Streamlining Warehouse Operations: 9 Key Processes That Can Be Automated

Efficient warehouse operations are essential, and automation is crucial in improving productivity, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness for businesses.

You can benefit greatly from automating processes such as order processing, inventory management, and returns processing. This can lead to reduced labor costs, increased productivity, improved inventory accuracy, and higher levels of customer satisfaction.

With automation comes the added advantages of minimizing errors, optimizing space utilization, enabling data-driven decision-making, and ensuring scalability and adaptability to meet ever-changing market demands. By embracing automation, you can stay competitive, efficient, and prepared for the future of warehousing and logistics.

Although warehouses and distribution facilities have many advantages, such as improved efficiency and productivity, only 5% of warehouses have implemented advanced automation technology. Surprisingly, over 80% of warehouses still lack any form of automation despite 42% planning to invest in technology and automation.

For businesses that aren’t using automation yet, we outline 9 key processes that can be automated.

10 Key Processes That Can Be Automated

Although many areas can be automated in a business, we will highlight the 9 most important ones for you.

  1. Receiving process
  2. Inventory management and tracking
  3. Order processing
  4. Quality control and inspections
  5. Returns management
  6. Cycle counting and auditing
  7. Data analytics and reporting
  8. Pick and pack process
  9. Maintenance and repairing

By automating these key processes, you can achieve remarkable improvements in warehouse operations, paving the way for sustainable growth and operational excellence.

1. Receiving process

You can streamline your warehouse operations and achieve greater efficiency by utilizing barcode scanning, RFID technology, and automated data capture.

  • Barcode scanning enables quick and accurate data capture, eliminating manual entry errors and providing real-time updates on received items.
  • RFID technology automates the identification and tracking of incoming items, enabling simultaneous scanning of multiple items and expediting the receiving process.
  • Automated data capture eliminates manual documentation by automatically recording item details, quantities, and supplier information.

2. Inventory management and tracking

Automating inventory management and tracking can enhance accuracy, efficiency, and productivity.

  • Automation allows for the seamless integration of order information from various channels, such as e-commerce platforms or customer service systems, directly into the warehouse management system (WMS).
  • Automated systems can also perform real-time inventory checks, ensuring the availability of products before order processing begins.
  • Real-time inventory visibility provided by automation enables businesses to make informed decisions regarding stock levels, replenishment, and order fulfillment.
  • Automation streamlines replenishment processes by triggering automatic reorder points, ensuring optimal stock levels, and minimizing stockouts. It facilitates optimized stock rotation, ensuring older stock is utilized first, reducing waste and potential losses.

With OPLOG’s software which integrated into TARQAN you can effectively manage inventory, track orders, and monitor warehouse operations. It allows you to focus on strategic growth while reducing costs associated with staffing and equipment.

3. Order processing

Streamlining the order process involves automating the tasks needed to process customer orders, such as order entry, validation, allocation, and tracking.

Automating these tasks simplifies the process, lessens the need for manual effort, and increases efficiency.

  • It typically integrates order management systems, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and other relevant systems to facilitate seamless order processing and management.

4. Quality control and inspections

Automation can enable real-time inspections, allowing for immediate identification and resolution of quality issues.

  • Machine vision systems can analyze products at high speeds and precision, detecting defects that human inspectors may miss.
  • Automated testing and inspection equipment can perform repetitive tasks consistently and accurately, eliminating the variability and fatigue that may arise from human involvement.
  • Data analytics is also important in automated quality control, as they provide insights into trends, patterns, and potential areas for improvement, allowing businesses to implement preventive measures and continuously enhance their product quality.

5. Returns management

You can streamline the entire returns process by implementing automated returns management systems.

  • Automation can handle return requests, automatically assess product condition through barcode scanning or image recognition, update inventory in real-time, and initiate the appropriate actions, such as issuing refunds or processing replacements.
  • Integrating automated returns management systems with customer relationship management (CRM) software allows businesses to seamlessly track and manage customer returns, providing personalized and responsive customer service throughout the returns process.

6. Cycle counting and auditing

Automation offers significant improvements in total order cycle counting and auditing.

  • Drones with cameras and sensors can swiftly scan large areas and capture real-time images, providing accurate and efficient inventory auditing.
  • By automating cycle counting and auditing, businesses can achieve real-time visibility into their inventory. This visibility allows for better inventory management decisions, such as timely replenishment, minimizing stockouts, and reducing overstocking.
  • Automation reduces downtime, as inventory auditing can be conducted without interrupting regular operations.

Using goods-to-person robots can offer benefits beyond just 50% faster operations. These robots can also increase workforce efficiency by 300% and achieve 99.99% order-picking accuracy, among other advantages. Learn more!

7. Data analytics and reporting

Automated systems can consolidate data from various sources, such as sales records, customer feedback, and operational metrics, into a centralized database.

  • Once the data is gathered, automated systems can analyze trends, patterns, and correlations, uncovering valuable insights to drive informed decision-making. These systems can generate performance metrics and reports in real-time, providing businesses with up-to-date information on key performance indicators, sales trends, customer behavior, and more.

8. Pick and pack process

Automating pick and pack processes with equipment such as autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are crucial in optimizing warehouse operations.

  • Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are self-driving vehicles that can transport goods within the warehouse without human intervention. AGVs navigate through the warehouse using sensors and follow pre-defined routes, eliminating the need for manual forklifts or pallet jacks.
  • AMRs enhance efficiency by autonomously navigating the warehouse and optimizing the movement of goods for picking, packing, and shipping. Their flexibility which can be easily reconfigured to handle different tasks and can adapt to changing warehouse layouts and their scalability which makes them easily scaled up or down to match the needs of the warehouse enable businesses to adapt to changing demands and dynamically allocate resources.

9. Maintenance and repairing

You can also automate maintenance and repair processes to improve your warehouse operations.

  • Predictive maintenance systems utilize sensor data and analytics to detect patterns and anomalies in equipment performance, allowing potential failures to be identified before they occur.
  • Automated alert systems promptly notify maintenance teams of abnormal conditions or impending failures, enabling them to take immediate action.
  • Automated work order systems further facilitate the scheduling and tracking maintenance tasks, ensuring that necessary repairs are efficiently addressed.

All in all…

Automation is the key to success in the fast-paced world of warehouse operations. By embracing automation, you can experience many benefits that enhance efficiency and delight customers. So, why wait? Embrace automation and revolutionize your warehouse operations for a brighter future.

TARQAN has an intelligent fleet management system that helps to optimize routes, especially during busy periods, for smooth and efficient operations. If you’re ready to adopt warehouse automation technologies like TARQAN or have questions, contact us today.


This website stores cookies on your computer. These cookies are used to improve your website experience and provide more personalized services to you, both on this website and through other media. To find out more about the cookies we use, see our Privacy Policy.