How to Achieve the Highest Warehouse Automation ROI
Written by Simab Khan
Maximizing margins is the primary goal of any warehouse business, and trying to get more in than you get out can seem like a daily struggle. Earning a worthwhile return on investment (ROI) can be a goal you are constantly striving for, but you can move a whole lot closer to it with automation in your warehouse.
Automation can save you money by cutting labour costs and increasing capacity, but how can it deliver that elusive boost to ROI, which can bring your company to the next level?
Assessing the potential ROI from automation isn’t a straightforward process but one which can be very rewarding. It is not simply about replacing one way of doing things with another, and although it will save and make you money in the long term, it requires an initial investment of time and capital.
Mapping Out Your Journey
Automation involves a fundamental change to the manufacturing and end-of-line process. Therefore, when moving from manual to automated operations, it is vital to map out the warehouse process.
To do this, you need to consider several factors. These include the space required for automation equipment. Even if you have machinery in your warehouse which handles end-of-line processes, automation equipment will have different dimensions and likely take up less space.
There is a requirement for a different piece of equipment to be placed together to ensure a smooth and efficient process.
That’s why mapping and designing is an integral part of the automation process and why they will help you more accurately your warehouse ROI.
Drawing up accurate plans for your new warehouse layout before installation means problems are less likely to arise later when equipment has already been installed.
Mapping should also include a walkthrough of your typical warehouse process, including all aspects of order fulfillment at your maximum capacity, which will give you valuable insight into what automation can contribute to your business.
Selecting the Right Equipment
Mapping out space and designing your new warehouse layout is one thing; working out what to put in it is another. That’s where Shelley Automation comes in. We can help choose the correct automation equipment for your warehouse and advise you of the most efficient systems you will need to maximize your warehouse ROI.
When selecting the right equipment for your warehouse, you will need to consider what you have room for and what your budget can stretch to. In doing so, you need to be aware of the ROI an automated system will generate.
Many systems come with a significant upfront investment, although there are finance options and government incentive programs available. Through our partnership with DLL we are able to offer leasing programs to help get you started.
The equipment you choose needs to blend in seamlessly and augment your existing processes. It should also be reliable and come with the appropriate support and software. With Shelley Automation, you are in good hands in that respect. Everything from order-picking cobots to light-guided picking solutions to robotic palletizers will help speed up order fulfillment while providing accuracy and reducing waste.
No one knows your warehouse practices better than you, but our highly knowledgeable team is well versed in a wide range of manufacturing, packaging and shipping processes. That means they are uniquely placed to advise you on the equipment that will best suit your business.
We can provide and source equipment for every step of the order fulfillment process, which can streamline your warehouse and boost your ROI.
Training and Maintenance
While warehouse redesign and the equipment itself forms a large part of your investment in automation, you need to factor in other expenditures to accurately calculate your expected ROI. This includes training your employees to handle the new equipment and the maintenance costs involved.
While automation will replace many of your employees’ manual tasks, there will still be a need to make sure they are familiar with how to program and operate the equipment. Furthermore—but making manual processes obsolete—there may be the need to retrain staff to assume more value-added roles in the company. Training will involve a degree of investment, which you will expect to be offset with the more significant revenue generated by your move to an automated system.
The equipment we supply and the source from which we get it are reliable and efficient. To maintain those high standards will require routine servicing and maintenance. This cost should be factored into any warehouse automation investment to give you a more accurate idea of what kind of ROI you can expect.
Choosing the Right Partner
Whether your primary business is manufacturing, packaging or shipping, you’ll know the value of good customer relations. We know their worth too. That’s why at Shelley Automation, we are the ideal partner to start your warehouse automation journey with.
Before you even fire up the first machine, we will help you plot your path to automation. We can advise on the equipment which best suits your requirements, and which is going to bring the best out of your business.
Not only does our team know the technology capacity of the equipment we supply, but we also see how those systems fit together in the manufacturing and end-of-life process.
We perform proof runs of your selected equipment to make sure it is good to go on day one in your warehouse, wasting no time improving your productivity and efficiency—critical components in your goal of maximizing ROI.
We provide technical support and training so you can get the best out of the equipment, and our dedicated network of engineers can be there when you most need it.
We don’t just supply equipment; we understand how that equipment has the power to transform your business, and we want to be a part of that journey.