The Corona pandemic might have accelerated e-commerce and disrupted supply chains, but it has also increased interest in automation as a highly efficient warehousing solution.
As a result of the pandemic, inventory management experts such as Kardex have noticed that many companies are now considering automation. This is particularly noticeable within e-commerce, where companies are seeing an increase in demands to meet the needs of their customers. This increase in orders has resulted in a need to maintain service levels. Optimised warehousing processes are one way to fulfil this need.
Businesses currently working with manual inventory management face several challenges. For example, the need for staff to stretch and bend while retrieving certain goods and the time to search, pick, check, compile and send out orders.
Automation reduces these steps. By making optimal use of the building’s ceiling height, the goods are stored on a very compact surface or footprint. This significantly reduces running time. Items that are usually stored on 300-350 m2 with traditional storage shelves can instead be accommodated in a machine that only occupies 10-20 m2 of the storage space. Storage systems such as Kardex Compact Buffer are connected to the customer’s business system and provide the means to pick up the desired items, deliver them directly to an ergonomic picking opening where laser pointers show exactly which goods are to be picked, thereby reducing the risk of error.
Kardex Robomotive utilises modern robot technology to pick and deliver a seamless connection between the storage machines and the sorting or picking/packing line. Because the solution is an “add-on”, existing Kardex customers can easily upgrade their semi-automated solutions to fully automated systems. This is an advantage because they can streamline their processes significantly with minimal impact on existing structure.
“Since then, we have had many examples of customers where staff have been forced to stay at home due to covid symptoms,” says Debra Wilkins, UK MarCom Manager. ‘Automation gives an incredible advantage. The machines can work 24 hours a day if needed and they are designed to make it easy for staff to be trained in their use. At the same time, you can give the staff other tasks so that they avoid an often very monotonous and demanding job with its associated long-term ergonomic problems.’
Automation suits most companies that handle small and medium-sized products. Kardex collaborates with all its customers in a long-term partnership so that challenges can be overcome jointly, and smarter warehouse solutions can be developed. Their scalable system allows you to start with a smaller installation then gradually increase automation in line with business’s growth and increasing logistical challenges.
Kardex is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of warehouse vending machines and offers flexible, tailor-made warehouse systems. They install and service both simple, scalable solutions and large, fully automated flows for customers within such fields as e-commerce, electronics, the automotive and food industries.