Many small to medium-sized businesses delay automation as a result of physical and financial considerations, as well as worries about integrating it into the business and operating the equipment. There is no doubt that automation can mark a vast change for companies, but this change is likely to be for the better in many cases.
Whether you need it and the type of automation required will depend on your specific business operations. If, for example, you are considering whether you should automate your shipping operation, the answer is likely to be yes if your workforce is picking and shipping 10,000 individual cases or more each shift. If this is the case, your business should benefit from an entry-level sorting system, but even if you are processing lower volumes, there may still be operational benefits if you decided on a WMS, or Warehouse Management System, which can improve customer service and efficiency.
Issues to Consider
Whatever size of facility your business operates from, you should attempt to ensure that the footprint of any automation you have is as small as possible to achieve your operational aims. This will minimise the financial outlay and the space required.
If space is short, system planners may want to consider automation equipment with horizontal carousals or vertical storage or picking modules.
The Benefits Of Standalone Automation
Upgrading your business can be achieved quite simply with a standalone option to automate a certain area of your operation, although it must be remembered that scanning technology and a WMS are often considered as the essential starting point when updating and upgrading.
Once the basics are in place, your company can benefit hugely from standalone automation’s ability to be tailor-made to suit your business needs. This means that it is possible to only automate areas where it is most required and to add further equipment as and when it is needed.
It may be that there is an under-performance in an area that could be eased by investment in a case erector or carton taping machine, or there are the obvious business benefits of a pallet stretch wrapping machine.
All of this packaging machinery and equipment is simple to use, to integrate and to implement, and there are few businesses that report that the initial cost is not justified by the business gains. What is more, many owners and managers claim that automation of their end of line processes, is the only option for businesses that want, or need, to build or maintain a reputation in the fast-responding competitive business world of today.