First movers have demonstrated the bountiful benefits of embracing automation. For example, Amazon has been one of the pioneer users of automated supply chain and warehouse solutions. This has propelled the company to be the e-commerce giant of the world, with an astounding annual revenue of 280.5 billion USD in 2019. In this article, we will elucidate why hopping on the automation train early is key.
Table of Contents:
4. Make Informed Choices with Early Understanding
5. Employees Need Time To Adapt
6. Hunt for the Best Employees in a Rare Market
- 1. The Sweetness of Lowering Labour Costs Early
Labour is one of the most significant costs that a warehouse can incur, and in the modern business world, rising warehouse labor cost is the reality. According to 3PL Central, nearly 73% of 3PL warehouses indicated that labor costs increased in 2021.
Amidst the pressure of cost, businesses also meet with fluctuating warehouse staffing demand, which can vary significantly, either day to day or week to week. This obstacle is especially pronounced in the e-commerce industry, where order demands are constantly oscillating.
To deal with this, operators in the e-commerce industry (both 3PLs and retailers) typically have a core workforce of full-time employees, which is reinforced by temporary agency staff to cover peak periods. However, the pandemic has exacerbated the labor issue for supply chains worldwide and threw this ecosystem of agency staffing and core employees into disarray.
As an alternative solution to temporary human labor due to constraints brought about by the pandemic, supply chains worldwide have turned their attention toward automation of their supply chains. For many businesses, automation technologies have successfully filled growing labor gaps and significantly reduced labor costs.
Not only does it mitigate the need to hire new employees to perform the most labor-intensive, repetitive work within businesses, but it also improves operational speed and accuracy.
By generating savings in labor hours, automation can greatly boost business productivity. Henceforth, the earlier a business invests in automation, the higher ROI it will reap.
- 2. Retain Your Customers with Good Service Now!
In this digital-first world, customer service in e-commerce is not simply a nice-to-have, but rather a precondition to success and a non-negotiable for businesses to remain competitive. Data from Microsoft shows that for 95% of consumers, good customer service is integral to capture brand loyalty.
In light of the unpredictability of customer demand and the simultaneous consumer expectation for same-day delivery, supply chains are faced with greater challenges in operations. Moreover, as labor shortages and potential lockdowns remain huge threats to fulfillment, businesses must adopt automation solutions as soon as possible to fortify their operations, ensure business resiliency, and most importantly, drive customer loyalty and retention.
In February 2020, Geek+ successfully partnered with Nike to provide advanced robotics solutions to Nike’s micro-fulfillment center, deploying more than 200 picking robots to its warehouse in Japan. The smart robots carry Nike products and packages directly to the warehouse workers, reducing footprint and costs while increasing picking efficiency. With Geek+ robots, same-day delivery has been actualized for Nike customers in Japan.
3. Evaluate The Right Solutions Early
According to interviews by IA Analysis, the evaluation of G2P solutions is a complex activity that is rarely black & white, and there is a multitude of factors to take into consideration. Hence, it is highly recommended that businesses adopt automation earlier, to allow time for evaluation and subsequent recalibration of solutions. Some points of consideration include:
> How many orders are required to be fulfilled hourly?
> Any Special Handling required during the GTP process? E.g. Fragile products/ grocery items that require cold-chain handling
> Is your operation fully automated or using hybrid automation? What solutions could fit your plan and cost?
Building layouts and interiors
> Any solutions to utilize your warehouse’s height to maximize storage and productivity?
> Any renovation required to implement the solutions? Consider cost and lead time for deployment. E.g. A smooth floor for AMRs to move smoothly; Connectivity infrastructure for robots to receive signals.
Moreover, the e-commerce business and demand levels vary across countries, since different countries may be involved in different holiday celebrations and even e-commerce-related shopping festivals.
This results in variations in peaks and lulls of demand across countries - what works well for one location may differ for another, thereby reinforcing the importance of adopting automation early.
- 4. Make Informed Choices with Early Understanding
There is a myriad of automation solutions available in the market, with different capabilities, and niches, and may be largely similar with small variances.
Hence, potential adopters of automation solutions should embark on their automation journey early to allow time for a deeper understanding of their unique business needs e.g. what is my business’ storage scenario? After that, they can make an informed decision and choose the right type of robotic automation.
- 5. Employees Need Time to Adapt
Change management is often the key to project success. As businesses transform their operations, platforms, tools, and procedures via the uptake of automation solutions, it is vital to consider that employees need time to adapt and acclimatize to the new ways of working. Factor in time for employee training and system onboarding, and tackle any fears and concerns raised by employees, since they will be at the forefront of usage.
Geek+'s proven track record in uplifting warehouse efficiency levels, and commitment to continual service improvements for its customers is a key differentiating factor that can help businesses and their employees mitigate these fears and concerns.
Grounded by a customer-centered strategy and service operation excellence, Geek+ offers a strong service and support portfolio which includes a 24/7 help desk, system maintenance, upgrade remote technical support, and onsite repairs.
These features have combined to improve customer experience and, more importantly, aid our customers’ employees in transition into adept AMR operators easily and seamlessly.
- 6. Hunt for the Best Employees in a Rare Market
While robotic solutions do not require much manpower, operators are still required to manage and measure performance. Warehouse managers are finding it increasingly difficult to scout and recruit talent to manage automated solutions at various levels, as personnel already equipped with related knowledge are rare. Commence your automation journey early to allow time to secure essential expertise.
Novel technologies like logistics automation are understandably daunting, and it may also be difficult to seek a company that understands your requirements and needs. Geek+ has expertise and experience in helping its clients from various industries implement automated robotic solutions for warehouses and supply chain management.
Don't Hesitate! Automate Your Warehouse Now!
Other than a suite of avant-garde technologies that can be customized to varying business needs, Geek+ also offers easy integration and training so that companies can be up and running swiftly and are able to collect data to begin testing as well.
Contact our consultants today to learn more about our solutions!