Automation Advancements in Logistics A Year of Efficiency Gains

The logistics and supply chain industry has seen rapid growth and advancement in recent years, particularly when it comes to warehouse automation. As the demand for quicker, more accurate fulfilment and delivery increases, automation has become a critical element in achieving greater efficiency across the industry. The last few years marked a year of significant developments that promise to transform warehouses and distribution centres.

The Rise of Micro-Fulfilment Centres
One of the most notable trends has been the emergence of small, hyper-localised warehouses known as micro-fulfilment centres (MFCs). Located closer to urban areas and end consumers, MFCs allow faster last-mile delivery with a broader product range with quicker fulfilment. This trend has increased the adoption of new age warehouse automation technologies in the overall supply chain ecosystem to ensure fast movement of goods and replenishment.

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems
ASRS refers to the warehouse automation technology that automatically stores, retrieve, and helps you consolidate your orders from a defined storage locations with precision and optimised speed. This includes 3D ASRSs, automated cranes & mini load systems, conveyor systems, robots, shuttles, lifts and other equipment that can rapidly execute the task as compared to the human operators. The market size of Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS) was $7.90 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $14.38 billion by 2030. This is supported by rising labour costs, the need for faster fulfilment, and increasing warehouse space constraints requiring compact storage density – key challenges ASRS helps address.

Mainstream Adoption of Goods-to-Person Automation
Goods-to-person (G2P) automation – technology that brings inventory directly to warehouse pickers – has also seen a recent boom in adoption. What was once perceived as complex and costly automation for only the largest fulfilment centres has become more accessible and affordable. Affordable robotic systems, and modular conveyor platforms enable G2P in a wider range of facilities and use cases now. This aligns with the rise of micro-fulfilment mentioned previously, supporting goods-to-picker processes within small-format warehouses. One of such technologies has been recently launched by Falcon Autotech, a leading warehouse automation company, called “NEO”, NEO is a 3D ASRS system which transforms the way order fulfilment and piece picking operations are done in the warehouses. In a manual environment where a human picker spends nearly 80% of his time in walking across the shelving structure to Pick the SKUs, NEO completely eliminates this process and ensures that the picker time is 100% utilized in picking operations by bringing goods to the picker.

Rapid Growth in Autonomous Mobile Robots
Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have simultaneously emerged as one of the fastest-growing segments of warehouse automation technology. AMRs are robots that can navigate warehouses safely without wire guides or rails, flexibly moving shelves, carts and containers from point A to point B. This provides workforce assistance and semi-automated material movement without major facility reconfiguration.

The market size of the Mobile Robot sector was $6.83 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach $14.31 billion by 2030. Along with the expanding capabilities of leading AMR vendors, there has been a proliferation of robotics startups entering the industry. This is expected to drive costs down further and make AMR adoption for organisations of varying sizes and automation maturity.

Enhanced Orchestration Platforms and System Integration
With advanced automation technologies on the rise, warehouse management systems (WMS) and orchestration software have had to evolve in parallel to handle greater operational complexity. Modern WMS solutions now integrate seamlessly with AI, cobots, automated storage systems and sensor-driven infrastructure. This is imperative for coordinating end-to-end workflows, optimising tasks across humans and machinery, and maintaining inventory accuracy as automation scales up.

The Crucial Role of Warehouse Automation in Logistics
Warehouse automation plays a critical role in addressing the evolving demands of logistics, particularly in meeting the escalating expectations for faster deliveries driven by the rise of e-commerce. As reported by Statista, the majority of consumers now anticipate same-day or even quicker shipping, underscoring the urgency for logistics companies to adapt. Automation technologies, such as AMRs and modular G2P systems, enable expedited order processing and inventory throughput, crucial for meeting tight shipping deadlines and handling sudden spikes in orders.

Additionally, automation helps alleviate the strain of warehouse labour shortages, which have become prevalent across the industry. By automating repetitive tasks, organisations can offset staffing deficits while ensuring consistent output, with technologies like Collaborative Robots (Cobots) and AMRs handling basic material movements efficiently. This allows for a more strategic allocation of human resources to roles requiring higher-level skills, such as equipment maintenance and inventory planning. Furthermore, warehouse automation contributes to supply chain resilience and business continuity by incorporating redundancy features, autonomous decision-making capabilities, and flexible reconfiguration options. This reduces the impact of disruptive events like COVID-19 or technology failures on operations. Overall, investing in warehouse automation is crucial for organizations to adapt to the changing logistics landscape, enhance productivity, and ensure business continuity in the face of evolving challenges.

The Way Forward
As the logistics sector accelerates into this new age of automation, the connection between optimised warehouses and supply chain success strengthens. The future competitive landscape will be defined by automated fulfilment centres, powered by technologies like “NEO”, sophisticated analytics and AI, working in perfect harmony with autonomous transport fleets and real-time logistic ecosystems. Together, they form an unbroken chain of efficiency unmatched by traditional manual operations. Companies investing holistically across warehouse automation, asset digitisation and system integration capabilities will be best positioned to unlock unprecedented levels of shipping speed, visibility and reliability. They can meet rising consumer demands other players struggle with, particularly during high-volume periods.

Author– Sandeep Bansal (Chief Business Officer)

Read the original article here – https://cxotoday.com/story/automation-advancements-in-logistics-a-year-of-efficiency-gains/

Media Contact:
Abhishek Sahu
Marketing Manager
Abhishek@falconautoonline.com

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