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Robotics for the Modern-Day Warehouse

Posted on 3/14/2019 by Cubic Designs

The World of "More, and Faster” 

If you’re responsible for your company’s warehouse business unit, especially in the e-commerce and manufacturing industries, you don’t want to miss these statistics: 

  • Online sales of physical goods totaled $446.8 billion in 2017 and are projected to surpass $700 billion in 2022. (Statista
  • The time employees spend walking through a warehouse manually picking orders can account for more than 50% of total picking time. (ConveyCo
  • More than 10% of U.S. warehouses are already using sophisticated automation technologies—a trend that is likely to accelerate. (Westernacher

Is your business equipped to maintain the quality customer service in this increasingly demanding market? Can you keep up with your competitors? Consider how robotics in the warehouse can boost your efficiency.  

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) 

A digital transformation is sweeping across warehouses as consumers demand faster fulfillment. Companies are re-examining every aspect of their warehouse management—from their employees to their business processes—to see where robotic process automation implementation can boost production. A new report from Tractica, a market intelligence firm that focuses on human interaction with technology, predicts warehousing and robot shipments will grow rapidly over the next 5 years from 194,000 units in 2018 to nearly 1 million units annually by 2022.  

“RPA takes the robot out of the human,” says Leslie Willcox, RPA expert and professor at London School of Economics. He clarifies that RPA doesn’t necessarily replace foundational business practices; they simply automate the tedious and repetitive tasks so workers can focus their talents toward higher value work.  

What does it look like in the warehouse environment?  

Robotic solutions have the potential to increase order accuracy levels to above 99%. Companies specializing in robotic technology for warehouses, distribution centers, and fulfillment centers, such as GreyOrangeGeek+, and inVia Robotics have developed state-of-the-art solutions for the following tasks:  

  • Sorting – Hi-tech automated warehouse robots can read industrial codes and send parcels to the corresponding shipment ports. 
  • Picking – Robots can pick items as small as a pack of gum to bulky items like cases of soda.  
  • Moving – Moving robots safely carry shelfs and pallets and complete point-to-point transport.  
  • Storage – Storage retrieval robots increase safety and productivity with their stable lifting and carrying power as well as accurate navigation and obstacle avoidance.  

The software used to control these robots can easily integrate into your existing business and e-commerce management systems. Track inventory, complete data entry, and even schedule multiple robots to work at once, yielding faster results.  

It’s a sign of the times, as the warehousing and logistics robot market is experiencing strong growth to meet the demands of modern commerce. Robotics is just a piece of the puzzle however. Optimal warehouse management requires a complete end-to-end solution. That includes investing in the right type of robotics, but also how they work in conjunction with your overarching warehouse operations. Contact our team to learn more about how we can custom design warehouse mezzanine solutions that support these new technologies, like robotics, for the modern-day warehouse.