As labor shortages and warehouse delays continue to cause headaches across the supply chain, more fulfillment centers are seeking out ways to streamline the shipping process.
One innovative solution has been an investment in warehouse robotics. While this technology can work to reduce the risk of human error, they’re also expensive. Most fulfillment centers wont have the luxury of adopting large, high-end robots to handle their picking and packing.
The thing that makes warehouse robotics so valuable is their capacity for automation. Workers can easily customize these machines to fit their specifications and have confidence they’re tasks will be executed without the need for more input. Luckily, there are cheaper automation tools available that make shipping easier, without the overhead that comes with robots.
Let’s take a look at warehouse automation beyond robotics, and see what affordable options there are to modernizing a fulfillment center.
What is Warehouse Automation
When people think about automation in the warehouse, they might think of a fleet of robots and self-driving forklifts picking items and carrying them across the fulfillment center. However, with today’s technology, warehouse automation can be achieved on a much smaller, and more affordable scale.
Warehouse automation is actually defined as automating the movement and processing of products when they arrive, are stored, or are shipped out of the facility. Automation also works to take some of the strain off your existing warehouse staff. By taking over some of the more tedious or laborious tasks, warehouse operators are better equipped to overcome challenges like labor shortages and turnover.
Rather than spending thousands of dollars on expensive new equipment, your brand can reach this level of automation with the right picking software.
Automation and Warehouse Management Software
Automation via warehouse management software, or digital automation, leverages the data collected throughout your warehouse’s fulfillment and helps recommend or push strategies that could optimize the process.
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages that come along with warehouse software that provides automated functionality.
One of the key necessities for modern warehouse management systems is the ability to seamlessly integrate with other software platforms. Rather than manually input each third-party platform you work with to fulfill orders, quality software providers allow this to happen automatically.
If FedEx is your primary carrier, for example, your software should be able to integrate your orders and provide detailed shipping information without needing someone to actually enter that information themselves. Not only do automated integrations save time, but they also reduce the risk of human error, like entering mistaken or incorrect information into a platform.
Improved Safety & Security
Protecting the information of both their brand and customers is a top priority for today’s eCommerce brands. With so many bad actors looking to make a quick buck online, software providers have begun to emphasize their platform’s ability to identify and avoid potential scams.
Between firewalls, email filters and other digital security strategies, establishing these safety protocols on your own can get complicated. That’s why so many retailers turn to third-party software providers who can automatically implement data protection infrastructure.
eCommerce data threats can sound scary and difficult to understand, but by working with the right software provider, your brand gets an automated security system, giving you and your customers a greater sense of data integrity.
Data Management Efficiency
One of the most common hurdles for brands that run their own warehouse is organization. The placement and accessibility of your SKUs play a huge role in the overall efficiency of your warehouse. Finding the optimal approach to sortation, however, can take a lot of time and effort.
Luckily, this process can be made much easier with the help of automated software. Whether you’re receiving, moving, picking or packing items in your warehouse, modern software providers can offer strategies for placement to enhance the performance of your staff.
This level of data management is extremely valuable for anyone seeking to fulfill orders faster while ensuring things like accuracy and quality.
In addition to sorting, automated software can also leverage data to identify bottlenecks or slowdowns in the warehouse. When these delay points are identified, warehouse managers can take steps to solve the issue before the problem can impact the customer.
In the modern supply chain, automation isn’t something that’s reserved for only major retailers like WalMart or Amazon. In fact, small to medium sized eCommerce brands can now access the same data and automation tools used by the major players in the industry.
Warehouse management software providers like ShipHero specialize in helping scaling brands reach their full potential with automation tools and top-tier data management strategies.
Talk to our software experts today and learn more about how our warehouse software is built for eCommerce brands to stay safe and optimized for the modern supply chain.
Aaron Rubin, Founder & CEO
About the author: Aaron Rubin is the Founder & CEO of ShipHero. He is responsible for planning and executing the overall vision and strategy of the organization. Rubin’s greatest strengths are leadership, change management, strategic planning and a passion for progression. He is known for having his finger on the pulse of ShipHero’s major initiatives, his entrepreneurial spirit, and keen business acumen. His leadership of ShipHero is grounded in providing excellent customer service that drives improved business operations. His passion for ShipHero comes from the culture and his ability to have an impact on the lives of employees, customers, partners, and investors.