Leveraging Robots in the DC | FORTNA

Leveraging Robots in the DC

Increasing demand for fast and accurate order fulfillment is driving the need for more warehouse labor.

by Cheryl Falk

Companies are finding it more and more difficult to recruit, train and retain workers, despite offering skyrocketing wages, adding to the ever growing cost of labor. Robotic solutions can assist. Not only do robotic options accelerate digital transformation and improve overall throughput, they empower your ability to increase productivity, efficiency and reduce labor costs.

Warehouse robots can be used for different aspects of fulfillment, including picking (to reduce all or some of the walking/traveling that drives down productivity), physical pick and place (to reduce touches), packing, and transport of product between staging areas for put away or replenishment of inventory.

Warehouse robots have been used in case distribution environments for many years, but advancements in vision systems and end effector (gripper) technologies for robotic arms are allowing for better piece picking applications and pick and put operations. Collaborative robots (co-bots) can safely be deployed alongside workers for improved productivity in inventory replenishment tasks.  Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) are more flexible and less expensive than AGV and tugger technologies in many scenarios. Several newer technologies like truck loaders and robotic arm options show great promise within specific applications. No matter the application, the value of intelligent Warehouse Execution System (WES) software in unlocking the value of warehouse robots in the DC cannot be underestimated.

The payback for these investments should always be based on more than labor savings. The business case should factor in the cost to find or inability to find labor, as well as the cost of lower accuracy such as mis-picks, and damage caused by humans. Flexibility is also a key consideration for the business, which is harder to quantify, but crucial for business continuity.

Are you wondering whether robots are a good fit for your operation? Talk to The Distribution Experts at FORTNA for help in evaluating potential applications for these technologies. Contact us today.

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Warehouse Robots  |  Labor Challenges | Business Case for Automation

About the Author


Cheryl Falk

Sr. Vice President, Marketing & Business Development

Cheryl Falk is Senior Vice President, Marketing & Business Development at FORTNA. She leads strategic initiatives that drive global revenue growth in a dynamic and complex business landscape. Leveraging a keen understanding of next generation technologies and emerging trends, she engages C-level executives with thought leadership to assist in achieving business outcomes.