- Companies are noticing a rise in the potential of warehouse robots to streamline operations.
- Warehouse robotics integrated into a company’s technology landscape helps to achieve maximum data collection capability.
- Choose areas of your warehouse that can strategically benefit from warehouse robotics and data collection.
In answer to the ever-present labor challenges and supply chain issues, many companies are streamlining operations with an underutilized technology: warehouse robots. Current research indicates that just over 50% of respondents are using robots in their plants or warehouses right now. Many, however, have plans to use them in the next three years, or have at least included them on a technology roadmap within three or more years.
Visit an Amazon warehouse and you’ll see that this technology has become commonplace. There are more than a dozen types of Amazon warehouse robots in their facilities, with more than 520,000 robotic drive units deployed.
As warehouses look to scale operations, task performance is not the only benefit provided by robots. Robotics tied into mission-critical business operations present an opportunity for data collection that informs current initiatives to further streamline operations toward the goal of creating a truly mobile warehouse.
Here’s what to keep in mind as you leverage robots for data collection.
Integrate Warehouse Robotics into Your Full Technical Landscape
The most important thing you can do when utilizing warehouse robots is to integrate them into your systems so that they include data collection for your ERP. Robotics such as drones, helper co-bots, autonomous mobile robots in the warehouse, and a variety of IoT devices can collect data
and deliver it to your systems. And many systems today offer integrations for these devices as well. Take, for instance, a food product company that uses Laser Guided Vehicles. Coupled with RFgen Mobile Foundations, they were able to direct the LGVs and transact their paths against their ERP. The result was an increase in worker productivity of 20%.
Other businesses use robotics for similar purposes. Smart scales can collect and send data to an ERP to help automatically load balance trucks. Conveyors and sortation devices can be programmed to both collect and act on insights. Robotic picking systems free workers for more valuable tasks. The list goes on.
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Look for Ways to Incorporate Specific Robotics into Your Processes
The best way to include warehouse robotics in your operation and data collection strategies is by examining where you have the most need. Start by identifying where you’ll see the most impact and where you’ll experience the best return on your investment (ROI). For instance, a robotic picking system can have a high return on investment for money, time, and people. Key to achieving ROI is integration with mobile barcoding software for data collection. This integration supplies essential data to optimize operations for maximum robotic productivity, ensure accurate stock levels, and improve planning and decision-making.
When it comes to choosing a robotic warehouse picking system, look for one that couples with your mobile data collection solution. Seamless coupling can bolster operations and protect against the unpredictable, a common factor in today’s volatile supply chain environment.
Utilizing Data Collection and Automation to Meet Next-Level Challenges
Warehouse robotics is still very much an emerging trend, as less than 30% of warehouses have fully deployed them. Using these robots for integrated data collection remains an immediate opportunity for those warehouses using them, and an opportunity for companies planning on adding robots to maximize their value right from the start.
Now is the time for companies to look toward how warehouse robots and data collection robots can provide next-level value to your organization.
This all begins with warehouse innovation initiatives that incorporate mobile automation and data collection alongside Industry 4.0 technology. When done correctly, the result is increased efficiency, enhanced operations, and preparation for what may come next