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Is Automated Warehouse Picking the Next Big Thing in Ecommerce?

vijay

Vijay Kumar

Senior Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

December 6, 2023

7 min read

Introduction

Warehouses store a large number of items belonging to diverse categories. Finding and picking them manually can be time-consuming, even if everything is placed in a systematic manner. Thus, businesses these days are leveraging automated warehouse picking to accomplish this task. The growing trend of highlighting faster deliveries by eCommerce portals has been one of the driving forces behind incorporating automation in warehouse picking. As per statistics, the global warehouse automation market is anticipated to grow to the size of USD 41 billion dollars in 2027. Its current value is over 23 billion U.S. dollars. This means that it is likely to grow at a CAGR of 15% in the years to come.

In this article, we have highlighted the benefits of automated warehouse picking, its role in supply chain management and more. Read on to find out!

The Concept of Automated Warehouse Picking

Warehouse automation helps optimise repetitive tasks by ensuring efficiency and reducing the time involved in the process. Robotic, semi-robotic or certain other types of technologies are used for this purpose. They are meant to lower the burden of human workers and minimise the chances of human error. By leveraging these technologies, brands are able to accomplish the warehouse-picking process quickly and smoothly. It also increases the picking accuracy. Automated warehouse picking has broadly been categorised into three different types. Each one is developed for specific business requirements. The types include the following:

  1. Assisted picking – Advanced devices are used to help operators with the warehouse picking process. Warehouse management software, voice-picking devices and RF scanners are among the few things used for the process.
  1. Good-to-person picking – Items stored in the warehouse are retrieved and transported to operators using automated handling equipment. Automated storage and retrieval systems, stacker cranes and vertical lifts are mostly used for this.
  1. Automated picking – In this type, autonomous mobile robots, conveyors and stacking and palletising robots are used to accomplish the task.

How Automated Warehouse Picking Revolutionises Supply Chain Management?

Supply chain management is a complex task involving various steps that need to be managed efficiently. For decades, businesses have been struggling to manage the process smoothly owing to the various challenges it poses. However, advancement in technology, especially automation in warehouse picking, has brought about a revolution in the field of supply chain management. Assisted and automated warehouse picking helps increase efficiency and productivity. It aids in speeding up the pick rate by making it easier to find the items and transport them. This has simplified the tasks of human workers and streamlined the process to a large extent. By investing in the right technology, you can enhance your customer experience and build credibility.

The Advantages of Implementing Automated Warehouse Picking

Here are some of the key benefits of investing in automated warehouse picking:

  1. Ease of Accessibility

One of the main advantages of implementing automated warehouse picking is ease of accessibility. Automation helps in locating and accessing various items in the warehouse with ease.

  1. Increase in Productivity

By automating the picking process, businesses can bring down their picking time substantially and enhance productivity. Advanced devices are being employed by various brands for automatically locating and retrieving different items in the warehouse. Thus, the productivity has increased manifolds.

  1. Cost Reduction

Various tasks in the warehouses are being taken care of by automated storage and retrieval systems, autonomous robots and other advanced devices. Thus, the number of workers required in the warehouses has gone down. This has helped reduce the labour cost for many companies.

  1. Seamless Integration

Automated warehouse picking systems have been designed to seamlessly integrate with your existing management system. So, you do not have to bring about a drastic change in the set-up. You can implement it without disrupting your process.

  1. User-Friendly Systems

These systems are quite easy to use. You do not have to invest in expensive training to understand its use and operation. Your warehouse picking staff shall be able to operate it easily after getting essential instructions from your end.

  1. Accuracy

The scope of human errors decreases with the use of warehouse automation. Advanced devices are used to locate, retrieve and transport the items to the given pick stations. Thus, you can ensure accuracy in warehouse picking.

  1. Business Expansion

Storing and managing the inventory efficiently seems like a huge challenge as business owners plan expansion. Warehouse automation helps streamline these tasks and aids in managing large number of orders with ease. Thus, you can consider expanding your business without worrying about these processes.

Anticipating a Semi-Automated Warehousing Landscape in the Near Future

The use of automated warehousing solutions is picking up across industries. eCommerce brands are particularly adopting this advanced technology to manage their supply chain process efficiently. While the need for warehouse workers has gone down because of automation, many of the tasks still require human intervention. Semi-automated warehousing solutions are thus becoming popular among businesses. Automation helps lower the load of those employed at different levels in the warehouses, thereby decreasing the stress involved in the process. In addition to increasing productivity and efficiency, this has helped build a healthier work environment. 70% of the supply chain professionals who took part in a recent survey agreed that automation has made work easier for them. By using automated systems, they can manage complex tasks with ease.

Leveraging Shiprocket’s Fulfillment for Automated Warehouse Picking

Shiprocket’s fulfillment is an excellent choice for automated warehouse picking. By using its service, you can optimise the warehouse picking process. Shiprocket’s team employs advanced tools to manage the process efficiently. It customises the services based on your business needs. Here’s how you can leverage Shiprocket’s fulfillment service:

  1. Integration – Integrate your eCommerce platform with Shiprocket. This will allow real-time data exchange between your online store and Shiprocket’s platform to ensure smooth order management and tracking.
  1. Warehouse Setup – Work in association with the Shiprocket’s team to set up and organise your warehouse efficiently. 
  1. Automation Tools: Shiprocket offers various automation tools to prioritise orders, minimise travel time within the warehouse, and help with other tasks. Make use of these tools to manage your work easily.
  1. Employee Training: Train your warehouse staff on using Shiprockets fulfillment software and automation tools effectively. 
  1. Real-Time Tracking: Make use of Shiprocket’s tracking capabilities to monitor the status of orders and inventory levels in real-time.

Conclusion

The popularity of automated warehouse picking is growing because of the various advantages it offers. By using advanced automation techniques, you can access and move items in your warehouse with ease, thereby enhancing productivity. The need for human workers decreases substantially, and so does the labour cost and possibility of errors. By leveraging Shiprocket’s fulfillment services, you can seamlessly integrate automation into your existing system. Their team tailors the fulfillment services to match your specific business needs and simplify your warehouse picking process.

What are the possible challenges in implementing automated warehouse picking systems?

It can be challenging to integrate automated warehouse picking systems with legacy systems. Moreover, though the automation systems and tools are user-friendly, your workforce may take time to adjust to the transition.

Is it advisable to use automated warehouse picking systems to pick and move delicate items?

It is advisable to employ trained warehouse staff to pick and move delicate items. Automated warehouse picking systems may not be a good choice to accomplish this task. However, technological advancements in the times to come will enable automated picking for such items as well.

How do robots employed in warehouses work?

As robots receive the instruction to pick an item, they use their advanced technology to locate the same. Their system helps in navigating through the inventory and identifying the items within no time. The robots reach out for the item, grasp it carefully with their arms and transport it to the mentioned location.

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