What exactly is warehouse automation? As it sounds, companies use automated machines such as robots and sensors to perform important tasks in day-to-day operations. Warehouse automation companies streamline customer fulfillment and create more room for growth. Automation systems take on time-consuming tasks and get them done quickly and efficiently without monopolizing the time of manual workers.
Automation is especially helpful for ecommerce sites, ensuring faster fulfillment and shipping times for valued customers. When you think of the number of orders in the backend of an ecommerce site, it can be a little overwhelming to wonder how a warehouse team could possibly ship all orders on time. Automation allows companies to continue to offer fast turnaround times and keep their loyal customers happy. We dive into some of the best warehouse automation companies to think of if your business needs automated help.
Common types of warehouse automation
Not all warehouse automation systems are the same. Some of the most popular system types are listed below:
Goods-to-Person (GTP) typically uses conveyors, vertical elevators and carousels to double or increase the speed of warehouse processing.
Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) use magnetic strips, wires and/or sensors to navigate fixed paths through a warehouse. Think of this as a really big robot vacuum that doesn’t actually clean. Not great for complex floorplans and space constraints, but given the right circumstances it’s very reliable and good for a growing business.
Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are very flexible and are one of the most popular types of warehouse automation. They use GPS systems to create efficient routes through the warehouse and advanced laser guidance systems to detect obstacles. Safely navigating complex warehouses and places with a lot of human traffic, making it very user-friendly.
Voice picking and tasking – pick-by-voice. Using speech recognition software and mobile headsets can eliminate the need for handheld devices such as barcode scanners. With fewer products, this can improve not only safety but also efficiency and margin for error.
Automated sortation systems identify items on a conveyor system and divert them to a storage location using barcode scanners and sensors. This is especially effective in receiving, picking, packing and shipping for ecommerce sites.
When to switch to automation
Businesses are starting to realize that once the orders outweigh the help, it’s time to start thinking about automated processes. If valued customers have delayed shipping and fulfillment times, or if shipments are arriving more frequently and with heavier weight, it may be time to seek automated help.
Here are 10 warehouse automation companies to consider:
1. Logistic view
Logistiview, a global leader in warehouse resource planning and vision technology, uses smartglasses. Their innovative technology guides employees through their tasks and they are able to complete any task quickly and efficiently. Additionally, they take a hands-free approach to improve efficiency and accuracy.
2. Lucas Robotics
As the name suggests, they use robotics to ensure warehouse processing. Lucas leverages business intelligence, multiple languages, and accessory ports during fulfillment. The only downside here is that a human still has to physically pull the products off the shelf and check for defects before shipping. This can still drastically reduce the physical time and labor that would otherwise be required for warehouse processing.
Geek+ develops intelligent forklift robots, motion robots, sorters, goods-to-person pickers, bin-to-person pickers, and collaborative pickers, all helping with time-consuming tasks. Their AMR robots are particularly well suited for the retail, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and automotive industries.
4. Westfalia Technologies, Inc.
Works with companies to design and produce a unique automation solution. Allows companies to achieve their own personal goals while striving for growth. Westfalia works with companies to help them achieve their corporate goals, because no two companies are alike.
Seegrid offers vision-guided vehicles with automatic navigation capabilities and is a company that has proven to be effective. Your products maneuver through warehouses without wires, lasers, magnets or guide tapes.
SnapFulfil offers a cloud-based system with room for growth in more ways than one. Flexibility is at the forefront of the easy-to-use management workflow, giving customers the power to change the way their stock is managed, no matter what the numbers. Changing the way items are picked, packed and shipped can be a huge game changer in keeping customers happy and coming back in the future. It is not only efficient but also fast. Your system can be integrated in minutes and users have been known to see results within the first 45 days.
7.TGW Systems Inc.
When it comes to automation, there is no single answer for TGW Systems. They work to design, manufacture, implement and maintain trusted end-to-end solutions for clients to run their businesses at peak levels of efficiency. Their developers understand that every company is different. Therefore, they use different versions of the automation systems to create the perfect fulfillment process.
8. Vecna Robotics
Vecna is working to streamline the material handling process through the use of self-propelled forklifts. Automated material handling robots in multiple varieties include conveyors, pallet jacks, and haulers. They offer hybrid fulfillment solutions to combine robot and human collaboration to create a seamless workflow. Additionally, they use real-time data and predictive analytics to improve workflow.
9. Verity AG
Verity uses drones to run a camp effectively. They are autonomous indoor drones with data-driven intelligence. The fully integrated merchandise management system creates the possibility of a zero-defect warehouse. Verity also takes all inventory management questions off your hands and answers them with modern technology in low-traffic drones.
10. Gray Orange
GreyOrange is artificial intelligence and cloud-enabled. With an intelligent decision-making platform called GreyMatter, it works as fast as data flows into the system. Likewise, decisions to optimize order fulfillment by managing the customer’s fleet of robots to send information to the human side of the workforce.
Now that we’ve covered the best time to make the switch to automation, as well as some key components to look for in an automation company that’s right for your business, you’re ready to jump on the automation bandwagon. Investing in an automation system, especially from the list above, for your warehouse could be the best thing for your upcoming growth of your business.
Featured Image Credit: Provided by the author; Pixel; Thanks very much!