Today, eCommerce automation technologies are no longer an option but a necessity. Why? The eCommerce industry experienced a surge during COVID-19. Even strictly brick-and-mortar stores joined the online retail market because they wanted a slice of the pie that was growing with consumers shifting their buying behavior to online shopping.
This mass adaption of eCommerce has led to a highly competitive market where to succeed, eCommerce businesses must find a way to level up and deliver the best customer experience that leads to being a desirable brand—all while remaining efficient and profitable. And the easiest way to do that is to introduce warehouse automation into your eCommerce operations.
In this blog, we’ll explain the types of eCommerce automation you can utilize in your warehouse and how they can help your brand rise to the competition.
Three eCommerce Automation Technologies You Can Use in Your Warehouse
1. Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS)
ASRS is a fully automated system that uses robots or automated vehicles to store and retrieve products in a warehouse. It typically consists of a series of racks or shelves that can be accessed by robots or vehicles, which move vertically and horizontally along the storage structure.
Since ASRS can handle a large volume of products and is designed for high-density storage, its common use case is within pallet storage rather than fulfillment operations.
2. Conveyor Systems
Second on our list of eCommerce automation technologies are conveyor systems. These systems are used to transport products throughout a warehouse along a predetermined path, such as from the loading dock to the storage area, from the storage area to the production area, or from the production area to the shipping area.
3. Goods-to-Person (G2P)/Fulfillment Robots
Among all the eCommerce automation technologies, G2P robots are the first to be deployed as they require less investment and change in infrastructure and are packed with benefits you’ll experience immediately.
The most common types of G2P robots are Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), which are used within fulfillment operations to pick orders and replenish inventory.
TARQAN is deployed with complementary automation technologies like Pick-to-Light systems which use lights to guide workers through the process of picking and packing products to reduce errors and speed up order fulfillment.
Contact our automation specialists to learn more about TARQAN!
Why You Need eCommerce Automation Technologies Within Your Warehouse
As mentioned earlier, Goods-to-Person robots are among the first-to-deployed eCommerce automation technologies, and with good reason. They help perfect fulfillment operations from the bottom up, which justifies the statistics showing more demand for warehouse automation.
Without further ado, here are the six main benefits of deploying G2P/Fulfillment robots.
1. Reduced manual labor
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the warehouse industry is taking a big hit from the labor shortage, causing businesses to experience disruption due to labor scarcity.
For those businesses challenged with a labor shortage, G2P robots are highly beneficial as they significantly reduce the amount of manual labor required for order fulfillment compared to traditional order picking methods.
2. Increased throughput
eCommerce automation technologies not only require less labor, but they also help achieve greater productivity with fewer resources.
So much so that while a person collects 120-150 products per hour, most G2P robots like TARQAN collect 400-500 products per hour, increasing workforce efficiency by 300%.
3. Increased storage space
Another scarce resource within the warehouse industry is the warehouses themselves. As more and more businesses dived into the eCommerce industry during the pandemic, a bidding war started for warehouses, storage spaces, and fulfillment centers.
So, you have to make every square meter of your warehouse count, which can only be possible with eCommerce automation technologies like G2P robots as they eliminate the space normally needed for employees to roam throughout the warehouse to fulfill orders.
With a height of only 194mm (the thinnest in its class) and an independent turnplate that provides extra maneuverability, TARQAN can operate in even the smallest areas. Thus, you gain 10% more storage capacity compared to other solutions.
4. Reduced costs
Just as the industry is recovering from the pandemic, a new threat is surfacing—recession. According to Forbes, one of the six things you can do to recession-proof your eCommerce business is to keep tabs on your overhead and unit economics.
That being said, since G2P robots are one of those eCommerce automation technologies that require less manual labor, they single-handedly reduce labor costs, one of the major overhead costs of operating a warehouse.
In addition, as mentioned earlier, eCommerce automation technologies can also optimize warehouse space, reducing the need for additional storage space and minimizing the costs associated with warehouse operations.
5. Maximum safety
The warehouse industry is notorious for being prone to work accidents. However, since eCommerce automation technologies require less human intervention, they also provide a safer work environment, making them a vital deployment for eCommerce businesses.
6. Increased customer satisfaction
Last but not least, eCommerce automation technologies play a crucial role in increasing customer satisfaction.
Ensuring the best CX for your consumers is how you can retain customers, prevent churns, and ensure repeat purchases. Thus, it is vital to be able to deliver your customers the experience that they want:
In a manual operation, 50% of the time that goes into fulfilling orders is associated with the employees walking through the warehouse to find the items. On the other hand, eCommerce automation technologies eliminate that time, providing you with faster TOCTs (Total Order Cycle Times), thus, faster deliveries.
Manually fulfilled orders can lead to inaccurate orders. However, automated processes provide 99.99% accuracy in order picking, mitigating risks, eliminating order delays, and avoiding incorrect orders.
As we’ve explained throughout this article, automating your fulfillment process will help your business cut back on costs, which you can use as a competitive advantage as it gives you flexibility with your pricing policy.
All in all…
With the rise of eCommerce during the pandemic and a recession on the horizon, the market has become highly competitive. Thus, eCommerce automation technologies, especially Goods-to-Person robots, have become essential for businesses that want to remain competitive, efficient, profitable, and, most importantly, deliver the best customer experience.
If you’re ready to adopt eCommerce automation technologies like TARQAN or have questions, contact us today.