Warehouse & distribution automation includes automated data collection and inventory control. All work is coordinated through the warehouse control system and the use of necessary hardware equipment and software systems. This helps greatly improve efficiency, but what tools used to achieve it?
What facilities are involved in Warehouse & distribution?
- Barcode labels: They form the basis of warehouse & distribution automation, through which products can be tracked. Barcode labels can accurately capture product data and eliminate errors in product tracking or product shipping. The use of barcode labels can realize automatic warehouses, inventory monitoring, purchase planning, improve picking efficiency, optimize transportation, and reduce stock-outs.
- Inventory Management System (IMS): This facilitates real-time monitoring of inventory levels, product information, and storage locations, thereby providing companies with a high level of inventory control.
- Automatic storage and retrieval system (AS/RS): The software system consists of machines that move up and down on optimized channels to retrieve or place items. They provide improved inventory control and product tracking. They can also ensure that the warehouse is better arranged vertically and horizontally, thereby saving inventory. The key elements of AS/RS include storage and retrieval machines, automated guided vehicles (AGV), frame structure, and warehouse control system software (WCS). All these components work together to receive, place, pick up, pack, and ship items along an optimized route.
- Necessary hardware equipment: If you do not use the necessary hardware, you will not be able to retrieve data and monitor activities from the barcode label, and will not be able to achieve automation. Commonly used devices are portable data terminals, stationary computers, bar code scanners, rugged tablet computers, and label printers.
The benefits of warehouse & distribution automation
Automating your warehouse system can bring the following benefits:
- Reduce labor costs and other operating expenses.
- Improve warehouse space utilization and optimize warehouse layout and processes.
- Improve accuracy, efficiency, and productivity while minimizing labor expenditures.
- Improve inventory accuracy and avoid complete depletion of inventory.
- Automatic storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) will improve inventory control and cargo tracking.
- Automatically collect product shipment data and inventory tracking to eliminate inventory misplacement, shrinkage, or loss.
- With the available data, the efficiency of the operator’s picking, packaging, and transportation improved, so that the order can be shipped and delivered in time.