The iPhone Health application, location-based advertisements, autonomous cars, automatic car controls — these are all automated product trends that today’s generations have come to expect and can’t imagine living without. Similarly, leaders in the material handling industry are wondering if automation will continue to revolutionize the way warehouses work now, and for years to come.
Many companies think that without automation, their company might fall behind their competitors. It’s no secret that regardless what kind of products your warehouse services the application of automation can likely make production and distribution processes quicker, easily repeatable, consistent and cost-effective. But, should it always be the next investment?
As technology evolves, the advantages of using semi- and fully automated solutions to increase productivity and address the labor shortage are clear. But, before getting too invested in the latest material handling trend, there’s a crucial step that must happen first: optimization. An optimized warehouse creates more space for product, increases workforce productivity and leverages lift trucks for the best suitable task — all of which, ultimately, drives cost savings that can then be used to eventually invest in automation.
Here are a few ways to first optimize your warehouse and then determine if automation is the best next step for you.