Robotics are becoming a very practical reality for many businesses, we take a look in to why this is.
The word robotics often conjures up some very futuristic images that have been shaped by the world of science fiction, but they are actually becoming a very practical reality for many businesses. More and more warehouses are turning to this amazing form of technology for an efficient and high-tech solution to many different problems, and instead of cutting an existing workforce, they provide a great way of supporting it to make it more productive.
Every business wants to reduce costs whilst increasing production, but this often seems impossible to achieve. Online shopping has continued to grow at exponential rates, and consumers now expect everything to be delivered as quickly as possible, which is putting many warehouses under new strain, which can feel impossible to keep up with.
Robotics is now being hailed as the best way to make this happen, and many warehouses are turning to this form of technology in the pursuit of greater levels of fulfilment. Investing in automation or robotics can be a big shake up for many, which seems off-putting for some, but when implemented in the right way, it can provide a huge benefit for your workplace.
When doing something simple or repetitive, we can all feel as though our talents are wasted, and this is probably true of your employees. If they are tied up doing simple tasks, they can feel undervalued or lacking challenge, and you could be making better use of them elsewhere.
These are exactly the kind of tasks that robotics can help with, freeing up your staff to use their skills in more complex areas which can allow them to increase profits and customer satisfaction whilst also pursuing new and better career goals within the business.
Robotics also means that processes tend to be more efficient as there is less room for human error. These robots are not need in need of sleep or break times, and so they can continue working far longer than any human shift pattern, helping you to stay within your deadlines and keeping supply lines moving at all times.
Taking the strain
Robots are a great solution for the jobs that others cannot or do not want to do. They can cut out much of the walking and heavy lifting that your employees might be required to do, meaning that they can pick up many of the more strenuous tasks in your warehouse. This helps to protect your employees from over-exertion, injury and accidents meaning that they and you will benefit from them needing less time off sick.
By doing this, your supply chains can become more resilient, allowing you to keep up with demand without the worry of your processes crumbling under the strain when workers take time off.
Keeping your workforce
One of the big fears that many have about robotics is that it will make the traditional workforce obsolete, but this is not the case. Robots are fantastic at carrying out a wide range of tasks, but they cannot simply be left to their own devices. You will still require staff to control them, as well as others for repair and maintenance. Some employees will be needed to supplement what robots do, given that they are not capable of thinking on the same level or making decisions.
Since COVID-19, many businesses have actually been experiencing labour shortages, and robotics can help to plug the gap that has been created by this. There are different types of robots available, and your business can implement the ones that will give you the greatest benefit. This might be robots which act as collaborative pickers, following their human counterparts when collecting items, ones which bring shelves closer for human employees to pick from, heavy payload robots that work as autonomous forklifts ore even static robot picking systems. For some, the use of autonomous drones may even be a solution, as these can constantly inventory tall shelves, or you might prefer to make use of facilities management robots which can take over mopping your floors or mowing your lawns.
Where robotics can help
PSU Designs, specialists in custom power supplies commented, “Robots are now appearing in an increasing number of industries, and one of the biggest areas is still warehousing. It was one of the first roles where robots were put to good and consistent use and this is still growing, particularly when it comes to picking items, packing pallets, moving shelves, inventorying tall shelves and shipping.”
As consumer demand leans towards constant expectations of next-day delivery, robots can speed up many processes, to help keep up with what the customer wants. The growth of e-commerce during the pandemic meant that everyone grew to expect any items, from big ticket orders to groceries, to be at their door within 24 hours of placing an order but without paying over the odds for the experience.
Robotics makes this a viable option for many businesses who might otherwise have struggled to keep up when paying high wage costs.
When you look at your business, there are probably a number of areas which are already automated, and robotics is simply the next step in this. If there are areas where some staff are waiting for tasks to be completed, or they are spending their time on jobs which seem simple and do not need the dexterity of the human hand, then robotics can probably help. This will then streamline your activities and keep work flowing at a much greater rate.
Instead of being a scary vision of the future, robots are actually a practical and innovative addition to many warehouses in order to help them become more efficient and productive. They have been introduced over several years, and employees are gradually seeing the benefit of these new tools as they are freed up to explore their skills and advance their careers, whilst new jobs working with the robots themselves are also created.
Robots have a tremendous amount of use in a warehouse, and although they might require significant investment at the outset, they are paying dividends in the long term.