The Future of Robots in the Warehouse

When you think of a warehouse, do you imagine many manual workers packaging, labelling and processing everything? Or do you imagine machinery doing all this? With the development of future technologies and AI, robotics are now being used to assist in helping warehouses cope with the many demands the environment offers. We’ve seen drones instead of a delivery man, and driverless cars instead of a taxi, but what is the future for automated warehouses? Is this type of robotic automation the way forward for warehouses?

Technology Availability

Radio data terminals and control software is already in use in many professional warehouses. These control systems can help the running of a warehouse by making simple decisions. For example, where to store a certain item, or how to inform a worker of a certain location of an item. It can help manage stock and keep track of outgoings. Radio data can allow staff to input information through scanning barcodes, instead of manual input; this can help with organisation and management.

With Amazon robotics beginning to lead the way, there is a lot of new technology such as AMR (Autonomous mobile robotics) which is showing increased improvements in control and management of warehouses. Some warehouses are experimenting with aspects of robotics to decipher speed sorting, and dividing parcels up from size, weight and dimensions.

The automated software is an essential for many businesses operating in a warehouse, but there is a huge difference between helpful software and the increasing use of robotics instead of manual workers. What are the advantages and disadvantages of an automated warehouse?

Advantages

Unlike a human workforce, robots and machines don’t feel the need to take holidays, sick days or even a lunch break; they don’t require health insurance or a monthly wage. By utilising robotics in any warehouse, e-commerce or other, the reduction in operations, logistics costs and delivery time could be enough reason to be team robot! These cost savings could be that cost saving factor that could make industries change. As well as this, health and safety is decreased significantly, as well as tasks being carried out in a smaller space of time.

Disadvantages

The average warehouse robot, dependent on functionality, can cost just under £30,000, which makes the dream of making automation a reality, difficult. While it may make your life, easier, there are much more complications with automatic robotic systems. If you put the £30,000 next to a yearly salary, add in maintenance of machinery and software, is it more expensive that the precision and quality of a human worker? The prospect of possibly losing employment to a robotic automation obviously has some warehouse workers worried, as well as unions and groups.

New skills in the workplace are constantly being learnt from employees, and new expertise is usually required to keep on top of certain jobs and constant changing trends in industries. What would be more convenient; a training course for employees or a new and potentially expensive software update?

And, what about if one of your automated systems broke down? This can be even more financially draining, and the downtime can be detrimental to work pace and flow. This is like a system glitch; the smallest of malfunctions could cause the biggest of problems, and even the entire operation to stop.

Eventually, technology could improve so much that we see more and more warehouses being automated. The implementation of these systems could advance so much that we could see the positives outweigh the negatives in the future, but in the meantime, the mixture of technology and manual labour will suffice, along with the dedication to service and human reliability.

Through expert solutions, we provide stock control software allowing accurate track of stock and supply. There are no complicated, expensive robotics at GSM Barcoding- our systems and products are professional and fuss-free, but certainly do the job perfectly.

 

To learn more about this and the technologies that can help you stand apart from the competition, increase your productivity and improve your warehousing, download the full, free report below:

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