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February 12, 2024

Overcome Retail Warehouse Automation Anxiety with Robots

Author Icon Mary Hart, Senior Content Marketing Manager

“We’re thinking of adding robotics to our retail warehouse, but I’m worried about the change. What if the technology is too complex? How will my team react? Can we really handle such a big transition? I just want it to work…”

Our retail sales executives hear statements just like this from anxious warehouse managers all the time. I understand that transforming your warehouse operations from manual processes to automated can be scary if you don’t know much about it. Concerns range from the complexity of implementation to the potential displacement of workers and the steep learning curves for new technologies. 

What’s the truth? You have nothing to fear from adding robots into your retail warehouse operations and everything to gain. Modern automation solutions make integration smooth and painless, while transforming productivity. In fact, according to a survey by Robotics Business Review, “automated warehouses are 76% more likely to increase inventory accuracy to 99% or higher and 40% more likely to ship orders within one day of being placed.” 

Here’s why retail warehouse managers can ease their worries about saying “yes” to robots.

Say Yes to RobotsNo Disruption Worries

Hollywood has skewed our thinking quite a bit of what happens when robots enter the workplace. Heck, just look at the Will Smith film, “I, Robot”. Robots were taking over, causing chaos, and threatening lives (okay, so yes, that took robotics to the extreme, as movies are wont to do). In reality, robotic solutions seamlessly merge into your retail warehouse.

In many cases, managers fear they’ll need to shut down their retail facility for weeks or months to support the implementation of an automated solution. With flexible solutions like autonomous  mobile robots (AMRs), that’s simply not true. AMRs can start driving efficiencies on day one in your existing infrastructure without any facility renovation required.

No Team Worries

Another big worry is how your associates will react to robots joining their workforce. They might think that robots are swooping in to replace them, but AMRs are designed to work alongside people, not replace them. The right solutions combine robotic transport with human brains for decision-making to ensure the robots feel like helpful teammates instead of enemies.

For instance, by having AMRs handle walking-intensive material transport, associates can focus on more fulfilling order picking and packing tasks. Dashboards and business intelligence provide data-driven insights to steady workloads across bot and human teams for optimum throughput. Rather than being angry about their robotic colleagues, most associates feel relief at offloading the mundane aspects of their jobs to robots.

In fact, warehouses using AMRs routinely share how their associates compete to help with the bots and joke how they want the bots to do even more! Robotic teammates become a badge of honor rather than a threat and staff enjoy learning to leverage the technology to boost their productivity and upskill their knowledge.

No Scaling Worries

Retail warehouse managers constantly struggle to align labor capacity with fluctuating order volumes, especially during peak season. With AMRs, you can easily scale up your fleet to meet seasonal spikes or inventory swells.

With our robots-as-a-service (RaaS) model, you only pay for the number of bots you need monthly based on your volumes and throughput targets. When peak hits, temporarily expand your fleet to make sure you’re able to meet SLAs and get those orders out on time.

Scaling AMRs up and down to perfectly match each phase of operational needs keeps you from over-investing in fixed assets like conveyors that sit idle between surges. That flexibility can bring welcome peace of mind to a worried retail warehouse manager’s mind.

No Data and Analytics Worries

Losing visibility into warehouse operations is another automation fear that retail warehouse managers express. “If the robots take over critical material handling and inventory management workflows, how can we stay on top of KPIs and execution?”

Modern automation solutions like AMR give you more control instead of less through advanced business intelligence. Rich dashboards provide transparency into metrics like items moved, robotic paths taken, inventory quantity and location, peak traffic zones, and more. Drill into details or zoom out to assess overall facility effectiveness.

Integrations with your WMS and ERP allow constant data interchange so you always have an accurate record of inventory flow and robot tasks. This real-time analytics allows optimizing workflows perpetually rather than blind automation. Insights remain at your fingertips.

How Locus Robotics Lowers Automation Anxiety

As warehouse managers weigh the benefits of robotic automation, AMRs like our LocusBots make the decision a no-brainer. LocusBots enhance retail warehouse workflows because they seamlessly collaborate with staff rather than attempt to replicate human judgment. Powerful software and analytics keep you on top of things as robots and associates work to take care of the order picking and putaway in your warehouse.

The ability to scale capacity up and down as business cycles change provides peace of mind no matter what demands the future brings. Once LocusBots get rolling in your facility, you’ll be high-fiving your robot teammates as productivity soars!

Want to learn how Locus Robotics can upgrade your workflows while avoiding disruption. Let’s talk! Here’s to embracing the automated future with open arms instead of fear!