So you’ve done your research on automation, read up on the best AMRs in the industry, and gotten approval from your managers to make this exciting investment for your supply chain...wait! There’s one more thing you should do before beginning the onboarding process for your automation robots - and that’s doing a thorough warehouse check!
Table of Contents:
What is a Warehouse Check?
A warehouse check constitutes a detailed scan of your warehouse to understand and record down your warehouse needs in terms of inventory, orders, operations and KPIs. Having a crystal clear understanding of these areas will facilitate a smooth transition into an automation-enabled warehouse that is ready to begin operations with little to no downtime. In this article, we will explain what are some of the key factors you will need to understand before making your AMR purchase.
Firstly, understand the inventory of your warehouse.
- How many SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) does my warehouse need to hold?
- How much stock on hand is my warehouse keeping?
- What is my average SKU size?
- Does any of my inventory require special conditions for storage, such as protection for fragile and perishable items, or cold storage?
With these questions answered, your AMR provider will be able to provide a fair estimate of the number of racks and container boxes for your warehouse. It will also guide the warehouse layout design for storage areas and robot highways, and inform of the total storage capacity which needs to be achieved.
Secondly, understand the orders that your warehouse needs to process.
- For inbound and outbound orders, how many orders, lines, and units are processed per day during peak and non-peak seasons?
- How many active SKUs are there per day for inbound and outbound orders?
- What is the daily inbound CBM (cubic meter)?
- What is the daily outbound CBM (cubic meter)?
With these questions answered, your AMR provider will be able to provide a fair estimate for the most suitable number of robots and working stations that need to be deployed at your warehouse. It will help you discern the number of pickers that you will need and bring more clarity to the redesigned operation flow.
3. Warehouse operation
Thirdly, understand the operational processes of your warehouse.
- How many manual/ automated pickers are required to fulfill daily operations?
- What does the average labor cost?
- What are the warehousing processes involved in your facility e.g. picking, sorting, deconsolidation, cross-docking, etc.? What is the operational flow between these processes?
- How is the demand going to fluctuate during peak seasons?
With these questions answered, your AMR provider will be able to appropriately suggest the type of robotic solutions best fit for your warehousing needs. By implementing the right solutions to enhance your warehouse operations, you can ensure cost-effectiveness and maximize your ROI in the long run.
Last but not least, define your warehousing objectives and the specific performance metrics you want to achieve.
- What are the key pain points your warehouse is facing?
- Is your warehouse met with picking inefficiencies and inaccuracy?
- Is your warehouse met with long order handling time?
- Is your warehouse met with inventory management issues?
With these questions answered, your AMR provider will be able to align robotic solutions to achieve the targeted outcomes for your warehouse. By reducing mispicks and other related operational inefficiencies, unnecessary costs can be circumvented. These costs savings and resources can subsequently be put into further optimizing operational processes to boost overall warehouse productivity.
In summary, before diving into an AMR investment for your business, it is highly recommended to review the existing infrastructure and features of your warehouse via the aforementioned checklist to fully understand your warehousing needs. This can tremendously aid your AMR provider in better tailoring automated solutions for your enterprise to ensure maximum cost performance. If you have further questions regarding AMR solutions, reach out to our Geek+ consultants today!