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Anticipated Warehouse Automation Developments in 2024


Example of Warehouse Automation Developments

According to industry experts, one of the major anticipated warehouse automation developments will be an expected increase in adoption over the next five years for various reasons, including a persistent labour shortage, a more integrated warehouse, and the introduction of superior and more affordable solutions.

Warehouse automation is critical in optimising warehouse space, reducing operational expenses, and enhancing safety, productivity, and process efficiency.

Even though these objectives continue to be of utmost importance to most warehouse managers in every industry, substantial progress still needs to be made regarding automation.

ROBO Global estimates that eighty per cent of warehouses are presently devoid of any type of automation. An additional 15% have implemented some level of automation, while a mere 5% have embraced more advanced technologies.

Despite these numbers, numerous industry experts predict that adoption will increase within the following five years. A number of factors, including an ongoing labour shortage, a more integrated facility, and the introduction of superior and more cost-effective solutions, will contribute to this upward trend.

The logistics sector has been experiencing a significant shortage of personnel for an extended time. Notwithstanding substantial recruitment endeavours encompassing supplementary incentives like sign-on bonuses and wage hikes, warehouses persistently encounter difficulties fulfilling demand. This is driving warehouse automation developments in the coming years.

“It would seem that working in a warehouse is not the most alluring profession as there is an exceptionally high turnover rate in the warehouse picking industry since very few individuals intend to establish a long-term career there”, according to Korber Supply Chain Software. “Moreover, competition for those workers is fiercely intense.”

Additional research indicates that a significant proportion of surveyed executives (57%) consider labour shortages to be the primary factor hindering their ability to meet consumer demand. 60% of executives stated they intended to augment their workforce to decrease fulfilment costs. Furthermore, a majority of the executives (47%) expressed their intention to augment investments in warehouse automation, while 52% intended to improve internal processes.

Organisations assert they cannot locate the workforce required to ship their products to customers. Some hold the view that the labour pool does not exist. Moreover, their ability to retain the current personnel is lacking. Companies are disclosing turnover rates of as high as thirty per cent. In contrast to the expansion and growth of businesses, the labour force is contracting. Consequently, this is what is generating interest in warehouse automation.

Software integration will be performed in the warehouse.

Each technology or solution in the contemporary warehouse is frequently connected independently to the warehouse management system. This causes operational divisions to form and makes the manual analysis of any data more difficult.

Organisations are transitioning to a unified software platform, empowering warehouses to streamline, implement, and standardise procedures across a vast array of technologies.

Organisations anticipate that incorporating technologies through a unified interface linked to a warehouse management system (WMS) will constitute a substantial element in the process of technology commoditisation and a pivotal stride towards a more efficient supply chain.

According to existing research, the continuous availability of sufficient support services is essential for effectively integrating automated machinery. This is a major consideration in any warehouse automation developments within their facilities.

Warehouse administrators may opt to delay or reduce the number of robots in operation due to the extended maintenance and repair schedules, leading to subsequent disruptions and time lag. To facilitate the widespread adoption of these emerging technologies, it will be necessary for providers of warehouse automation solutions to furnish their customers with sufficient training and support.

The rate of innovation in warehouse automation is currently at an unprecedented level, with the continuous introduction of more efficient and economical solutions into the market.

At this moment, when consumers are content and beginning to notice the implementation of standardisation, innovation has attained its zenith. The ROI is becoming shorter in length. In contrast to the previous requirement of at least 24 months, most of these automation and robotic solutions finish the process in approximately 18 months. Moreover, ROI will likely fall to twelve months within the next year or two; this will be a substantial adoption driver.

The business community’s reluctance to be early adopters has been another phase. Nevertheless, those who were quick to implement early automation solutions have contributed substantially to overcoming the challenges that accompanied such solutions.

Organisations are gaining more knowledge, and we have service providers who are proficient in technologies and can educate and implement them for the client. A multitude of tasks continue to be in the process of being developed. Although we have not yet reached a point where every robotics solution is being implemented, companies are making progress in that direction.

Three domains of innovation warrant close attention this year:

The feasibility of autonomous mobile robotics (AMR) is growing in tandem with the efforts of warehouses to satisfy consumer demand. AMRs are self-governing entities that can navigate a dynamic setting without depending on guidance mechanisms. They function in collaboration with other individuals who are present in the same corridors.

One of the advantages of these robots is that they can be installed in a facility without necessitating the disassembly of containers or the creation of a supplementary workspace.

Conventional automation techniques, which entail the physical attachment of equipment to the floor via bolts, provide negligible to no adaptability. 

Presently, there is a discernible trend towards more adaptable types of automation. By capitalising on mobile robotics, businesses can implement automation without needing permanent infrastructure and the ensuing financial burdens; this facilitates enduring scalability. Instead of designing and constructing a facility to meet demand for the next five years, it is more prudent to build for the current 12-month period and gradually expand the technology’s implementation in phases to accommodate rising demand.

In a picking environment, mobile robots also employ a multibody strategy, allowing for the decoupling of the labourer from the task at hand. It is no longer mandatory for employees to walk through each aisle to carry out their responsibilities. In contrast, the labourer is confined to a designated area and delegated duties to the robots as they complete the assignment. 

As an additional benefit to enhancing warehouse efficiency, AMRs expedite and facilitate the training process.

It is possible to master picking with these devices in under an hour. Indeed, an hour after approaching one of these robots on foot, your initial encounter with it could have you sprinting at maximum speed.

An additional advantageous application of AMRs in the warehouse is autonomous drones.

Infrastructure is currently evolving. Despite a reduction in its physical layout, the fulfilment centre is experiencing a significant increase in height. The current warehouse height standard is 50 feet. As a result, it is now mandatory for a warehouse staff member to ascend using a staircase. What occurs if they lack the motivation to engage in such an activity? It is then necessary to conduct an aerial reconnaissance of the location using a drone.

According to research, the most substantial investment anticipated in the future year will be in picking robots specifically engineered to expedite the transportation of products.

Moving, sorting, and picking are labour-intensive tasks that few individuals desire; however, due to their preference for manual labour, robots can complete these tasks more swiftly. There is an extraordinary amount of development occurring in that region.

For numerous warehouse operations, the availability of space and the substantial initial investment necessary for conventional automation continue to be seemingly formidable obstacles. Further investigation and a well-designed warehouse can minimise those costs, with companies often finding the investment reasonable.

Warehouse automation developments are not restricted to larger corporations. There is a growing recognition that a modern and flexible approach to automation represents a more feasible solution for its implementation. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) realise they need to invest in automation to preserve a competitive advantage over the industry’s significant rivals.

If warehouse automation is on your agenda, please reach out to us.

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