Nowadays, increased consumer demand has forced many businesses to adapt and develop new strategies. This is especially true when it comes to the retail and eCommerce sectors. That being said, global e-commerce sales reached $4.28 trillion in 2020 and that number is projected to reach 6.3 trillion by 2024. People simply find convenience in shopping online so it’s only natural that they’ll want more of it. Companies that deliver products directly to consumers must ensure a swift and reliable way to meet consumer expectations. Considering that consumers prefer boons, such as same-day or next-day deliveries, companies need an efficient way to procure, store and deliver goods on time. That’s why there’s a major focus on the entire supply chain and logistics behind it all. Now, all of this would be impossible to achieve without the help of modern technology. This is where automation plays a vital role. Automated storage solutions are designed to maximize efficiency when it comes to optimizing various warehouse processes.
Everything can be powered by sophisticated software that ensures proper storage and retrieval of various goods and products.
With that in mind, let’s check out some of the major benefits of these automated storage solutions.
1. Reduced operational costs
Most of the automated storage solutions are powered by machines and robotics. This equipment is essential when it comes to maximizing efficiency. In most cases, some of the machines can replace human workers and thus reduce labor costs.
However, automated storage solutions aren’t designed to replace human workers altogether but instead help the workers do their job more efficiently.
When workers have to retrieve the goods from the warehouse, they have to manually walk to the destination, pick up the goods and retrieve them to the conveyor or manually pack them in the supply truck.
This time is wasted on walking and puts a lot of strain on your employees. Most workers travel for miles during their shift. Any wasted time increases operational costs.
But when a machine can retrieve the goods instead of employees, the whole process is improved tenfold. That means no more walking or time wasted on searching for the right goods.
The equipment is optimized to retrieve goods at specified intervals, meaning that employees can focus on picking and sorting of goods. There’s no throughput loss and automated systems can ensure optimal operational costs.
2. Efficient floor space utilizing
Most company owners believe that automated storage solutions are designed to pick and deliver goods. However, that’s not true.
Automated storage solutions have various purposes aside from their original design. One of those purposes is to ensure the utilization of floor space as efficiently as possible.
This is especially true for automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/AR) that utilize vertical lift modules or horizontal carousels. Therefore, regardless of the warehouse layout or the floor space available, you’ll always be able to maximize storage capacity.
This is extremely important for small businesses that cannot afford large warehouses but they want to remain competitive on the market. There’s a solution for any type of business need when it comes to maximizing space efficiency.
Automated storage solutions are designed to be practical in every sense of the word. They’re not just designed to automate manual and repetitive tasks but also to improve various processes and maximize efficiency.
3. Reduced human error
It’s no secret that one of the major issues that occur in every environment is human error. People make mistakes and that’s okay. However, sometimes even a minor mistake can cost a business a lot of money.
Just imagine an overworked employee mistakenly switching packages just before delivery.
This doesn’t just reflect on operational and overhead costs. It also reflects on business reputation. A customer gets the wrong goods; they become outraged so they leave a negative review on your website and social media pages.
All of this can cost the business a lot of money in one way or another. Automated storage solutions can minimize and mitigate these risks by reducing human error.
As mentioned before, all the machines are powered by software. It ensures that machinery will pick the right goods and deliver them to the right place.
A machine cannot make a mistake unless it’s programmed to do so. Moreover, machines can operate 24/7 without showing signs of fatigue. Last but not least, automated solutions provide enhanced security.
You can program the warehouse security system to allow only the authorized personnel to be present at the warehouse at any given moment, provided they have the right credentials. That way, any misplaced or stolen goods can be easily traced back to specific individuals who were present when the issue occurred.
4. Improved inventory management
One of the most important factors in the entire supply chain is inventory management. Automated storage solutions can create a clean and safe environment where the goods will be stored and processed.
Moreover, you can integrate software solutions, such as a warehouse management system or enterprise resource planning system that will further boost your inventory control and management capabilities. This will allow you to closely monitor stock levels in real-time.
You can, therefore, procure additional products or goods before you ran out of stock. In addition, you can create ideal conditions and the necessary environment for your goods. This is especially true if there are food and beverages in your inventory.
This will allow you to monitor temperature, humidity and even dust levels to ensure your products remain fresh until they are ready to be delivered. That being said, automated storage solutions have multiple features that will allow you to streamline processes and have a better control over your inventory and stock.
5. Improved productivity
The primary purpose of automated storage solutions is to help automate mundane and repetitive tasks. This will allow your employees to save time and focus on more important tasks. However, there’s always more you can do to improve the overall productivity within your company.
Automated systems can go beyond repetitive tasks.
You can automate entire workflows and orchestrate them into an effective system that ensures maximum efficiency, productivity and performance. You can optimize packaging, labeling, picking and retrieval of goods the best way possible and automate it all.
A good example is an increase in pick throughput by automating specific processes. For instance, manual picking can extend to a maximum of 50 per hour, which isn’t bad at all.
However, if you automate batch picking that allows machines to group orders based on common items, the order line fulfillment rate can go up to 400 per hour. That’s 8 times more than what can be achieved through manual labor. That’s why automation is crucial for improving overall productivity.
Without help from modern technology, companies simply wouldn’t be able to meet the increased consumer demand.
Fortunately, automated systems and robotics help improve not just warehouse processes, such as storage and retrievals but also help improve entire supply chains.
Nowadays, entire logistics depend on the efficiency of software and machinery that make everything possible, to begin with. That’s why automated storage solutions are there to not just optimize your business but to help it grow and develop further as well.
Danny Wilson is a digital marketing specialist and a content writer at DigitalStrategyOne.
Focused around SEO, he is also dedicated to creating high quality content for social media and marketing in general.