When customers shop online today, about half end up buying something from Amazon. How can other businesses compete with this market share, especially when Amazon is able to offer two-day shipping and a massive inventory? The answer is warehouse robotics.
Gaining a competitive edge in today’s warehousing industry means optimizing operations. Warehouses need to be able to operate efficiently without compromising quality or accuracy. Warehouse robots are the key to successfully streamlining operations. There are a few benefits in particular that stem from the more widespread use of robots in the warehouse.
As of 2021, an estimated 80% of warehouses still have no automation technology at all. This is shocking considering the fact that warehouse robots can lead to incredible improvements in productivity and efficiency. This is especially important in today’s supply chain, which requires high agility, speed, and accuracy. By adopting more robots, warehouses can give themselves a steep competitive advantage.
In fact, accelerated delivery times are one of the top benefits of warehouse automation. Robots are able to perform the same task over and over again without diminishing returns. This is a capability that humans simply don’t have. Of course, humans have many other unique capabilities that robots don’t have. Combining the two effectively is the key to maximizing warehouse efficiency and productivity.
For instance, a warehouse manager might notice that her employees are getting injured on the job more than the industry average. Her team is understaffed, but she’s having trouble finding new employees, a problem 73% of other warehouse operators are facing. If the warehouse manager was able to offer her employees more break time, they would be able to do their jobs more effectively, reducing injuries. Plus, she might be able to attract more new employees, as well.
Robots can bridge this gap. This warehouse manager could have robots act as couriers, fetching goods from around the warehouse and bringing them to employees to reduce fatigue.
Similarly, robots could be used to move heavy items or unload trucks. Meanwhile, employees could focus on things like inventory management, quality control, and maintaining a good customer experience. Everyone will be able to be more productive because robots are providing a consistent, reliable efficiency boost that reduces strain in key areas of warehouse operations.
One of robotics’ greatest strengths is consistency. Robots can consistently perform the same task with the same results innumerable times. Warehouses are usually highly organized, structured environments, which is great for robots. By bringing in more robots, warehouses can reduce errors and waste by harnessing robots’ ability to consistently deliver accuracy.
For instance, say a warehouse manager chooses to adopt some courier robots to shuttle items to employees around the warehouse. One of these robots might have to run the same exact route dozens or hundreds of times per day. A robot can do this without getting lost, losing focus, forgetting items, or slowing down. Additionally, adding robots to warehouse floors can help minimize risk of accidents.
By contrast, a human employee is bound to get distracted and tired sooner or later, which is only natural. Unfortunately, this leads to waste, both in terms of materials and time. An employee who is tired on the job is more likely to receive or cause an injury, make mistakes, or cause accidents. This can lead to time wasted correcting errors or money wasted replacing damaged goods.
One of the most common stereotypes about robots in the workplace is that robots are going to “steal” everyone’s jobs. This stigma can make warehouse managers reluctant to bring in more robots out of concern for employees.
However, as mentioned above, many warehouse operators are struggling to find enough employees. With warehouses understaffed, the smaller teams of employees have to do more work to compensate for the lack of adequate support.
This is a situation where robots could be an incredible help to employees. Far from stealing their jobs, robots can vastly improve the employee experience. This is vital for a successful warehouse operation, especially in today’s high-intensity supply chain.
In fact, studies have even proven that warehouse employees appreciate robots in the workplace. Harvard University found that warehouse workers experienced greater safety, efficiency, productivity, and overall work quality thanks to warehouse robots. These benefits could have a huge impact on employee wellness, both mentally and physically.
Finally, warehouse robots can ultimately result in lower operating costs, thanks to all of the other benefits combined. With the right team of robots to help out, warehouse operators can succeed with a smaller staff. So, money is saved on labor expenses, including wages as well as things like insurance, taxes, and hiring costs. Plus, employees will experience fewer accidents on the job since robots make warehouse work safer. This reduces injury-related expenses.
Additionally, warehouse robots reduce money wasted on replacing damaged goods and equipment. Lower rates of accidents and errors can even reduce money spent on buying excess goods to account for those damages.
Plus, if robots are assigned to help with inventory management, warehouse managers can ensure that no goods are wasted by accident, such as perishable goods. There are all sorts of areas where warehouse managers can integrate robots.
Thanks to the overall efficiency of robots, warehouses can also ensure all of their resources are being used in the most efficient way possible. For instance, robots charge efficiently to minimize electricity consumption. Basic operating materials, such as boxes and shipping cartons, go to waste less often because robots operate more consistently and cause accidental damage far more infrequently.
Overall, robots allow warehouses to operate in the most efficient way possible in terms of resources, goods, and productivity. The many benefits of robots result in fewer preventable expenses for warehouses, reducing operating costs.
Today’s supply chain demands speed and precision from warehouses. Robots are the key to accomplishing this without overworking employees or compromising customer satisfaction. Warehouse managers who invest in larger teams of robots can give their employees a better working experience and improve productivity and efficiency all around. Warehouse robots offer an invaluable support team that can take warehouse operations to a whole new level.