Owners, CFOs, purchasers, “The Decision Makers” are looking for a fast Return on Investment (ROI) when deciding how to deploy their company’s capital. RIO models for implementing automation generally look for increased efficiencies and labour savings. In addition to the apparent advantages of improved efficiency and labour savings, several other sometimes overlooked benefits are also available. Space-saving, improved worker safety and improved speed and accuracy, to mention a few.
Floor space costs money. An efficiently designed automated system can free up to 40% of the floor space in a traditional warehouse. An automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS or AS/RS) using automatic lifts and robot carousels can free up valuable space. Consider maximizing your storage space by building up. Traditional man lifts/forklifts restrict how racking and floor space is designed. Automation can free up areas overhead that you may not have considered before.
Warehouse Automation reduces the risk of injury by removing the need for workers to perform elementary tasks. Traditionally, you would manually move elevated ladders/platforms to pick and pull orders without any automation. This method requires two employees to move the ladder/platform to the desired location safely. Then another employee climbs, picks the products and must either carry them down or pass them down to the other employee at the bottom. The biggest issue then becomes manually lifting heavy loads of oversized products. These could require two employees to safely remove them from the shelf and other employees to transfer them to ground level – increasing the risk of workplace injury.
Additionally, this also poses a risk of product damage. An efficiently designed ASRS can maximize space while removing operators from potentially dangerous work. The benefits of safety are evident,
- Happier workers – removing workers from dangerous situations allows workers to perform higher-level tasks and shows the company views them as an essential asset.
- Reduced Costs– “On average, businesses spend about $170 billion a year on injury and illness, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration also states that companies can reduce these costs by 20%-40% by simply improving safety procedures”.
Greater Speed and Accuracy
The more complicated a task becomes, the more difficult it is for a human to accomplish it at a high rate of speed. Designs that keep the warehouse floor in mind and incorporate advanced conveying systems complete with scanners, vision systems, automated sorting, palletizing, and wrapping improve productivity.
When deciding to automate your warehouse, consider space-saving, improved safety, more incredible speed, and accuracy in your ROI model. A relatively new ROI metric, known as Social Return on Investment (SROI), helps quantify some of these benefits. ROI only emphasizes financial gains when considering the returns on investment. It does not consider ancillary benefits, such as social or environmental goods.
Ultimately, automation is the primary topic of 2022; it accompanies many hidden benefits. Book a free evaluation of your warehouse with our automation experts, who are happy to weigh in.
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