Forbes Council: Bringing Warehouses of the Past into the Future

AGV & AMR Robot In Warehouse

In his latest article for Forbes “Bringing Warehouses of the Past into the Future”, our CEO Lior Elazary discusses the need for warehouses to modernize to keep pace with the speed of online shopping. The complexity of multiple SKUs and Direct-to-Consumer delivery is forcing distribution centers to reorganize inventory to align with how people shop. The full article appears here.

Warehouses have been operating for centuries. But as e-commerce has evolved the retail industry, the warehouse itself is due for a technological renovation. Introducing software and robotics into warehouse operations provides a bridge to help modernize these critical facilities.

Software eliminates warehouse chaos, optimizes inventory management.

The unpredictability of online shopping has forced many warehouses to stock more SKUs. But these facilities are still stocking inventory using the bulk replenishment formats of brick-and-mortar stores. This has created complexity with managing and locating inventory in our current e-commerce world. Software can help digitize operations and hardware can automate tasks.
Software investments are relatively inexpensive and can fit seamlessly into existing infrastructures. Advanced software eliminates the need for manual inventory oversight, using AI technology to optimize SKU placement and assigning labor for picking and replenishment.

Today’s software identifies optimal placement of SKUs in warehouses, grouping items based on customer preferences and order histories. Software helps workers picking orders to speed fulfillment and reduce aisle congestion so they can use the shortest paths to complete tasks.

Need for warehouse agility makes case for automation.

Ongoing labor shortages, outdated operations within warehouses and the explosion of e-commerce have conspired to make hiring labor very challenging. Amid labor shortfalls, mobile robots can step in to do the work of several workers.

Warehouse work can be physically demanding. Climbing, lifting heavy items and walking five to ten miles per day through the warehouse is taxing both physically and mentally. Autonomous mobile robots lighten the physical load for workers and improve productivity. The combination of intelligent software and mobile robots automating SKU storage and retrieval lets warehouse staff focus on order pack-outs and quality control. This division of labor means workers focus on what they do best: handling more complex tasks and honing critical thinking skills like management and decision-making.

Time to write next chapter for warehouses.

There’s no question that e-commerce is here to stay. Its benefits — convenience, ease of use and fast deliveries — have made online shopping a game changer for shoppers. Warehouses need to let go of their old ways of operating to avoid delays and keep goods and logistics running smoothly.

Warehouses need to modernize their business and their workforce. Using software to digitize SKU distribution and workflows is step one. Automation with mobile robots takes this upgrade to the next level, enabling allocation of labor that plays to the expertise of workers and AMRs.

There’s never been a better time than the present for warehouses to enter the digital era to keep pace with today’s e-commerce world.

Read the entire Forbes article here.