Human errors in processes and other delays in the supply chain have already become a thing of the past by organizations that have taken this big step toward digital automation. If your organization has yet to make this change, you may be wondering what are the real benefits of warehouse and last mile automation, and where do you start?
First things first – You should understand that on the road to optimizing your processes through automation, taking the first steps is not as complex as it seems.
On the contrary; automation brings great benefits to companies by focusing on tasks such as picking, receiving, sorting, packing and storage, among others, where currently most of the failures are attributable to manual processes.
Now that we are diving deeper into the subject, let’s start with the most interesting topic.
Benefits of Automation
There are so many benefits that we can list here, but we have narrowed it down to make our ‘top 5’ for both warehouse and last mile processes.
-Reduced operating costs
-Maximum utilization of warehouse space
-Increased inventory visibility
-Reduces transportation costs by up to 30%.
-Real-time visibility of the entire fleet
-Ensures communication with 100% of customers
-Online monitoring of the status of each delivery with photos, signatures and comments
-Notifies customers about the status of their deliveries
-Improved quality of service
However, it is not simply a matter of acquiring a robot or a route planning system, to take advantage of the benefits that automation can have on your logistics operation.
How to Prepare for Automation
1. Define your objectives and goals
To achieve this, it is necessary to perform a deep analysis of both your warehouse and route operations, and all the other affected areas of your business both upstream and downstream.
Create a clear overview of your strategic objectives, including times, milestones and KPIs. Note, that KPIs should be relevant and measurable.
Time savings and improved productivity will have a major impact on your bottom line. By successfully automating warehouse processes, you can reduce operating costs by up to 40%, while last mile automation can allow you to save on transportation costs by up to 30%.
2. Collaborate between areas
Supply chains tend to be complex as they have many steps, interdependencies, and multiple parties involved. It is important to consider all of them when planning for automation.
It is important to ensure that you have the right resources doing the right jobs. This includes creating synergies with all stakeholders – communication is key.
Harnessing everyone’s knowledge and experience will help you identify challenges, opportunities, and critical issues in the early stages of the automation process.
3. Create a model
When incorporating robotic warehouse automations, or last mile planning and optimization technologies, it is critical to understand that on the one hand, there is the human-to-robot ratio for the warehouse and, on the other hand, there are automated functions that will be created and executed directly on the platform.
Key operational metrics, service level agreements, the amount of available floor space and travel distances, among others, must be considered when calculating the ratio.
4. Implement a SaaS TMS and/or WMS.
Using software that automates operations will allow you to make smarter decisions based on real data in real-time. In addition, it considerably increases operational efficiency at all levels.
Two software types that will be beneficial to you are Transportation Management Systems (TMS) and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).
These softwares can offer a high level of control in terms of tracking and movement of materials and products.
5. Data-driven analysis
What you don’t measure, you don’t manage, and what you don’t manage, you don’t improve. To ensure that your operation’s performance improves, it is important to analyze your data on a regular basis.
By implementing logistics technologies, you will have access to real-time data of the entire operation, making it possible to optimize your processes in a more agile way.
In conclusion, there are many more benefits to implementing automation. Our favorites are the ability to have higher levels of productivity, efficiency and accuracy, in addition to reducing overall costs.