How Flexible Parcel Handling Automation Can Help Overcome Labor Challenges
Warehouse and distribution center operators are investing in parcel handling automation to help them succeed as DCs must adapt to handling thousands of parcels each day. According to BCG, consumer companies that have invested in warehouse and fulfillment automation have experienced 20% to 50% improvement in service levels while reducing costs to a similar extent.
Companies face two primary challenges in transitioning to increased ecommerce volumes: material handling equipment and labor.
An existing distribution center may have been designed to support pallet loads and store fulfillment, so the current handling systems are not optimized for parcels. Adapting inflexible equipment and a facility for parcel operations could be costly and time consuming. Some equipment simply can’t be unbolted and redesigned.
At the same time, companies are challenged with labor issues, including hiring, retention, and training. Warehouse labor pools are experiencing high levels of turnover, even with rising wages as an incentive for longer tenures. The rapid influx of new employees requires constant vigilance in training and management to ensure accuracy and product quality.
In addition, ecommerce is typically more labor-intensive than pallet operations. Staffing and training are ongoing obstacles to supporting ecommerce operations capable of meeting customer service expectations.
With the ongoing labor gap, warehouse mechanization and automation are essential for parcel shippers to achieve their business and service goals.
Automated Parcel Handling Solutions
Automated parcel solutions streamline the process of measuring the dimensions and weight of packages within a warehouse or fulfillment center. Automation employs AI and computer vision-based dimensioning technology that measures the dimensional information of all regular and irregularly shaped parcels in less than a second.
Integrate automated parcel solutions with label printers, automated label application, scales, barcode scanners, and various shipping software to streamline the entire shipping process.
Modular, scalable equipment parcel handling architecture allows the facility and operation to adapt to changing requirements for inbound and outbound processing. Growing parcel processing operations require flexible automation solutions designed to provide customizable options, such as sorting, dimensioning, labeling, barcode reading, OCR reading, and RFID capabilities. A flexible automation solution allows operators to adapt to existing facilities while supporting variable volume and market requirements.
Automated parcel solutions can help companies transform ecommerce fulfillment operations through greater efficiency and lower costs.
5 Reasons to Automate Parcel Handling
Automated parcel handling solutions help warehouse and distribution center operators boost speed and accuracy with lower labor costs to meet the demands of consumer buying habits.
1. Labor. Process more packages faster with fewer people. Let automation handle the details and spend less time training. Reduce the need for manual dimensioning, labeling, and routing.
2. Cost. Reduce the need for manual labor and handle higher volumes without incremental cost increases.
3. Accuracy. Measure parcel dimensions consistently and accurately for fewer errors and lower shipping costs. Real-time data can flow from the parcel handling system to the WMS, OMS, ERP, and other solutions.
4. Flexibility. The ability to handle different types and dimensions of parcels increases the warehouse’s capabilities to adapt to changing inventory and operations.
5. Customer service. Improve traceability and visibility of parcels and give customers more accurate shipping time estimates while reducing shipment handling time. There’s less chance of product damage with automated handling before the package enters the delivery stream.