Right-Sizing and Leveraging Fulfillment Automation

Q. How can right-sizing automation addresslabor shortages? Does it lead to increased employee engagement?

A. Automation, when correctly applied, should have two benefits: performing tasks with fewer people, and increasing the value of (remaining) employee tasks.

Consider automation as a tool, doing the heavy lifting with repetitive tasks and the heavy thinking that goes into those tasks.

When staff interact with these solutions, they see more being accomplished with their efforts. The higher perceived value on a task, the more likely it will increase engagement, with that engagement feeling more significant to staff.

This is vital for keeping well-performing employees around.

Q. Why are modular systems so essential for e-commerce fulfillment operations?

A. Unless an entire operation is being built from scratch, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Fulfillment operations often have modules for different customers, each with unique requirements.

With our Chameleon Parcel Processing Solution, for example, the fulfillment space is most often utilized to automate tasks after packaging is finalized.

Some companies may only need a scan-sort solution, others scan-print-and-apply, some need both, and then you run into weighing and dimensioning on-the-fly requirements.

Our pick and put-to LightSort Technology can be retrofitted to sections of existing racks systems and then expanded across others. Once retrofitted, they can house differing workflows across modules, for example, depending on the picking methodology (traditional, wave, etc.).

Put walls are perfectly modular as they can be expanded, replicated for different modules, or even moved around on wheels.

Q. Why do you think the misconception that automation is only for larger companies continues to persist? How wouldyou addressthat?

A. Historically larger companies have been the ones automating, simply due to their larger amounts of capital. As automation technology evolves, the cost to acquire and implement go down.

With the ever-increasing demands on fulfillment operations, from stricter SLAs to ever increasing volumes, the perfect storm is created. Many are going to pull the trigger on solutions that provide quick benefits. Due to the built-in modularity of their operations, they can automate specific things in specific places, referred to as point automation.

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