Why Humans and Automation Make the Perfect Warehouse Team

Learn why blending human skills with automation can lead to a top-performing, efficient warehouse operation.

May 16, 2023

Warehouse automation female warehouse worker

Hello there! As technology continues to advance, more and more businesses are turning to automation, especially in warehouses. While automating tasks can be convenient, some roles in a warehouse benefit from having a human touch. Let’s explore why human automation is vital for creating a productive and efficient warehouse.

Warehouse automation robots

The Power of Human Automation

A Closer Look at the Warehouse Environment

Warehouses are far from simple storage spaces – they’re intricate systems that demand attention and understanding. Human automation considers the unique aspects of a warehouse, such as diverse inventory types, fluctuating storage needs, and multiple picking and packing processes. In the UK alone, there are approximately 183,000 warehouses, each with its unique challenges that human automation can skillfully address.

Adaptability: The Key to Success

The warehouse environment is ever-evolving, so processes must adapt accordingly. Human automation enables quick, smooth changes, ensuring operations remain current and efficient. In contrast, automated workflows can be difficult to tweak, often requiring extensive coding and testing before being put into action. With the e-commerce market continuously growing, quick adaptability is essential for warehouses to keep up with consumer demands.

Flexibility: Handling the Unexpected

Automated workflows may be speedy, but they lack human automation’s flexibility. For instance, automated systems might struggle with unforeseen circumstances like a sudden surge in orders or equipment breakdown. Human automation allows for swift, practical solutions, ensuring uninterrupted workflows. A real-life example in the UK is Ocado’s automated warehouse, which experienced a fire caused by a robot malfunction. Human intervention and quick thinking were crucial in mitigating the damage.

Automation and Humans: A Winning Combination

The Vital Role of Human Input

Automation has its place, but it shouldn’t entirely replace human input. Human operators bring valuable insights that can improve automated workflows. For example, humans can spot process inefficiencies, which can be addressed through automation to enhance overall productivity.

Enhancing Human Abilities

Technology can also augment human capabilities. Wearable tech, for instance, can supply real-time data for optimising workflows. Automated tools like forklifts and conveyor belts can also support human operators, reducing physical strain and boosting efficiency. In the UK, companies like Amazon use robotic systems to assist their human workforce, creating a more streamlined operation.

Safety First

Automation has great potential to enhance warehouse safety. Nevertheless, human operators are vital for ensuring safety protocols are followed. Humans can monitor automated workflows and step in if safety concerns arise, preventing accidents from occurring. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK reported 5,550 non-fatal injuries in the warehouse sector in 2018/19, further highlighting the importance of human oversight in maintaining a safe working environment.

Summing Up

In summary, human automation is the secret sauce for a successful warehouse. While automation has its benefits, human-automation offers the flexibility, adaptability, and understanding needed to thrive in the warehouse environment. By combining human skills with technology, warehouses can enhance efficiency, safety, and overall performance.

Clarus WMS catalyses businesses seeking to harness the power of automation, propelling them to new heights of efficiency and productivity. Clarus WMS streamlines warehouse operations by implementing automated workflows, reducing manual labour and human error while increasing accuracy and speed. This innovative system intelligently allocates resources, optimises space utilisation, and facilitates seamless communication between various departments.

As a result, businesses can enhance their competitive edge through improved order fulfilment, inventory management, and overall operational performance. In essence, Clarus WMS empowers organisations to ascend the automation ladder, unlocking the full potential of their warehouse processes and driving sustainable growth. Interested? Set your intro call here today!

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