Welcome to the future of warehouse management! Manufacturing and several other industries are entering one of the most dramatic transformations since the invention of the assembly line. Tasks that used to take hours by hand are being done in minutes by robots. Yes, robots.
The CNN article “Robot workers take over warehouses” notes that a company called Kiva Systems is building robots for big businesses like Amazon, Gap and Staples to handle their picking, packing and shipping jobs. Workers don’t have to go through rows and rows of a warehouse to find the right products to fulfill customer orders anymore. The heavy lifting is handled by machines.
This system is designed to save companies money in the long run and immediately reduce the time it takes to deliver products to customers. This could revolutionize manufacturing, ecommerce, wholesale distribution and many other industries!
Fully Automated Warehouse
Imagine having a fully automated warehouse management system that works like this: A purchase order comes in, the appropriate parts and/or products are immediately picked off the shelf, packed into containers and shipped out the same day. Plus, the sale is instantly recorded in both your inventory and accounting records, and new parts are ordered if they’re getting low. All of this takes very little effort on your part.
Does that sound like a dream? Apparently it’s becoming a reality. If you were to combine robotic warehouse management with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, it would be a match made in heaven. An ERP allows you to manage your business’ finances, inventory, warehouses and more all in one place.
First Things First
Realistically, it’s probably a good idea to start with an ERP and move up to other ambitious solutions later. As the article points out, it’s a difficult process to get started with this robotic warehouse system. It costs millions of dollars and requires months of testing and training to make sure everything works properly and warehouse managers know what they’re doing.
Midsize businesses have access to more affordable ERPs than the extremely expensive ones that big businesses use. You can set up the software and receive all the training you need usually in just a few weeks. Then you can start saving money and being more efficient. As you grow even more, you can keep using the ERP and eventually get to the point where you can afford a futuristic warehouse management system.