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What Does an Automated Warehouse System Look Like in Practice?

Many warehouses are looking toward automation for streamlined management of product and product data. However, building an automated warehouse requires not only the right technology but an understanding of what the system looks like in practice. You probably have questions like:

  • What areas of warehouse automation deliver the most efficiencies?
  • Do you really need them all?
  • Will warehouse staff lose their jobs?

The short answer: the right automated warehouse system will create a one-touch process for order fulfillment and ensure that your staff can do their jobs efficiently. Aka less human error and more time for strategic tasks. It’s a win-win.

Automated Warehouse Systems: An Overview

Warehouse automation begins right in the shopping cart. The moment a transaction occurs, whether it’s on Shopify, Amazon, eBay or another eCommerce channel, it sends a signal into the warehouse operations system. Then, within the system, the magic begins.

Using open application programming (APIs) and a virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI), the transaction enters the system, where filters and triggers group the order and build an efficient workflow for its processing and delivery.

In the meantime, all that the warehouse operator has to do is sit back and wait for the right workflow to kick in. That sure as heck beats the alternative: manually downloading the order list, sifting through them, finding the right labels and determining the right shipping path. An automated warehouse system takes care of it all.

Ultimately, a warehouse management system removes the headaches and manual work from the operator's day and spits out tasks for all your normal workers — so no one has less to do, it's just more organized. And just like that, everyone gains back time in their day.

Automated Warehouse System Essentials

Outside of basic fulfillment — receiving, packing and shipping — an automated warehouse system can support your back-to-back operations, boost metrics like MRR and ensure growth in the long term. How? By leveraging AI-like capabilities, advanced warehouse management systems can help you maintain and push your growth to new heights.

Centralized Platform with AI Capabilities

You can manage unique workflows for different lines of business under a single platform because an all-in-one warehouse management system will act as the foundation for seamless data exchange from inventory to shipping to purchase orders.

AI capabilities then turn this data into actionable business insights. Warehouse managers can make timely data-driven decisions, responding to existing information in real-time and taking proactive steps according to predictive analytics data.

Scheduling, Business Rules & Smart Filters

Timing and accuracy are at the forefront of any warehouse operation. With a warehouse management platform that offers advanced scheduling and filters, you can automate the execution of order fulfillment plans, replenishment of pick face assignments, script plans and more. Just schedule plans to run automatically during specific times and according to your business rules — and the orders will be accurately picked and pushed out of the warehouse.

Order Consolidation

Thoughtful consolidation is key not only to meeting customer demands but to optimizing the zoned picking areas of the warehouse. From backorder fulfillment to shopping cart consolidation, a warehouse management system automates what order should be picked, how they should be allocated based on receipt dates or expiration and where it needs to go. Plus, this all happens behind the scenes!

Implementation & Support

Find a partner that can support you from day one. From knowledge base content and training to implementation support and data-based insights, the right warehouse automation vendor will act as a helpful, dependable guide for their customers. Plus, the right vendor will always recommend new modules and features to boost MRR, providing support at scale.

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Warehousing and shipping are a critical piece of your business. So why not get the most out of your processes? If you want to learn more, we put together a guide to implementing a truly better warehousing system, not just an improvement on your current process, without decreasing your value to the company. Take a look!

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