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Why does under-automation leave you over-exposed to the market?

Article by Michael Trimmer

The actions of competitors will always have some degree of impact on your business and the decisions you make to keep operations optimised. Problems only arise when you find yourself so enslaved to the machinations of competitors, you cannot in fact make any pro-active choices.

This is a classic symptom of under-automation. Where every decision you make is determined by courses of action chosen by competitors, leaving your business to sail along in the wake of tankers, rather than carving your own path into clear waters. This is over-exposure to market forces.

What is over-exposure to market forces?

The single clearest example of over-exposure to market forces is the online retail juggernaut launched by Jeff Bezos, and the so-called “Amazon effect”.

Thanks to the radical success of Amazon Prime’s provision of next day, or even sometimes same-day delivery, all across the B2C marketplace, competitors have found themselves boxed into a position where they need to reach comparable, if not identical, levels of service provision.

While there is no clear way to avoid competing with Amazon on some level, it is a clear case of over-exposure to market forces when companies make choices that would look drastic in any other context. Because many small-to-medium-sized enterprises lack the logistical reach that Amazon possesses, these companies have no option but to pour vast quantities of resources, effort, and finance into supercharging their normal operations to reach even a semblance of what Amazon can do.

Such methods include hiring far larger staff volumes, setting exorbitantly high quotas for staff to reach, using far more precise and painstaking tracking and monitoring techniques on staff members, and generally setting much higher workload expectations for picking staff.

In short, over-exposure to market forces is seen when trying to compete with the likes of Amazon without even remotely the same levels of resources and infrastructure. This is where under-automation is clear to see, and where flexible robotics changes the game.

How does flexible robotics remove over-exposure to market forces?

Flexible robotics allows your business to have the resources necessary to reach the kinds of efficiency, energy, and effectiveness you need to give you the chance of competing logistically on the kinds of levels you need. Achieving dramatic improvements like 500% rises in pick rate without dumping huge volumes of money into old and ineffective systems. To offer the kinds of reliable efficiency the likes of Amazon provide, you need to compete on their terms.

Compete on speed

The principal advantage offered by Amazon’s sheer size and scale is that it enables extreme speed. This is not a situation that can be challenged in a meaningful way with any amount of extra investment in either manual warehouse operations or fixed robotic systems.

Manual warehouse operations are victims of all kinds of potential speed loss issues. Fatigue and distraction are entirely natural when 50-70% of your employees’ time is spent walking between large stacks.

Fixed warehouses are slow to get started, with setup and installation times of months to years in most cases. Once they are established, their speed is fixed and their arrangement is static. The idea of changing or adapting based on market conditions or situations is impossible, meaning you cannot get any faster than you are on day one of activation.

Flexible robotic automation offers consistently high speeds throughout every situation. With the individual autonomous mobile robots able to consistently manage speeds between 1-2 metres per second, flexible robotics offers the necessary edge to compete on speed.

Compete on cost

Attempting to accelerate your operations via expansion, be it through more staff or a new and bigger fixed robotic infrastructure will almost certainly be expensive enough that the word “prohibitive” is apt. Profit margins will become thinner than the finest razor, and your business will be left with precious little in the way of resources to enhance or adjust your operation should the need arise.

Flexible robotics is a far more economical alternative. There is no need for investment in complicated infrastructure or detailed training. Installation and implementation can be completed in a matter of weeks, and ROI is expected with 12-24 months. The simplicity of free-standing shelves, DM code markers, and wireless communications allows for a far more manageable set of purchases, giving your business the freedom to compete more readily on cost, while still offering the highest possible standards of efficiency.

Discover flexible robotics – discover Wise Robotics

To see for yourself how flexible robotics allows you the freedom to make your own marketplace decisions, contact Wise Robotics today. Speak with our experts to learn more about industry 4.0 and the future of flexible robotics.

You can even visit us in person. Wise Robotics is proud to own and operate Europe’s first flexible robotics demonstration centre. See the robots in action, learn how they work, and why they offer so much in the way of improved efficiency.

Once you witness the capabilities of flexible robotics for yourself, you’ll understand the opportunities available when your under-automation is cured.

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