Automation can boost productivity in your facility and help your business achieve greater results than ever before. However, like any major investment or change, implementing automatic solutions requires patience and careful planning.
Automatic equipment is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Facility managers and business owners must evaluate their current processes and goals for the future to find solutions that best fit their unique workflows. Many factors contribute to the successful implementation of automation in your facility; get the most out of your investment with these tips and best practices for integrating warehouse automation.
Optimize Current Processes First
Installing automatic equipment without first evaluating current practices leads to messy workflows that waste both time and money. If you want your automated solutions to offer significant value to your company, start by focusing on areas of improvement in your existing operations.
Identify the weakest parts of your current workflow and determine whether there are ways to improve before you invest in automation. For example, do workers have to cross the entire length of your facility multiple times to deliver product loads to different stations? If so, reorganizing the layout to minimize travel time is a good idea regardless of whether you use automation.
Optimizing current practices makes it easier to implement effective solutions and get the most out of your automated equipment once it’s in your facility.
Utilize LGVs for an Efficient Solution
Laser guided vehicles (LGVs) offer a fast and flexible solution for your warehouse floor. LGVs move safely and precisely at high speeds throughout your facility. As a result, LGV technology provides greater mobility for your workflow and speeds up operations, helping your business reach or even surpass output goals.
One of the greatest benefits of LGVs is that you can integrate them into your workflow without disrupting current processes or reorganizing the structure of your facility. There are no permanent structures to embed in your facility floor, which means you can easily implement LGVs at your own pace. Moreover, you can rearrange the vehicle routes as needed, so you always have the flexibility to make the most of your LGVs.
Create Cohesiveness With a Warehouse Management System
Advanced automation requires advanced operating systems. Investing in a secure, organized warehouse management system allows you to easily access all the critical information about your facility’s structure, equipment, and overall processes.
Your warehouse management system should offer a comprehensive view of all facility data on a secure but easy-to-use platform. From workflow overviews to supply chain statistics, a good warehouse management system includes everything you need to evaluate your business’s operations and make the most out of your equipment. Real-time data is also an invaluable tool for identifying successes and determining which areas still need improvement.
Working with a quality warehouse management system helps you view your operations as a cohesive system rather than disjointed parts. This allows you to better manage various automatic solutions so they can best serve your facility.
Further Optimize Your Facility With the Internet of Things
Many of the tips and best practices for integrating warehouse automation revolve around continuously controlling and monitoring all the moving parts of your warehouse. The more aware you are of every detail of your operations, the easier it is to detect issues and optimize processes.
The internet of things (IoT) is an overarching system that connects the various pieces of automation within your facility. Sensors, software, processing abilities, and other devices allow you to collect data from your equipment and vehicles and use it to better control inventory, reduce risks, and gain further insight into your operations.
An IoT system combines data and displays it on an accessible platform. This synchronized data helps you detect risks or losses early, avoid oversights throughout the supply chain, and better organize your equipment and workflow.
Prioritize Long-Term Solutions
When you implement automation in your facility, make sure you’re planning for the future as well as for the present. Purchasing a solution that only meets your current productivity requirements will turn into a waste of money the moment your business experiences growth.
Scalability is a necessity in your automatic equipment. Solutions that can grow alongside your business will continue to offer value and efficiency for years.
In addition to considering productivity requirements, look for automatic solutions you can purchase in stages. For example, you can add a single LGV to your fleet for a small increase in efficiency. Then, you can continue implementing more LGVs as your needs and budget grow.
Don’t Neglect Staff in the Name of Automation
Automation can be a great boon to your workforce, especially in the midst of labor shortages. However, that doesn’t mean automation can completely replace your staff. The best automatic equipment solutions work in tandem with your employees.
Automatic and semi-automatic stretch wrappers, palletizers, and other solutions can handle repetitive, physically strenuous tasks with greater speed and consistency than manual labor. Instead of replacing manual labor completely, though, you can use automation to redistribute your workforce to focus on more skilled or intricate work.
Prioritizing your staff throughout and after the implementation process is the key to making the most of your automation while retaining passionate and enthusiastic employees.
Employee Support Is Invaluable
Change isn’t always easy to accept, but gaining employee support makes integrating automation into your warehouse much easier. You will always need a number of employees on staff. That’s why it’s important to work closely with your entire warehouse team to make sure everyone is on the same page as you adopt new technology and practices.
Emphasize values such as workplace safety and continuous improvement to help workers better understand how automation will benefit your facility. Take time to listen to employee feedback about your automation and use that insight to your advantage. When considering new solutions, choose an employee representative to work with any committees or other decision-making bodies so your workers have a voice every step of the way.
Work With Reliable Partners
As with any big purchase, it’s important to work with partners you can trust when implementing automated solutions. That’s why businesses turn to Robopac USA as their reliable supplier of secondary packaging solutions. As an expert industrial wrapping machine manufacturer, we have the innovative solutions you need to bring flexibility, efficiency, and success to your facility. Bring the most effective automatic equipment to your business when you work with Robopac USA.