Many companies have tried and failed to bring fully automated warehouses into fruition. Perhaps one of the most famous failures, Elon Musk, even stated: “Humans are underrated.”
Now, Mujin Tokyo, a Japanese company, is the first in the world to create a completely humanless warehouse successfully.
Adding automated robots to your warehouse can help you save money, reduce your company’s liability, and protect against employee shortages. If you’re looking to add robots and automation to your warehouse, here are three places to start:
Automate the Riskier Jobs
Lifting heavy boxes may be one of the most exhausting and physically trying jobs in a warehouse. Even with increased regulation, injury and strain will happen.
There are now commercialized robots to help lift boxes and load trucks in your warehouse, eliminating the risk of humans straining themselves when lifting or dropping and damaging boxes.
By replacing tasks that have a high risk of injury, like lifting boxes, with robots, you’re saving your employees’ backs and your bottom line.
Automate the Jobs Facing Human Capital Shortages
In 2018 we saw a record low unemployment rates in the United States, this on top of the national driver shortage, increased the strain on warehouses nationwide. When human capital is small, robots can help.
Look for ways robots can help decrease the workload in your warehouse, particularly in areas where it is hard to find labor or that would free your current workers up to do different tasks. Areas like loading and unloading trucks, sorting boxes, or even completing office work are perfect places to implement an automated warehouse.
Building the Foundation for Complete Automation
The future very well may be almost human-less warehouses. By adding a foundation for robotics and automation to your warehouse, you can slowly automate your processes over the next few years.
Foundational items to consider adding are:
- Networked computer systems
- Software updates to machinery
- Logistics systems, RFID chips and tracking solutions
- Integrate your software system with your final mile carriers
Transparency through the supply chain is crucial for full automation. Integrating your system now allows for easier full automation in the future, and by using a single point of integration to tie into your final mile providers, you can aggregate your data, free up your IT team, and maintain a more visible supply chain.
To Automate of Not?
Each warehouse is different. Even Mujin, the creators of the first human-less warehouse, acknowledge that each system must be completely customized. The way you implement changes needs to fit your space and processes.
Whether your warehouse will one day be completely human-less, or if you want to take advantage of having some items fully automated, taking advantage of these tips will help.