The majority of warehousing decision makers face common challenges: accurately tracking inventory in and out of the facility, excessive material handling causing damage or product quality issues, inefficient space utilization and more. The sheer number of moving pieces in any logistics operation means that one wrong step could trickle down into all other areas of the supply chain. One way that many companies are looking to solve these issues is through automation.
So what is warehouse automation and how can you get started? Here’s what you need to know:
A warehouse can be automated in a number of different ways, but the most common two involve either integrating automation systems into existing warehouses or building new facilities that are designed entirely to be automated.
In either scenario, the technology behind automated warehousing can help your business run smoother and smarter:
- Automated Storage / Retrieval System (AS/RS)– AS/RS technology is a modernized warehousing and storage solution. Typically, these systems are made up of technologies including layer picking, conveyors, storage/retrieval machines (S/RMs) and pallet flow systems, to name a few. With AS/RS, the entire warehouse process can be automated from production through outbound staging and shipping and everything in between.
- Automated technology like conveyors and layer picking not only makes the production, storage and distribution processes more efficient, it also reduces the number of touches on a particular product, which can improve product accuracy, quality and freshness.
- 仓库执行系统（WES）- A WES uses real-time data to optimize material flow throughout your warehouse, continuously providing an efficient use of space and equipment. The cloud-based data analytics offered with a WES increases order accuracy, reduces losses, and boosts throughput and productivity—and can be integrated seamlessly into your existing technology!
- Integrating a high-density AS/RS with a WES can help warehouses better manage their inventory all while receiving accurate, real-time information on products moving throughout the warehouse.
Are there downsides to automation?
What’s in it for me?
Despite initial costs, warehouse automation will prove to be the smartest decision you can make for your business. Here’s why:
- Efficiency- Automated systems speed up warehouse processes in order fulfillment and shipping, meaning you can take on more orders and push more orders out the door sooner.
- 准确性- By bringing your warehouse management into the cloud, it removes the inevitability of human error. This means more accurate order and inventory tracking with less need for product handling that can lead to contamination or damage.
- Flexibility- When demand skyrockets and your operation isn’t equipped to handle it, an automated warehouse uses WES software to predict ebbs and flows and best manage the fast-changing elements within a warehouse.
- 安全– While improved efficiency normally means your employees working harder and faster, having an automated system means you have machines doing the heavy lifting for you, turning what could have been a safety hazard into a risk-free boost in productivity.
- Smaller Footprint- 无论您是想最大程度地减少平方英尺还是降低能源的使用或成本，AS/RS都设计为更有效地使用空间。Westfalia的高密度自动化技术使仓库可以将托盘储存高达12个位置，通常可以支撑高达140英尺高的机架。与传统仓库相比，这可以将能源使用量减少50％，并将所需的空间降低40％。
Where do you go from here?
Every warehouse is different, facing unique challenges that need customized solutions. Westfalia’s dedicated team of experts is here to help find the right solution to fits your unique needs.
Our team’s approach starts with a comprehensive data analysis, which allows us to take a deep dive into how your business operates and find the right solution for your business needs. Reach out to our team to start the conversation today!
仍然不确定仓库自动化是否适合您？你可以看看our customers’ success stories这里。