1. Automated Case Picking in eCommerce
Artificial Intelligence has made its way into every aspect of our lives. Efficient warehouses are the foundation on which every e-commerce company can grow. Automated Case Picking in eCommerce warehouses has transcended the order fulfilment process. This technology has allowed the companies to improve their delivery speed and elevate their customer experience to a new level.
The warehouses are the base of every retail operation. The operational methods and techniques implemented in the warehouse can have a significant impact on the revenue and growth of the company. Traditionally, these warehouses used manual labour to retrieve SKUs from the warehouse shelves to fulfil orders as needed. Operational methods are used to optimize these order picking processes.
But, as the company starts to scale, manual labour cannot satisfy the increasing demand. The increased workforce required to handle the workload increases the operational costs of the warehouse. To tackle this issue, warehouse managers tend to shift to automated case picking systems to improve the overall efficiency of the warehouse.
2. What Is Automated Case Picking?
In simpler terms, Automated Case Picking can be defined as the use of automation and robotic technologies to optimize the workflow of the order picking process of a warehouse. The Automated Case Picking systems can be integrated with your current WMS systems to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the order fulfilment process.
These systems usually work in collaboration with the picker to achieve the objectives. The use of this system can reduce travel time and human errors significantly. Warehouse automation systems also allow the companies to optimize their entire order fulfilment process and improve their delivery speed and customer experience.
3. Benefits of Automated Case Picking
Warehouses are the backbone of every e-commerce and retail business. The efficiency and the accuracy of these warehouses to pack the orders essentially defines the customer experience on the platforms. Automated Case Picking systems allows you to optimize operations at the most important point of your company in the following ways:
1) Improved Productivity
One of the major advantages of automating a warehouse is increased productivity and operational efficiency. The use of collaborative mobile robots allows for faster movement of goods within the warehouse. Along with that, the use of Artificial intelligence can reduce the chances of human error in the order picking process.
On the other hand, these systems allow for better labour management as they work in collaboration with the pickers. The robots do all the mundane tasks and repetitive work, reducing the physical activity involved in the order picking process.
2) Optimization of Warehouse Workflow
The e-commerce companies continue to invest in Automated Case Picking systems to increase the efficiency of their warehouses. These automated efficient warehouses can improve your delivery time and accuracy, and nothing is better than a happy customer. The Warehouse Automation systems also allow e-commerce companies to provide popular services like same-day or express delivery without any hassle.
Along with this, automated warehouses allow organizations to achieve their sustainability goal. The use of IoT and Artificial Intelligence allows for quicker and faster maintenance. Therefore, the Automated Case Picking solutions focus on optimizing the entire warehouse operation.
3) Cost Optimization
The implementation of Automated Case Picking Systems can increase the ROI on your warehouse operations. It saves costs on multiple fronts - reduced human errors, reduced labour requirements, optimized workflow for better storage and handling costs, and much more. The systems continuously optimize the pickup patterns and reduce travel time with the help of Artificial Intelligence.
The use of warehouse automation systems allows for economical scaling of operations. As the automation systems can be scaled easily without the need for additional physical infrastructure, e-commerce companies can focus on growth without having to worry about the capacity of the order fulfilment capabilities.
4. Challenges of Automated Case Picking
As with any technological integration, the automation of a warehouse comes with its own set of challenges. Some of the common challenges that you can face while choosing an Automated Case Picking System for an e-commerce warehouse are:
1) Choice Of System
The choice of the system and technology while implementing warehouse automation systems is crucial in the success of the implementation. The systems should be compatible with the short and long term goals of the organization. For example, if the company is looking to scale the operations at an accelerated pace, the system chosen should be able to handle the increased added workload efficiently.
The choice of Automated Case Picking System has to be compatible with the current WMS systems in place as well as suit the type of the products that the warehouse typically handles. With so many options available in the market, choosing the right system that is compatible with the company and technology becomes crucial to the success of the implementation of the Automated Case Picking.
2) Higher Initial Costs
The automated systems are designed to be economically feasible in the long run. But, the initial costs of most of the systems in the market can be steep, especially for large scale operations. Therefore, the Automated Case Picking Systems can pose a financial challenge especially if the business is still in the early stages.
Apart from the set-up costs, the maintenance cost and the service agreement with the manufacturer should also be factored in while choosing the system. These factors can significantly impact the running cost of an automated warehouse.
5. Choosing an Automated Case Picking System
While we studied the benefits and challenges of considering an Automated Case Picking System for your fulfilment operations, let’s take a quick look at the steps you should follow while choosing a Warehouse automation system.
Step 1: Auditing your current requirements
In the first step, you should thoroughly audit the current fulfilment operations. This will allow you to set technical and operational parameters while choosing an automation system.
Step 2: Analyzing your sales data
The sales data can help you in figuring out the technical and operational parameters you need in your automation system to maximize the ROI. The data can also provide future projections which will allow you to choose a system that fulfills your short and long term goals.
Step 3: Evaluating technologies
Once you have all the necessary information and parameters to choose a system, you need to start evaluating options to see which is the right fit. You will have to factor in various factors like cost, compatibility, service terms, etc.
Step 4: Financial Planning
While implementing an Automated Case Picking System has several advantages, you will have to assess the need for an automated system in each section. You will have to consider the contribution of each section to the economy of the company to justify the investment in the complete or partial automated support for the section.
6. The Final Word
Artificial Intelligence can enhance and optimize the workflow in the warehouse. Softwares like ClickPost can be used to optimize your logistic operations using AI while you can use Automated Case Picking to complete the automation of your entire Order Fulfilment operations. Warehouse automation can allow you to scale at an accelerated pace without having to compromise your customer experience and delivery time.