In the transporting and warehouse industry, a whopping $84 million is spent per week for serious and non-fatal injuries. To put it into perspective, that’s over 23 billion tall cinnamon dolce lattes from Starbucks being bought every single week. That’s a lot of coffee.
In addition to workers getting injured, supply chain companies are juggling other problems as well. For example, repetitive manual labor can lead to problems such as inaccurate inventory, altering the end consumer’s experience. Space utilization affects the flow of operations, increasing the amount of time to pick and package items. Also, the driving labor costs from highly manual labored tasks can be invested elsewhere.
Innovation in Supply Chain is happening. Don't be left behind - join our platform today.
With alternate solutions like hiring more people to fulfill orders and finding products that can help temporarily solve those long term problems, the strong need for innovative change within warehouses are even more apparent than ever. With the rise of new technology and automation around the world, the implementation of warehouse automation technology is used to help streamline company operations for a more sustainable future.
In fact, some companies are already deeming warehouse automation technology to be very impactful and have been creating large strides using technology to provide a better, safer and more optimized working environment.
How Impactful is Warehouse Automation Technology?
There’s no longer a need of having workers as the primary source of labor within a warehouse. In fact, new and innovative automation technology is changing the supply chain. So what is warehouse automation?
Warehouse automation is the process where inventory movement, within and throughout warehouses is made with little to no human assistance needed.
This innovation alone provides multiple proven benefits: reduction of warehousing errors including miscounts and damages caused by humans, reduction of warehouse labor and overhead costs and an increase in predictable fulfillment processes and productivity.
Reduction of Warehouse Errors
Human errors are inevitable within warehousing occupations. With robotics and AI being the solution, workers can be put into more sustainable valued tasks to prevent future humanized errors.
Reduction of Warehouse Labor & Overhead Costs
Additionally, workplace injuries are bound to happen. Ultimately, this leads to paying for workers comp, hiring more employees. And this can happen to others. Robotics can help eliminate this problem, however. They can handle heavy loads while under stress and problems are easily resolved if they do occur.
Increase in Fulfillment Processes & Productivity
Extensive fulfillment processes can create time-consuming, expensive and inefficient outcomes. Fortunately, the implementation of robotics and software automation can reduce humanized error, ultimately leading to an increase of smoother operations. This provides the potential of utilizing warehouse space more efficiently than workers as it lowers the need for manual labor.
Warehouse Automation Technology: The Reality
Now, let’s address the big concern: if warehouse automation technologies are taking away tasks from humans, does that mean employees aren’t needed in warehouses?
Although the upfront costs are significant, warehouse automation technology is based on software, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). Workers can focus less on labor-intensive tasks and find ways to improve and maintain these robotics. This results in a scalable process by increasing a totality of better efficiencies, speed, reliability and accuracy, leaving daunting tasks to technology while adding more value-based tasks to workers.
Some of these value-based tasks include operating the robotics, repairing and maintaining robotics, managing software automation processes, alerting customer service about product delays, preventing bottlenecks and more.
To give you a better idea on how robotics can help, Amazon utilizes this technology to increase warehouse efficiency. This resulted in their “click to ship” cycle to be reduced from 60 minutes to 15 minutes, hold 50% more inventory, and save $22M in each warehouse that was deployed. Despite the value that robotics can bring, Amazon’s hire count also increased, proving that even with the investment of robotics, human workers are still necessary within warehouses.
Year over Year % growth in hiring vs revenue -medium.com
The impactfulness of warehouse automation technology is apparent to companies and can make breakthrough changes in collaboration with innovative-focused startups.
The 8 Startups Driving Innovation in Warehouse Automation Technology
Slip Robotics is solving inefficiencies in short-haul logistics using a robot as a service business model. They have developed a robotic solution for improving repetitive short-haul routes that significantly reduces forklift labor, truck driver labor, and lead times in logistics.
We're experts in driving innovation in supply chain. Join us and meet warehouse automation startups like Ware.
Ware is an enterprise-grade supply chain digitization platform building technology at the intersection of robotics and machine learning, leveraging the power of drones to transform the way warehouses and distribution centers accomplish the critical task of tracking inventory.
WAKU Robotics facilitates access to mobile autonomous robots through a unique combination of digital solutions for the selection, planning and procurement of the optimal robot solution.
Leverage delivers end-to-end supply chain management powered by AI. Their cost-efficient and quality solutions help reduce margins and increase revenue by streamlining communication, collaboration, reporting, insights and more.
Gideon Brothers provides safe, collaborative, mobile-material handling automation solutions that help companies transition into intelligent enterprises, bringing their people, systems, and self-driving robots together into orchestrated, collaborative workflows in a growing environment.
Navflex is automating loading and unloading operations in a simple, quick and affordable manner through transforming material handling equipment into Intelligent Mobile Robots optimized for handling challenges of the loading ramp.
Dapster AI is building a teleoperated pick-and-place mobile robot for operators of large-scale warehouses. Dapster's solution can reduce labor costs by more than 76%, making warehouse jobs safer and more accessible.
BionicHIVE is developing a unique solution based on a swarm-controlled robotic fleet, targeting the material handling, supply chain and logistics markets.
Warehouse Automation Technology: The Future Norm
The upwards usage of warehouse automation technology will change the warehouse environment drastically. By investing in digital products and robotics, the efficiency of the overall business will increase and prevent humanized errors. The landscape of improvements will be endless for warehouses as a whole. The future of warehouse automation allows for a much safer and errorless work environment while providing a positive and smoother process, ultimately helping serve their consumer the best possible way they can.
We connect corporations and startups to drive innovation. Discoverexamples of innovation in the supply chain fostered by the Plug and Play Supply Chain program.