Warehouse Automation Ahead: Robotics for Fulfillment

Warehouse Growth – A Steam Train With No End In Sight

According to Forbes, warehousing is a “steam train with no end in sight”. Driven by massive surges in ecommerce activity, which was only accelerated by the pandemic, warehouse absorption reached 250 million square feet in 2021, up sharply over the previous 5-year average of 211 million square feet.

Fulfillment operations struggle to keep up with rising demand, larger facilities… and operations hamstrung by a tight labor market and rapid employee turnover. All this at the same time that customer expectations for shipment speed and supply chain accuracy reach new highs, the ‘acceptable performance’ bar for responsiveness and inventory management having been raised by leading players such as Amazon.

But technology has answers, with warehouse automation technology such as the inventory retrieval system, the autonomous mobile robot, the automated guided vehicle, and automated storage… all improving inventory control and warehouse efficiency.

Warehouse Robotics To The Rescue

State of the art warehouse operations have for years increasingly adopted and refined warehouse automation technology such as autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for material handling and order fulfillment. In 2022, it could be said that these technologies are now not only accessible to the rest of the market… they are increasingly becoming table stakes for anyone hoping to run a top-performing operation. There will rapidly come a day when warehouse automation systems and a solid warehouse execution system will be required just to maintain basic supply chain competitiveness.

Warehouse automation both mitigates the need for the same quantity of hard-to-attract workers and dramatically improves the productivity of each warehouse worker on staff. Output gains of 2X and 3X are routinely seen in projects which deliver positive ROI for the firm.

Surging Warehouse Robotics Adoption

The warehouse management industry is getting the message, and adoption of robotics in the supply chain is surging.

According to Statista, there are strong warehouse automation trends: The warehousing robotics market is expected to grow 137% from 2021 to 2030 (from $14.7 billion to $6.2 billion). Today, approximately 5% of warehouse space is automated. In a Freight Waves article, Rick Faulk, the CEO of Locus Robotics, says “I don’t think there is a ceiling. There will be another 6 or 7 billion square feet of warehouse space built over the next several years and that all needs to be automated.” Of course, that would not even include the massive square footage of existing warehouses, which almost must be modernized.

It’s an exciting time to be in warehousing!

Read the whole article to learn more about warehouse automation and robotics:

Warehouse robotics CEO: ‘I don’t think there is a ceiling’

Ready to explore warehouse automation with robotics in your facility?

Curious about the primary benefits of autonomous mobile robots? If you think that autonomous robots may be a fit for your warehouse or distribution center, now is a great time to kick off your project. CSSI’s team of warehouse management and AMR experts can review your workflows (picking, putaway, shipping, etc.) to identify automation opportunities which will transform your productivity. Consult with CSSI to discuss a warehouse automation solution. Contact CSSI to start the conversation.

Fetch Autonomous Mobile Robot Product Family
The Zebra Fetch line of Autonomous Mobile Robots

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