Determining Hard and Soft ROI: Efficiency beyond Numbers

Posted by Manas Medisetty on Oct 16, 2023 3:34:26 AM

Understanding Shelf-to-Person Solutions

Shelf-to-Person solutions are revolutionizing warehouses using advanced robots and smart algorithms, boosting productivity, efficiency, and adaptability. In this article, we delve into their promising ROI for logistics leaders.

Shelf-to-Person, a type of goods-to-person solution, brings items right to pickers using mobile robots, reducing walking and searching for faster fulfillment.

Systems Under the Shelf-to-Person Umbrella

Two primary systems fall under the Geekplus Shelf-to-Person umbrella, each with its unique features and advantages

1. Shelf-to-Person System

Mobile Robots fetch shelves and deliver them to fixed pick stations where workers pick required items. Workers stay stationary while robots transport shelves. 

2. PopPick Shelf-to-Person System

PopPick is a cutting-edge shelf-to-person system that uses mobile robots with adjustable shelves to make warehouse processes like picking and storing more efficient. It's powered by advanced autonomous tech, enhancing productivity. PopPick stands out by integrating a dual-unit picking station that handles various containers like totes, shelves, and pallets, boosting productivity.

Both systems also come with advanced software for tracking inventory, optimizing routes, managing orders, and more, revolutionizing productivity and space use through  automation.


Quantifying the ROI of Shelf-to-Person

Shelf-to-Person systems exhibit a multi-dimensional return on investment (ROI), spanning both tangible and intangible realms. The hard ROI is characterized by increased productivity and optimized space utilization, resulting in cost savings and efficient operations. On the other hand, the soft ROI encapsulates enhanced customer service, improved labor productivity, safety, analytics, flexibility, and future adaptability, contributing to long-term success. Delving deeper into these concrete and strategic ROIs, we'll uncover their transformative potential in warehouse logistics below.

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The Hard ROI

Geekplus' solutions deliver compelling ROI through optimized labor costs, increased throughput, maximized facility utilization, ease of integration, and avoidance of major infrastructure changes. The combined impact generates a swift and substantial return on investment:

  1. Increased Throughput


    • Eliminating walk time and wait times between picks accelerates individual picking rates 2-3X

    • Robots can operate continuously 24/7 with no breaks, enabling round-the-clock fulfillment

    • Dynamic routing adapts to changing orders and inventory availability in real-time

    • Easy scalability to add robots, pickers and work cells with modular components

    • Overall warehouse throughput increased by 50%+ enabling more orders fulfilled in shorter time

Optimized Space Utilization

        • Compact workstations occupy minimal footprint versus traditional pick zones

        • No fixed aisles required with autonomous robots that navigate dynamically

        • Shelves are stacked vertically to maximize storage density per cubic area

        • Mobile units adjust on the fly unlike fixed shelving and conveyors

        • Storage density reaches 1.2m3/m2, increasing inventory capacity 2-3X per square foot

  • Labor Cost Savings

      • Automated material transport by robots eliminates need for pickers to walk and search for items, reducing labor hours required for fulfillment

      • Intelligent batching, routing and scheduling optimizes worker tasks, minimizing wasted motion and idle time

      • Software coordination and monitoring replaces most floor supervisors, reducing overhead

      • With optimized workflows, up to 30-50% fewer pickers needed to maintain output

      • Significantly lowers wage expenses from reduced headcount

        • Minimal Infrastructure Changes

          • Robots automatically navigate existing environments without hardwiring

          • Mobile shelves and workstations simply roll into place without too much infrastructure. (super-flat floor requirements need to be considered).

          • Easy integration with current workflows and facility layouts

          • No need for major reconfiguration of material flows and picking zones

          • Leverages existing facility structures and systems for fast deployment

            Easy Integration

          • Open API architecture enables simple integration with warehouse management systems

          • Libraries of pre-built connectors accelerate setup with major WMS platforms

          • Minimal coding and complexity enables rapid deployment

          • Standards-based design integrates seamlessly with existing enterprise systems

          • Plug-and-play components speed implementation with minimal IT overhead


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The Soft ROI

The soft ROI encompasses downstream benefits and strategic impacts:

  • Enhanced Customer Service

    • Higher order accuracy minimizes errors, reducing customers receiving wrong items

    • Fewer mistakes lowers returns and customer complaints

    • Increased inventory visibility improves fill rates and avoids out of stocks

    • Faster order turnaround improves delivery times and satisfaction

    Boost in Labor Productivity

    • Optimized workflows and pick-to-light systems reduce mental fatigue and errors

    • Automation of repetitive tasks allows workers to focus on higher-value activities

