ROBOTIC LOADERS AND UNLOADERS
In the warehousing industry, one of the most dangerous andinjury-prone jobs is manually loading and unloading producton the loading dock. Not only is this job challenging for employers to find labor in the currently small labor pool, but thisjob also sees an extremely high turnover rate. Robotic loadersand unloaders lower logistics costs, increase productivity andallow manual workers to be placed in positions of higher value, which helps to reduce turnover in the warehouse.
Robotic loaders and unloaders require very little manualsupervision and are easy to integrate with the existing infrastructure in the warehouse. The robot’s intricate sensing anddiagnostics improve the efficiency of downstream processesby discharging products in a semi-singulated flow and canstop potential problems before they happen.z
AUTOMATED STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL
Automated storage and retrieval systems offer a flexibleand highly scalable solution that can retrieve and transferproduct in storage to save space and allow for an increasedinventory through optimal storage density. Automated storageand retrieval systems are diverse and can be in systems suchas shuttles, carousels, cranes, vertical lift modules, unit-loads,and mini-loads.
AS/RS technology completes its assigned tasks with accuracy, precision and speed, making it much more productiveand efficient than manually storing and retrieving product.
WAREHOUSE EXECUTION SYSTEMS (WES)
Warehouse execution systems are capable of orchestrating nearly every aspect of the order fulfillment lifecycle:from disparate automation systems and integrated processes to labor management, workload balancing and real-timedecision-making. WES is a reactive solution that allows orders to continuously flow to maximize efficiency. Havinga broad range of functionality is an advantage for this typeof technology, resulting in warehouse execution systemsbeing able to see data throughout the warehouse to adjustits functionality to meet the needs of the environment atany given time.
Retail DCs primarily use automated palletizers and depallet-
izers in the shipping process, as well as storing and retrieving
product. Automated palletizers and depalletizers can handle a
continuous flow of mixed-SKU or single-SKU pallets through
the implementation of computer vision and machine learning
algorithms. They help to create flexibility in retail DCs, boost
warehouse productivity, and reduce worker injuries.
In addition to robotic and automated solutions helping tosupport manual operations in retail DCs by increasing productivity and efficiency, they also help to improve turnoverrates in the warehouse. Not only are many of the jobs in thewarehouse setting tedious and monotonous but some pose ahigh risk of injury, as well. Robotic and automated solutionssolve both problems by taking primary control of tasks andplacing workers in roles that are of greater importance. Theintegration of robotic and automated solutions in retail DCsnot only enhances productivity and efficiency but can also improve employee satisfaction, which in turn improves turnoverrates to help the industry recover from labor shortages.
Automation is the future, and the time to jump on board isnow. Automated solutions are not trying to replace the manualworkforce but aim to simplify everyday processes and easethe demand of employees. Having manual employees presentin the warehouse is still necessary and important but integrating technology into the operations process is an absolute mustin today’s industry.
Order volumes and consumer demands are at the highestlevels since the onset of e-commerce, and as the holiday season approaches, there are no signs of demand slowing down.Robotics and automated solutions are the key to supportingDCs’ higher production volumes and maximizing operationalproductivity. MH&L
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