Warehouse automation is one of the best-known ways to improve efficiency and functionality, as well as an excellent way to boost the return on investment. This is why most warehouse managers work toward automating their processes. Even so, most warehouses today still struggle with expenses and human errors simply because they haven’t adopted high levels of expert warehouse automation.
If you understand the huge return on investment that comes with automating the processes, you can easily learn how to make a strategic and smart investment in this. Here are the top 5 tips that will help you create an automated distribution centre in your warehouse.
1) Organize the Warehouse
The first out of the few automation best practices is to optimize the warehouse for what follows. The automation options you’ll use will depend on your warehouse’s capabilities. You need to know the frame warehouse cary, space and layouts, product storage, outbound and inbound operations, as well as the value-added processes. These are the main functions of a warehouse, which is something you should evaluate in order to properly automate it.
If you want to make this as successful and accurate as possible, you need to rely on data. For example, if you don’t size the storage means, you might have to restock the fast-moving items in storage several times during the day to avoid outbound delays.
2) Use Barcode Labels
Warehouse automation should always include the barcode system. If you want to provide your business the means for inventory and goods tracking, you need barcode labels.
Once you automate these processes, you’ll find that barcodes are perfect for minimizing the human error, even eliminating it altogether. The barcodes offer more efficient procedures for picking the products, better planning for the arrival times of your products, and easy tracking of the inventory flow.
3) Find the Right Automation Hardware and Software
There are plenty of options for warehouse management systems. In addition to barcode labels, there are scanning devices and warehouse automation solutions that allow you to aggregate the data about everything from inventory and ordering information to manufacturing and vendors.
When you select the hardware and software solutions for your warehouse automation, you need to focus on compatibility. There are plenty of options such as 1D barcode scanners, image barcode scanners, 1D and 2D barcode scanners, linear barcode readers, wireless and cordless models, etc. However, your choice should be based on several factors:
- The label symbology of the barcode
- Your warehouse’ requirements for durability
- The scanning distance and speed
- Software and operating system compatibility
- Whether or not you need a wireless or wired connection
- Ease of use and flexibility
- Integration with different technology
4) Invest in AGVs
AGVs or automatic guided vehicles are a rather new innovation, but they still haven’t beat the old warehouse labels and solutions. However, they are an excellent addition to your automation system since they offer direct and big savings on labor cost, as well as boost the efficiency of retrieval and storage processes.
It is up to you which AGVs you’ll choose because basically, it depends on your warehouse needs and tasks. You can use these for vertical reel storage, automatic unloading of trailers, storage of pallets in deep stacks on the floor, storing them in racks in the warehouse, transporting the raw materials to storage, controlling the process from trailer to the processing lines, etc.
The options are growing every day, so make sure to base your choice and investments on your warehouse condition and capabilities.
5) Use AS/RS
Automated storage and retrieval systems are here much longer than AGVs, but they are equally as needed as they were when they showed up in the 1950s. They have some really important components like rack structures, retrieval and storage machines, control systems for warehouses, and conveyors like AGVs.
The two most commonly used devices of this type are the lowering and lifting devices for pallets. These will move your pallets in and out and can be configured to match everything from delivery speed to SKU density profiles.
If you opt for use of AS/RS, you can expect better labour utilization, reduced space, more flexibility within the warehouse, safe handling of products, better consumer protection, highly-controlled environments for storage, elimination of human access and errors, etc.
Have you done this yet for your warehouse? If you haven’t automated the process, now is the time to do it. The competition is moving rather slowly into this direction, which gives you a great opportunity to stand out. Automate your warehouse processes to boost your business and reduce human error.
Bobbie Sanchez is a modern technology expert who focuses on automation processes. The cost can be really low when it comes to automation of this data, but you might want to get help from companies that offer assistance with essay writing when it comes to writing reports.
In the past two years, he works as a freelance business consultant for companies that want to join the tech-friendly business world and boost their processes. As such, he’s the perfect person to teach you about automation.