What is Warehouse Automation?

These days, technology is impacting virtually every industry, especially third party warehousing. Because of the rise of Amazon, the visibility of warehouse automation and how it changes the way warehouses store, track, and move product has accelerated. What, exactly, is warehouse automation, and what does it mean for you as a user or customer of a third party user?

In simplest terms, warehouse automation is the application of specialized equipment and storage and retrieval systems to perform the tasks previously handled by unskilled and semi-skilled labor. As the term suggests, it is the automation of repetitive processes which previously required labor. Through the use of robotics, automated systems can unload products or trailers or manufacturing/processing lines, as well as store and retrieve products on demand — all without the direct participation of labor.

Is It All Done by Robots?

Warehouse automation did not originate from a Ray Bradbury science fiction novel. It does not mean robots are taking over or that people will no longer have jobs But it does change who or what performs what tasks within the warehouse Automation facilitates the change to people handling value-added tasks rather than physically operating forklifts or pallet jacks for repetitive moves. Warehousemen are now free to focus on value-added services, particularly focusing on count, quality, and outbound load stability.

Benefits to Clients

Warehouse automation does more than just make our employees’ job easier. The benefits are passed to customers in a number of ways. For example:

  • More efficient warehousing reduces errors of damage and miscounts so that orders are fulfilled more accurately.
  • Automated warehousing makes forecasting fulfillment processes more predictable so scheduling an increasingly more expensive resource, transportation, more reliable.
  • Automation can reduce warehouse labor and overhead, providing the margin to invest in and maintain the automated facility itself.

To learn more about ABW’s warehouse services, contact us today.