    • Data-driven insights uncover additional workforce productivity gains

    • Less wasted motion and travel boosts output per person-hour

    Improved Safety

    • Eliminating walking for pickers reduces injuries from falls or MHE collisions

    • Onboard sensors stop robots if people approach unexpectedly

    • Software coordination removes workers from high traffic routes

    • Automation handles heavy lifting and reduces strained movements

    Enhanced Analytics & Insights

    • Integrated software tracks numerous operational metrics in real-time

    • Dashboards unlock visibility into workflows, inventory and equipment effectiveness

    • Data powers simulation modeling for scenario planning and projections

    • Machine learning continually optimizes based on intelligence gathered

    Increased Flexibility & Future Adaptability

    • Modular components allow rapid reconfiguration as needs change

    • Mobile units and layout adjustments accommodate new products or workflows

    • Scalability to handle volatile demand across peak and non-peak

    • Easy expansibility future-proofs operations as volumes grow 

Weixin Screenshot_20231009135420Download Shelf-to-Person Brochure

A Comprehensive Approach to ROI

To determine overall ROI, combine hard and soft components based on organizational priorities. Assign weighted percentages, then calculate:

Overall ROI = (Sum of Hard ROI Components x Weights) + (Sum of Soft ROI Components x Weights)

The output quantifies the complete value proposition of Shelf-to-Person systems, guiding investment decisions.


PopPick_EN_230306-A3_Page_1Download PopPick Brochure


How does the cost of implementing Geek+ Shelf-to-Person solutions compare to other warehouse automation options?

When comparing the cost of implementing Geek+ Shelf-to-Person solutions to other warehouse automation options, it's important to consider the initial investment, maintenance costs, and return on investment (ROI).The initial investment for Geek+ Shelf-to-Person solutions can be categorized as low to medium, depending on whether you opt for the standard or PopPick system

Investment Costs: This cost includes the purchase of necessary hardware such as robots, shelves, workstations, and software systems. The PopPick system, which offers a 4x improvement in picking efficiency, requires a higher initial investment than the standard Shelf-to-Person system

Maintenance costs for Geek+ Shelf-to-Person solutions would include the upkeep of the robots, shelves, workstations, and software systems. While the exact maintenance costs are depend on the project scale, it's worth noting that the Geek+ solutions are designed for easy scalability and quick deployment, which could potentially lead to lower maintenance costs over time

The return on investment (ROI) for Geek+ Shelf-to-Person solutions can be significant due to the high throughput and efficiency of the system and various other Hard and Soft ROIs listed above. The PopPick and Shelf-to-Person provide efficient throughput, and the software and algorithm offer automatic inventory management and dispatching advantages. This can lead to improved operational efficiency, which in turn can result in cost savings and a higher ROI. 

This means that the system can be easily adjusted and expanded as needed, which can lead to cost savings in the long run. While the exact costs of implementing Geek+ Shelf-to-Person solutions can vary depending on specific needs and requirements, the system offers significant advantages in terms of throughput, efficiency, and scalability that can lead to a high return on investment.

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Geek+ Shelf-to-Person solutions deliver transformative ROI for logistics organizations through minimal infrastructure changes, optimized labor costs, accelerated throughput, maximized facility space, boosted accuracy and increased agility. This next-generation technology promises to shape the future of warehousing.


What is a Shelf-to-Person solution?
Shelf-to-Person solution is a signature Geek+ technology designed to streamline the order fulfillment processes in warehouses. It is a system that uses mobile robots to transport movable shelves to workstations for various operations such as picking, put-away, replenishing, returns handling, checking, and dynamic slotting.
Why is peak season important for logistics companies?
Peak season is crucial for logistics companies as it can significantly impact their revenue and overall business performance. Meeting the high demand efficiently is essential for customer satisfaction and business growth.
What is the Soft ROI of Shelf-to-Person solutions?
The Soft ROI of Shelf-to-Person solutions goes beyond financial returns and includes benefits such as less physical wear and tear on human associates, increased retention and employee morale, improved warehouse safety, improved order accuracy and productivity, increased scalability, and lowered training time.
How flexible are Geek+ solutions to adapt to changing demands during peak season?
Geek+ automation allows for easy scalability by adding more robots, pickers, or stations as needed, providing flexibility to quickly respond to fluctuations in demand during the peak season.
What is the hard ROI of Shelf-to-Person solutions?
The hard ROI of Shelf-to-Person solutions is typically measured in terms of labor savings, increased productivity, and improved accuracy. Mobile Robots (AMRs) can significantly reduce labor costs by reducing the number of workers required to complete a task. By automating the process of picking and packing items, these systems can significantly reduce the time and effort required to complete a task, which increases productivity. Additionally, Shelf-to-Person solutions can improve warehouse accuracy by reducing the risk of errors caused by mispicks or misplacements. The ROI of these systems can be significant, with some systems paying for themselves in as little as 2 years

Topics: goods-to-person, shelf-to-person, warehouse automation, ROI