By Mary Hart
Warehouse automation holds great promise for increasing productivity and efficiency while counteracting continuing challenges of labor costs and shortages, peak seasons and fluctuating order volumes, and demanding SLAs.
But some warehouse and fulfillment center managers (and employees!) may still be nervous about deploying robots or other automation into their facilities. Here are 10 common fears managers may have, along with perspectives to help overcome them.
Upfront investment in robots can be daunting and hurt your warehouse’s bottom line. But with our robots-as-a-service (RaaS) subscription models, costs shift to flexible operating expenses aligned with your warehouse’s business needs. Shortened ROI timeframes also make projects more financially feasible.
While no solution is maintenance-free, today’s robots are designed for simplicity. With cloud-based software, deployments can start quickly. Vendors also provide support resources to smooth operations.
Also, training is a breeze with our AMRs. Human workers can understand how to work with our display screens and technology in just 15 minutes instead of the days and weeks it can take with other systems.
Security and privacy should always be top of mind. Reputable vendors employ encryption, access controls, and other measures to safeguard systems. Proper IT diligence is still needed, as with any technology.
Warehouses and fulfillment centers trust us to increase their efficiency and pick more units each day. That’s why we work every day to strengthen and keep that trust through ongoing security and compliance reviews, certifications, policies, and best practices.
Robots can seem rigid, but many are highly configurable and adaptable. For example, AMRs can be easily reassigned to new workflows (like picking, putaway, and point-to-point transport) or locations as needs change. Built-in flexibility ensures long-term utility.
No automation tool is an island. But open architectures, APIs and experienced integration teams make it straightforward to connect new technologies with existing WMS and other core systems.
Change can be uncomfortable. Rollouts should emphasize how automation assists workers, instead of replacing them. Hands-on exposure and training also ease anxieties and build operator confidence.
Human workers love working alongside our AMRs. The robots create a “cool” factor in the warehouse or fulfillment center and workers can be upskilled into positions at the facility that better use their brain.
Robots are best suited for dangerous, strenuous, and tedious jobs, freeing up humans for more complex, strategic work. The goal is to augment human capabilities, not replace them.
With warehouse and fulfillment center automation in the form of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) from Locus Robotics, the robots work alongside the humans instead of replacing them.
Safety is the top priority with any industrial equipment. Robots feature multiple safety sensors like LiDAR, collision avoidance, and other features to operate safely around people. Proper training and procedures are still essential.
Automation reduces human errors, but no system is infallible. The key is implementing checks and balances, such as validation steps and sensors to verify operations. This delivers consistent, superior quality.
With our AMRs working alongside human workers, warehouses and fulfillment centers have actually improved their accuracy rates to 99.9%.
Lack of Support
Vendors should provide responsive technical support, operational resources and staff training. Seek partners willing to be actively involved in your success. Strong cooperation is key.
Automation fears are normal. But looking at the facts alongside benefits like improved productivity and worker safety and health can help managers embrace warehouse automation confidently. With the right perspective and partners, automation can transform operations for the better.
Ready to start thinking about automation? Watch our on-demand SupplyChainBrain webinar, “I Need to Add Automation: So, Now What?”, to learn more.