When properly planned and carried out, a warehouse automation project can increase a company’s profitability and efficiency. Determining the right technology, tools and strategies is crucial to automating your company’s warehouse. Without the proper tools and processes, your warehouse automation efforts could lead to more work and increased frustration. Investing in the right technology and creating the proper automation procedures will ensure that your warehouse automation project comes out on-time, on-budget, and meet’s the expectations of upper management.
According to a study performed by the Aberdeen group, companies who adopt warehouse automation solutions are better off than those who do not. Warehouse automation solutions can have a profound impact on picking accuracy, order turn-around times, labor costs, productivity, and profitability. Top-performing companies are moving on from manual processes to automated processes, and they are implementing key warehouse automation technologies (such as barcode labeling, RFID technology, and voice-picking).
These companies have implemented an effective inventory control system and have created sustainable processes and procedures to support their warehouse automation efforts. While it has been proven that warehouse automation can improve a company’s profitability and performance, the adoption rates of warehouse automation have remained surprisingly low. Some companies are concerned about the high price of implementing new technology, and others view warehouse automation as a complicated task.
The truth is, warehouse automation does not have to be pricey or complicated.
Warehouse automation requires companies to evaluate their current processes and adjust their processes for maximum efficiency. This can involve implementing barcoding solutions, such as Scanco’s Sage 100 barcoding software (formerly Sage MAS 90 barcoding software and Sage MAS 200 barcoding software), to automate the inventory control process or creating new warehouse processes and procedures.
Consider the following best practices of warehouse automation used by the top-performing warehouses across the world:[gearlist]
- Organize and Maintain the Warehouse
More often than not, the organization of a warehouse rarely makes sense. From picking methods that aren’t appropriate for the industry to bin locations that increase workload, there are many ways in which warehouse efficiency may be decreased by a warehouse’s current processes. If you suspect that your processes are not at the level at which they should be, you should consider reorganizing your warehouse. This could include revisiting bin locations, re-evaluating your current picking methods, and implementing cycle counts to replace the once-a-year inventory count.
- Implement Warehouse Automation Tools
Warehouse technology has come a long way. With the help of barcode scanners and barcoding software, manufacturing companies can now automatically update their systems with the most current product information. Companies can implement barcode software, handheld devices for scanning barcode labels, and barcode label printers to achieve their warehouse automation goals. These tools will enable companies to fully implement barcoding strategies and reach a new level of efficiency.
- Evaluate Current Processes
Manufacturing companies should regularly evaluate their processes to ensure that they support the company’s automation efforts. If your company is still operating by manual processes, sit down and discuss your options with upper management. By eliminating manual processes and implementing automated procedures, your company will experience a boost in productivity and – in time – profitability.
As you can see, automating your warehouse processes does not require you to shell out a large amount of money or time. By investing in the right technology and incorporating the above warehouse automation best practices into your warehouse automation plan, your company can start realizing higher profit sooner rather than later.
For more tips on automating your warehouse processes, stay tuned to our blog.