Combining robotics and conveyors help DC’s ramp up to meet online ordering spikes.
Research from eMarketer reveals that ecommerce sales were expected to grow 12.8% in 2020. That was pre-COVID. Today, The U.S. census bureau predicts that ecommerce will be upward of 19-20% of overall retail sales in the latter half of 2020.
The 2020 Pandemic has also focused companies on worker safety, business continuity and automating simple tasks, while forcing retailers to innovate on the fly. To meet consumer demand, ecommerce fulfillment center needs have pivoted to include new technology that integrates well with a larger system.
Robotics have taken over first place in warehouse management solution options due to their speed, accuracy and scalability; however, incorporating new technology with tried-and-true methods needs specialized knowledge and expertise.
As DC Velocity stated in a recent article “The new technology will need to work with other equipment and infrastructure, including a longtime workhorse of the warehouse: conveyors.”
Jeff Roberts, VP System Sales at S&H Systems explains. “Robotics have become increasingly more relevant in material handling applications. The process of integrating a robot into a new or existing conveyor system is becoming faster and more economical. Whether it is an end of line palletizing application or transporting products, Robotics will continue to emerge as a leading solution in labor cost reduction, increased line productivity and more importantly – is often a safer option in operations that have inherent risk.”
Why are robotics so important to the equation? As Jeff Roberts explains above, easy integration with conveyors is key, but in the short time frame ecommerce has to meet consumer demand, robotics offer a low cost of entry. The robotic options are also easily slotted into the movement of product process wherever the need is greatest …from de-palletizing through to goods-to-person.
While conveyor’s importance for transporting items – full cases, totes, singles, completed orders – isn’t disputed, robotics can help the process by capturing more data for insight into ordering spikes, inventory management and labor assignments.
“The surge of robotics in order picking, putting and fulfillment operations has vastly increased productivity, accuracy of orders and faster shipment of products for S&H Systems’ clients,” explains Brandy Lloyd, VP Engineering. “Traditional picking applications require human interaction which, in some cases, creates mis-picks, slower picking topologies and delays in shipping. In today’s everchanging fulfillment centers, you must adapt and scale quickly to meet new demands and expectations.”
A recent Reuters article supports the need for increasing the percentage of robotics in a warehouse, stating that robotics can be a ‘quicker to market’ path, and allow companies to move much needed labor to higher function stations, while keeping valuable labor safe and healthy.
Currently S&H Systems is working with large, national ecommerce companies to achieve labor reallocation, faster shipments of orders and safer work environments. S&H Systems also has the added benefit of in-house installation, quality assurance and program management teams, who have years of experience working within live warehouse operations – with a goal of no downtime.
When you’re looking for ecommerce solutions for today’s ‘new normal’, consider S&H Systems. Not only are we experts in warehouse operations, we’re growing our range of robotic choices and continue to add expertise in all areas, helping our clients stay competitive in a fluid situation.