The Business Case for Robotics in Distribution Centers
Distribution and fulfillment centers have been battling to meet the growing demands of e-commerce for quite some time. Those demands were already accelerating at a rate of 25%, but the COVID-19 pandemic has seen consumer e-commerce sales grow an additional 50%. Currently, 80% of distribution centers (DCs) operate with a manual workforce and have a very limited labor pool to choose from. To maximize operational efficiency within this “new normal,” DCs will need to consider integrating robotic warehouse solutions to make up for the labor shortage and increase productivity.
While DCs have been operating with labor shortages for some time, the current e-commerce climate under the COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the immediate need to utilize robotic solutions to overcome the limitations of using manual labor. Warehouses that fulfill e-commerce orders are known for seeing a lot of change and managing a variety of SKUs. Although robots are known to operate in repetitive and highly structured conditions, DCs can rely on robotic solutions to integrate data science for quick decision-making, increase productivity, and take charge of monotonous tasks so that manual labor can be better allocated elsewhere in the warehouse.
Automating responsibilities in the warehouse allows for robots to handle physically demanding tasks, while manual labor can be utilized for more advanced and fulfilling warehouse needs. This helps to combat the high turnover rates seen by DCs among lower-level tasks. Another benefit to adopting robotic solutions in your warehouse is quelling the rising cost of manual labor. This means that you will see a financial ROI much quicker than before.
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