According to Invest India, the Indian eCommerce industry is estimated to be worth over $350 billion in gross merchandise value by 2030. Despite the economic slowdown, the eCommerce industry has seen a hockey stick growth curve. Every retailer today is selling online and life has never been better before for consumers. But with this rapid growth in demand, the competition is getting ruthless. As a result, the eCommerce players moved towards automation in warehousing.
Through automation, eCommerce brands can offer last-mile delivery, fulfil orders with zero mistakes, and provide better customer services, enhancing the overall customer experience. Warehousing automation is a huge innovative leap for e-sellers because warehouses are the heart of a supply chain. So let’s unfold automation in warehousing deeply.
What Is Warehouse Automation?
Warehouse automation is the use of technology to perform tasks in a warehouse without direct human intervention. For an eCommerce business, this might include using robots to move and sort packages or computer systems to track inventory and process orders. Imagine a bustling warehouse with products flying off the shelves and a sea of boxes shuffled around. Now, imagine if all of that could be handled with the push of a button (okay, maybe a few buttons, but you get the idea). That’s the power of warehouse automation – it streamlines processes and helps eCommerce businesses run like well-oiled machines. Plus, it frees human employees to focus on more important tasks, like creating creative ways to package those oddly shaped socks you ordered.
Role Of Automation In Warehouse Operations
Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency – it’s the name of the game in the world of warehouse operations. And let’s face it; humans can only do so much. We get tired, we need breaks, and sometimes we make mistakes. Automation, on the other hand, doesn’t have these issues. It can perform tasks faster than humans, work around the clock without breaks, and reduce the need for manual labour. This means that warehouses can get more done in less time, which can lead to cost savings and a boost in productivity. Automation can also help warehouses keep up with the increasing demand of eCommerce, which means happier customers and a healthier bottom line.
When it comes to warehouse operations, safety is of the utmost importance. After all, warehouses can be busy, chaotic places, and accidents can happen. That’s where automation comes in. By automating certain tasks, businesses can reduce the risk of workplace injuries and improve the overall safety of the warehouse environment. Automation can also help prevent accidents by taking over potentially dangerous tasks for humans, such as lifting heavy objects or working with hazardous materials. And with the bonus of improved efficiency and accuracy, it’s clear that automation can be a win-win for both the business and its employees.
Let’s face it – saving money is always at the top of every business owner’s mind. And when it comes to warehouse operations, automation can be a major cost saver. By automating certain tasks, eCommerce businesses can reduce labour costs and streamline operations, leading to reduced operational costs. Automation can also improve the overall efficiency of the warehouse, which can help save on costs in the long run. And with the bonus of improved accuracy and efficiency, it’s clear that automation can be a cost-effective solution for businesses looking to improve their bottom line.
Nobody wants to receive the wrong order or, worse, no order. That’s where automation comes in. Businesses can reduce the risk of human error and improve overall accuracy by automating certain tasks like picking, packaging, and order fulfilment. Automation also helps improve inventory tracking and management, ensuring that the right products are always in the right place and at the right time. And when it comes to order fulfilment, automation can help ensure that orders are processed and shipped out quickly and accurately, leading to happier customers.
Happy customers mean a happy business. By automating certain tasks, businesses can improve the accuracy and speed of order fulfilment, leading to more efficient delivery times and a better overall customer experience. Automation can also streamline the process of getting orders out the door, which helps reduce the risk of delays and keep customers coming back for more.
In the business world, change is the only constant, and when it comes to warehouse operations, it is crucial to adapt to changes in demand. Businesses can easily scale their operations by automating certain tasks, allowing for easy expansion in the face of growing demand. Automation can also help warehouses stay competitive in today’s fast-paced eCommerce world, ensuring that orders are processed and shipped out quickly and accurately.
Automation In Warehousing – 10 Emerging Trends In 2023
After the pandemic, eCommerce retailers are forced to make their warehouses more responsive and efficient to accommodate the ever-growing eCommerce market. Therefore, these retailers view warehouse automation as their go-to solution. With more and more people shopping online, warehouses are under pressure to process and ship orders faster and more accurately than ever before. That’s where automation comes in. By using artificial intelligence, warehouse control systems, automatic unloaders, product identification scanners, etc., businesses can streamline their operations and keep up with the demands of the eCommerce world. In Mckinsey’s recent survey of 50 eCommerce retailers from grocery and other sectors, more than 80% of retailers intended to increase their automation investment over the next few years.
Internet of things- IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is not just a gimmicky trend in warehousing but has the potential to revolutionize the industry. IoT plays a major role in converting warehouses into smart, streamlined fulfilment centres. The global internet of things in warehouse management is anticipated to reach USD 19.06 billion by 2025, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc.
By using sensors and data, warehouses can know each moving part. These sensors can provide real-time data on the location and movement of products within the warehouse, making tracking inventory easier and ensuring that products are in the right place. IoT is also being used to improve efficiency and accuracy in warehouses. For example, connected sensors track each asset across the facility, smart shelves in the centres, and wearable connectivity can broadcast inventory information and worker updates to warehouse managers and warn them about low stock, displaced products, unsuitable temperature, theft, and much more. By collecting data on every aspect of the warehouse operation, businesses can identify areas for improvement and make adjustments to streamline their processes. This can lead to cost savings and increased productivity.
Use of Blockchain
Blockchain became a mainstream term with the sudden hype of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in late 2017. Still, many people need to be made aware that this technology has a huge potential to revolutionize other sectors like supply chain management. Blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that allows for secure and transparent record-keeping. As a result, blockchain brings accessibility, security, and accountability to warehouse management.
One of the main ways that blockchain is being used in warehousing is for supply chain management. By using blockchain to track the movement of products from the manufacturer to the customer, businesses can improve the transparency and efficiency of their supply chain, and it can be used to enable cross-border trade. By providing a secure and transparent way to track the movement of goods across borders, blockchain has the potential to make cross-border trade faster and more efficient.
Drones are being increasingly used in inventory management as a way to improve accuracy and efficiency. Businesses can quickly and accurately track their stock levels by using drones to scan shelves and assess inventory levels. This can help businesses avoid overstocking or running out of products, leading to cost savings and improved customer satisfaction.
Drones are also being used for activities such as stock tracking, inventory audits, and cycle counting. By using drones to scan shelves and assess inventory levels, businesses can quickly and accurately perform these tasks, reducing the need for manual labour and improving efficiency.
Using sensors, software, hardware, and IoT, eCommerce businesses have found a solution to track the movement of goods in real time and make better-informed decisions about their operations. Connected logistics is an interdependent set of technologies that evolve the key logistical processes to become more customer-centric by sharing data and facts with the supply chain partners. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global connected logistics market is projected to reach USD 82.14 billion by 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 24.7% during the forecast period. By providing real-time data on the location and movement of products within the warehouse, connected logistics offers a high level of interoperability, security, and accessibility to international eCommerce players.
Connected logistics is also being used to improve the accuracy of order fulfillment and delivery. By using technology to track the movement of orders from the warehouse to the customer, businesses can reduce the risk of errors and improve the overall customer experience.
Wireless Fleet Management
Wireless fleet management is the use of technology to track and manage the movement of vehicles within a fleet. By using GPS and fleet management software, businesses can track thousands of vehicles, improving efficiency, visibility, support, and manageability while lowering costs.
In the warehousing industry, wireless fleet management is being used to improve the efficiency and accuracy of delivery and logistics. The fleet manager uses best-in-class location trackers, geofencing, advanced fuel and vehicle diagnostics, temperature monitoring, asset tracking, fleet dash cams, and route optimization to improve safety in the warehouse. By tracking the movement of vehicles within the warehouse, businesses can reduce the risk of accidents and improve the overall safety of the environment.
Cloud-Based Operations Management
Cloud-based operations management is the use of cloud-based technology to track and manage the operations of a warehouse. It is a 100% web-based solution that any device can access via the internet. By using software to track and manage operations, businesses can reduce the need for manual labour and streamline their processes and increase efficiency. In addition, the software feature can be adjusted according to the company, and there is no risk of accidental data loss.
Use Of Plug-And-Play Solutions
Plug-and-play solutions are pre-configured systems that can be easily integrated into a business’s operations. In the warehousing industry, plug-and-play solutions are increasingly used to improve efficiency and streamline operations. One of the main benefits of plug-and-play solutions in warehouses is their ease of use. By providing pre-configured systems ready to go out of the box, businesses can quickly and easily integrate new technologies into their rigid supply chain. This can reduce the need for complex and time-consuming setup processes and allow businesses to start reaping the benefits of new technologies almost immediately.
Sustainable practices are becoming increasingly important in the warehousing industry as businesses look for ways to reduce their environmental impact. By adopting sustainable practices, warehouses can reduce their environmental footprint, improve their reputation, and attract environmentally-conscious customers.
Collaborative robots, also known as cobots, are designed to work alongside humans in warehouse management. Unlike traditional industrial robots that are often isolated from human workers, cobots are designed to be safe and easy to use, making them well-suited for use in warehouses. There are several ways that robots are being used in warehouse management. One of the main ways is for tasks that require high precision and are difficult or hazardous for humans to perform. For example, cobots can pick and place items on shelves, pack boxes, and sort items.
In addition to performing tasks, cobots are also being used to assist humans in warehouse management. For example, cobots can transport goods within the warehouse, reducing the need for manual labour.
The Future Of Warehousing
The future of warehousing looks bright, with several emerging technologies and trends that have the potential to revolutionize the way that warehouses operate. One of the main trends is the increasing use of automation and artificial intelligence. Using robotics and AI in warehouses can streamline their operations and reduce the need for manual labour, leading to increased efficiency and accuracy.
Despite so much innovation, many eCommerce companies hold back because of the barriers like implementation challenges, costs of maintenance, transition planning, and much more. And new and small eCommerce retailers face these challenges more because they need more capital and expertise to adopt this automation. That’s why there are logistics aggregators to help small and medium businesses in the market. These aggregators- one like NimbusPost, enable smart warehousing facilities for eCommerce. Their tech-enabled fulfilment centres, such as quick delivery, smart inventory management, worldwide stock keeping, and low shipping rates, fit your business needs.