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Maximise your materials handling

Article by Michael Trimmer

 

When you hear “warehouse automation” you might think of areas such as one-touch fulfilment and robots taking over large portions of the picking process. However, warehouse automation covers every aspect of the operations that make fulfilment, picking, and every other warehouse process possible.

This is what is meant by “materials handling”. All the preparatory processes and ongoing operations that your warehouse goes through. All to ensure your items are stored, secured, and already in the right place for the right time when the right order comes in. The same advantages you see from warehouse automation when it is applied to order fulfilment or manufacturing processes can also be found in materials handling.

Realise resilience

Resilience is perhaps the most painful lesson that the warehousing and logistics sector has had to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic. Warehouses need systems that can handle elements failing, unavailable staff, and less than predictable supply chains. Although warehouse automation is not a cure-all for every issue listed, it certainly provides a robust framework for ongoing materials handling operations.

The fewer manual staff directly involved in the intra-logistical movements of goods, the more resilient the overall warehouse is in the event of an absentee-causing event. Flexible warehouse automation employs a specialised blend of freestanding storage and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). This means your warehouse can maintain maximised materials handling processes at all times.

The advantages that flow from this are obvious. More resistance means more reliable operations, which means more of your customers can be served without disruption. This in turn leads to an increase in reliable income and reputation, as well as improved warehouse operational efficiency. Warehouse automation is a key component in your business being able to realise real resistance in the face of any number of potential crises.

Supply scalability

Scalability is a key component for any business to think about when designing the systems they use that make materials handling possible. Most forms of warehouse automation do not make this easier. Quite the opposite. Fixed warehouse automation locks you into a specific model of materials handling that limits scalability. Flexible warehouse automation is an entirely different arrangement.

With flexible warehouse automation, your materials handling processes can be scaled up with extreme ease. The freestanding element of the storage arrangements means that more racks can be deployed very rapidly. The advanced RCS (robotic control system) allows the robot’s routes to be reprogrammed with ease. The intuitive integration of the AMRs and your existing WMS and ERP dramatically shrinks the technical challenges of scaling up.

A flexible automation system means you can handle your materials at the same level of ease whether you are dealing with a hundred distinct items or a hundred thousand. If you want your materials handling processes to be scalable, flexible warehouse automation is the optimal choice.

Garner growth

Growth is something almost all businesses are aiming for. Whether it is in the short, medium, or long term, there is only a very small set of businesses that can operate sustainably without growth being built into the business plan. This means your warehouse automation option needs to include a materials handling system that can support and encourage your business to grow.

Flexible warehouse automation is engineered for growth in such a way that means no other system can compete. Its materials handling processes operate with a level of speed and consistency unparalleled by any kind of manual or alternate robotic arrangement. This gives you a firm foundation to make growth emerge from, as you can provide a faster and more reliable service to all your customers and clients.

You then have a system that can handle your materials with speed and accuracy regardless of the size you grow to. Additionally, the cost of growth processes themselves are reduced, as you will no longer need to hire and train the vast numbers of additional staff normally associated with opening a new/enlarged warehouse. Instead, you can either deploy more robots or re-program the existing ones into new routes that will meet the needs of your newly growing client base. Flexible warehouse automation is the key to a materials handling model that supports growth.

Discover how to maximise your materials handling

To learn more about how flexible warehouse automation can maximise your materials handling processes, read the latest white paper from Wise Robotics today. In “Maximum advantage” we discuss how the latest generation of flexible warehouse automation will truly provide the very best possible advantage to you and your business.

When it comes to materials handling and modern robotics, you and your business need to ask yourself a simple question. Do we want to compete using this technology, or do you want to compete against it?

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