Multiple technological advancements have pushed the boundaries of what is possible in warehouse automation. Inefficient warehouse processes negatively impact customer satisfaction and it struggles with many costly issues that can hold companies back from achieving their true potential.
Supply chain leaders and managers have a mountain of responsibilities and oversee vast enterprises. Timeliness, speed, and order accuracy are some of the most in-demand aspects of today’s omnichannel world, but significant challenges still exist with inventory visibility. Failure to overcome these challenges leads to additional problems throughout the supply chain, resulting in poor customer service.
According to Reuters report warehouses, distribution centers, and order fulfillment operations employ an estimated 53.7% more workers than they did just 5 years ago
Maturing trends in omni-channel retailing, consignment inventory, and complex global supply chains put more pressure on the warehouse to increase throughput, cut costs, and reduce inventory cycles. As part of an overarching automation strategy, retailers that develop an end-to-end vision for the warehouse of the future have to identify the specific use cases and unlock value to increase its efficiency.
"According to a study investments from retailers in automation are poised to fuel significant industry growth: the warehouse-automation market is forecast to reach $51 billion by 2030, a CAGR of 23 percent."
Reducing operational bottlenecks in a warehouse and increasing inventory management efficiency
According to one study 27% of decision-makers from Manufacturing, Transportation & Logistics, and other departments plan to utilize full automation by 2024.
The Ambient Monitoring group eliminated tens of thousands of dollars in wasted time and significantly improved its inventory process by implementing an inventory management solution, including, up to $30,000 per year of time saved that was formerly used searching for parts, over $6,000 per year of time saved that was formerly consumed by managing and replenishing the stockroom and better use of inventory dollars.
38% of companies in the U.S are planning to add more SKUs (scannable barcodes) and barcode scanners for inventory accuracy.
67% of the respondents in one study indicated that being out of stock after an order is placed or simply overselling as the top inventory mistakes lead to lost customers.
Inventory visibility is key to customer satisfaction, which ultimately improves a company's chances to succeed. It lets businesses and their customers know what’s in stock, where and how much. This insight is critical for omnichannel retailers.
Without proper tracking or knowing when a brand requires stock, lead times increase and the orders get delayed. 62% of respondents reported human error from manual process management as the no.1 root cause of inventory fulfillment issues, which can be improved with a sound fleet management system. The damage caused by lost sales depends on the price of the item and the order quantity. Having a stock-out of a popular item during a peak buying season can be very costly.
The process of storing inventory also costs money. It means paying rent on oversized warehouses. Excess inventory gets in the way of warehouse operations, or it uses up space that could be used for faster-moving items. Management of the excess inventory also has a labor cost. A study found that more than 75 percent of businesses lose sales as a result of problems in managing their inventory. Beyond having too little or too much inventory, poor inventory management causes inefficiencies because you don't have accurate real-time information on how much stock you have. This increases the risk of mistakes in reordering inventory from suppliers or of selling non-existent inventory. These mistakes can also result in lost sales and lost repeat customers or oversized inventory of the wrong SKUs.
The mismanagement of inventory can lead potential customers to leave for other more organized eCommerce providers. A recent survey found that 70% of shoppers will go to a competitor rather than wait for an item that is out-of-stock; so in order to retain customers, a retailer must have stock on hand. On-time delivery of orders is the solution to 40% of respondents for making happy & lifelong customers. This can be achieved by implementing automated inventory solutions, automated storage, and retrieval systems, reducing human errors.
"According to one study reducing stock-outs and overstocks can lower inventory costs by 10%."
When conducting stocktake (inventory), staff are traditionally lifted up to the high shelves using a forklift, reach truck or scissor lift where they manually scan each barcode and pallet. This process is time consuming, costly, dangerous and energy inefficient. This can be done easily by brands through a revolutionary robotic solution that can scan products and pallets in warehouses. The drone allows for airborne capturing of data while the operator receives live feedback as it scans. Inspecting the condition of products or verifying the contents of pallets can be easily achieved as the drone is also fitted with a camera.
This is the most common use of drones in warehousing. Drones can be used to safely carry out inventory counts in warehouses. When inventories are carried out and managed manually, teams must walk round the warehouse, scanning and counting items. The process can be slow, labor-intensive, dangerous, expensive, and prone to inaccuracies.
Autonomous drones for inventory management, on the other hand, can increase inventory accuracy, while reducing abor costs and minimizing health and safety risks amongst the workforce.
Intralogistics is a catchall phrase that refers to the transportation of goods and parts within a warehouse or between a warehouse and an adjacent workshop or factory that works in coordination with a warehouse. Some examples of things that regularly need to be delivered between these locations are spare parts, lubricants, and tools. Automated drones have the potential to follow pre-established flight paths, carrying these kinds of items between different stakeholders in a warehouse operation to cut down on the time and energy it takes for a person to make the same delivery.
Drones can be a viable alternative to replace manual inspection and surveillance operations in warehouses. In warehouses, drones can for example inspect roofs, racks, pallet placements, walls, and ceilings. The growth of warehouse operations and customer demand makes inspection processes expensive and difficult. Indoor inspection tasks often require skilled inspectors and sometimes work is obstructed during inspections. Indoor drones are a perfect fit for tasks that require monitoring and inspection in dangerous areas or high altitudes.
The company incorporated drone inventory tracking system through which they were: