Our last blog entry briefly introduced the concept of the “dark warehouse” – a warehouse environment in which most of the work of storing and moving goods is performed by a fleet of robots guided by an automated control system. Dark warehouses represent the next step in supply chain automation, as they cut costs, increase efficiency, and are easily scalable.
Before implementing a dark warehouse system, you can take the following steps to ensure a smoother transition to an automated warehouse or distribution center management:
Step 1: Auditing
A thorough audit of your business should be undertaken. While this practice is valuable on its own, an analysis of the benefits of automation can help guide the process of which elements of the transition to prioritize for implementation. Locations with a high volume of products being picked and shipped can see the highest gains in productivity and cost-savings.
Step 2: Match Needs with Hardware
Following your location audit, the next step should be matching your operational needs with the hardware responsible for storing and retrieving the goods in your warehouse. This can range from conveyor belt systems, to any number of robotic actors – from arms and grippers that sort and redirect products or containers, to self-guided forklifts or autonomous mobile robots (or AMRs) that move incoming goods to storage and picked goods to shipping.
Step 3: Automation Integration
Lastly, the hardware elements must be integrated – with each other, and with WMS (a warehouse management system) or ERP (enterprise resource planning) software. This ensures all pieces of the system communicate and work in sync with each other for as little human error as possible.
Taking advantage of automation technology allows you to focus on enterprise growth, with integration with the right warehouse management system a critical step in the process. From container design and logistics optimization, to integrated turnkey solutions like dark warehouses, Wave Reaction provides software and hardware solutions to some of the most trusted brands in the world – and we eliminate the guesswork.