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The uptick in eCommerce demand and the need to store more items on-shore, thanks largely to the recent global pandemic, has made it more difficult for warehouses to meet consumer demands and fulfill operations.

To overcome these challenges, many businesses are looking for automation.

In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know about warehouse automation, from different types to the many benefits you can reap by integrating these solutions into your warehouse operations.

What Is Warehouse Automation?

Warehouse automation uses robotics and automated storage and retrieval systems to automate the handling of inventory into, within, and out of the warehouse.

Automation helps businesses minimize labor-intensive duties such as manual data entry and repetitive physical work while increasing employee safety and operational productivity.

Warehouse automation is used to streamline different warehouse processes such as receiving, returns, picking, sorting and shipping.

From taking advantage of your existing warehouse space to increasing productivity, here are six key benefits you can look forward to when implementing automation.

AMRs transport goods, reduce walking time and increase employee safety.
AMRs are intelligent robots that use sensors and artificial intelligence to travel the warehouse without human supervision

1. Optimized Warehouse Space

According to a recent study, global retail eCommerce sales are expected to reach $7.4 trillion by 2025.

While moving into a bigger warehouse to store a larger inventory may be an option for some companies, investing in smart systems (think vertical lift modules) can free up as much as 90% of your warehouse space.

2. Increased Employee Safety

According to the National Safety Council, work injuries that required medical care cost an average of $42,000 per employee in 2019. Unsurprisingly, common warehouse accidents such as falls, trips and slips were ranked second for top workplace accidents.

Automated solutions help prevent employees from experiencing workplace injuries in several ways: they handle the heavy lifting, bring items directly to employees, and perform other tasks that may be hazardous for employees.

3. Better Inventory Control and Visibility

Manual inventory management is time consuming and prone to human error.

The solution to simplified and accurate counting? Warehouse automation.

Automated systems continuously update your POS software, which results in accurate inventory data. In addition to accurate counts, a warehouse management system provides inventory visibility down to a specific tray or item.

4. Increased Warehouse Throughput

A recent survey found that more than 40% of consumers in the U.S. expected their online packages to be delivered within two to three days, while 27% said that they hoped to receive their deliveries within the same day.

When you increase your warehouse throughput, you can increase customer retention by delivering accurate purchase items within their expected delivery time.

Our Modula horizontal carousels, for example, offer increased picking rates of up to 550 lines per hour, along with a picking accuracy of up to 99%.

Modula Horizontal Carousel
Modula’s horizontal carousels provide reliability and fast picking rates in low ceiling environments

5. Streamlined Picking Process

A recent report found that 25% of customers return between 5% and 15% of items they purchased online because they received the wrong item.

Mispicks are costly errors that occur when an employee picks the wrong item or quantity of items, fails to pack an item or mislabels an order.

With just a few taps on the screen, Modula’s horizontal carousels and vertical lift modules deliver the correct items to employees.

Wrapping Up on Warehouse Automation

Warehouse automation provides a streamlined solution for warehouses to fulfill orders and meet consumer demands, despite the challenges the warehouse industry faces.

The most common types of automated solutions include automated storage and retrieval systems, autonomous mobile robots, and goods-to-person solutions.

The key benefits you can expect when implementing automation in your warehouse include:

  • Optimized warehouse space
  • Increased employee safety
  • Better inventory control and visibility
  • Increased warehouse throughput
  • Streamlined picking process

A batch picking in a warehouse using a picking station and Modula VLMs

At Modula, our solutions range from horizontal and vertical carousels to order picking solutions and more. Further, streamline your warehouse operations and get the full experience when you combine your sorting and retrieval systems, warehouse management system, and picking aids such as the Put-to-Light system.

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Products that might interest you:
MODULA Automated Storage Systems