and technology improvements can reduce the human effort required in these tasks and accelerate the process and improve delivery time.
Automation using robotic solutions
Robotic solutions are already being used to automate certain processes in warehousing. Yet, the application of robotics is still limited to the workflow sector. The ultimate goal of many companies is to completely automate warehouse operations, and robotics will play a big role in this change. Robotics automation could help distribution centers to automate all their operations without having to make many structural changes. Robotics automation can also help utilize the warehouse space better as the robots can maneuver in much smaller spaces. With the use of robots for product retrieval and storage, no bulky pallets and pallet jacks with a wide turning radius are required. These automated warehouse special movable shelves that robots can move around use much less space. So, the warehouse doesn’t require big aisle spaces between shelves and can utilize more space for storage.
Using barcodes and barcode scanners
Coding your products in the warehouse with proper barcodes is also a step towards automation of the warehouse. A good barcoding solutions provider with experience in the industry can help you implement the technology with much more ease. An employee purely dedicated to barcode inventory management is also necessary to keep the system streamlined. The inventory items can be given barcodes that can be scanned. All information about the product, such as the соunt, rесеіvіng dаtеs, and lосаtіоn can be retrieved from the barcode by scanning. Using barcode scanners in the warehouse speeds up order processing times as warehouse staff are no longer required to manually enter numbers. This also reduces the chances of errors occurring.
Using warehouse management systems with machine learning
Integrating your warehouse management system with machine learning can make the automation process far more effective. With the help of machine learning, certain decision-making tasks can be done by the system itself without any human intervention. For example, deciding which shipments are to be sent earlier and which later can be decided by the system based on changing conditions within the warehouse. For instance, if the system finds that a pick-up will take longer than expected, it can allocate it at a later shipping time and bring forward a shipment that is ready, without any human input.
The revolution in warehouse management has already begun, and now it is just about going from one milestone in automation to the next.
In the meantime, learn about the 6 Ways to Boost Warehouse Productivity!