By Mary Hart
The rapid pace of e-commerce growth following the start of the pandemic and the increasing demand for faster product delivery, thanks to the expectations of next day (or even same day) delivery, have elevated the role and importance of warehouses in the supply chain.
Warehouse managers are at the center of this action and they face daily increased pressure and headaches to ensure operational efficiency, reduce costs, and meet deadlines — all while dealing with high turnover and other labor challenges. Many managers are finding themselves overwhelmed and, dare I say, miserable — which might be why you googled to find this blog in the first place.
I can’t send you an Advil or Tylenol for your headache, but I can show you that you’re not alone in your warehouse woes, and provide a solution that can help you ease your pain.
5 Reasons for Warehouse Managers’ Misery
Ever-growing demands: The surge in e-commerce orders means that there are more products that you need to stock, track, pick, pack, and ship than ever before. Meeting these demands requires meticulous planning and resource allocation.
Human resource challenges: Warehouses often have high turnover rates, requiring constant training of new personnel if you can even find new people to hire. Additionally, you have to grapple with scheduling shifts, worker safety, and handling interpersonal conflicts.
Mistakes and inefficiencies: Manual processes are prone to errors. A mispicked item or a misplaced stock can snowball into delayed shipments, customer complaints, and returns, all of which impact your bottom line.
Space constraints: With the increasing volume of goods, many warehouses are running out of space. Efficient space utilization becomes a constant puzzle for managers.
Pressure to cut costs: Amidst all these challenges, there is the ever-present mandate to reduce your warehouse’s operational costs and improve margins.
So, what’s the solution? It’s not hiring more people because you can’t do that, and it’s not over-working the workers you do have. It’s augmenting the workers you do have and making their lives – and your life – better.
You need warehouse automation to help you with your warehouse and fulfillment center woes — and specifically robots in the form of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).
Fix Your Warehouse Woes with Robotic Automation
Automation, particularly through robotics, is fast emerging as the way to help managers save their sanity (there won’t be any “Here’s Johnny” moments through a warehouse door) while also working to optimize operations, reduce costs, and enhance efficiency.
Precision and Accuracy: In the demanding world of warehousing, mistakes can have cascading effects on your entire supply chain. Enter automation — when AMRs work alongside their human coworkers and provide detailed information on items (including pictures) to be picked or putaway, impeccable accuracy occurs. This results in a sharp decrease in errors, ensuring shipments are always accurate and eliminating the subsequent headaches of returns and customer dissatisfaction.
Efficient Space Utilization: Warehouses, especially in prime locations, can be expensive to maintain. Making optimal use of every square inch becomes critical and if you can’t build out or move to a new location, you can go vertical with mezzanines and pick towers. With the agility of AMRs, navigating tight and very narrow aisles becomes a breeze. The outcome? Your warehouse can store more goods and increase your pick density without needing to expand your footprint.
Increased Throughput: E-commerce has brought along the challenge of rapid order fulfillment and robots working alongside humans are perfectly poised to meet this challenge. With the addition of AMRs to handle walking and carrying, human workers can do work faster and improve both productivity and cycle times.
Reduction in Labor Challenges: The warehousing industry often grapples with high turnover rates and the physical toll of push-pull injuries that tasks can take on human workers. AMRs take on the physically demanding tasks to reduce the strain on human workers. By doing so, they not only lower the risk of injuries but also enhance employee morale, addressing the issue of high turnover.
Scalability for the Future: The warehouse and fulfillment center landscape is ever-evolving, with periods of growth and expansion. Traditional warehousing solutions can often become a bottleneck during these phases and don’t provide any flexibility for scale. However, with automation and AMRs, scaling up becomes an easier endeavor. As your business grows, integrating more robots into the operations, which can quickly be done with robots-as-a-service (RaaS), can enhance your warehouse’s capabilities without a need for drastic infrastructural changes.
As a warehouse manager, you have a full plate – in fact, it can often feel like it’s overflowing. When you combine the everyday challenges of warehouse management with the increasing pressures of modern commerce, it can make your role overwhelming. However, warehouse automation, and AMRs in particular, offers a promising solution to many of these issues.
By leveraging AMRs and the Locus Solution from Locus Robotics, your warehouse can be transformed into a streamlined, error-minimized facility that retains employees while improving productivity and daily operations. With automation and robotics, you’ll be able to navigate your current challenges (without having to reach for an aspirin), and your facility will be better equipped for the peaks and valleys of the warehouse world. Talk to us to learn how the Locus solution can help you sleep better at night, knowing that your warehouse is running like a well-oiled machine.