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Robots have come a long way from their origin to today, where they are capable of doing almost any task. Robotic technology has changed the image of today’s world. Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way, and now robots are more advanced than ever. AI-powered robots are based on the principles of human intelligence defined as how machines mimic human intelligence to perform simple and complex tasks.
Like in any other industry, AI-powered robots have also become an essential part of the warehousing industry. Earlier robots were only capable of performing repetitive tasks such as moving pallets along predetermined paths, with the possibility of a small detour to avoid obstructions. The new robots can move autonomously automating almost any activity in a natural environment handling goods of different sizes and shapes.
With increasing internet penetration and the rise of the e-commerce industry, businesses are beginning to invest in automation, which only accelerated exponentially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. . Now, built-in automation has become indispensable to meet supply chain challenges, fluctuating demand, SKU proliferation, and delivery requirements.
AI enables warehouse automation through AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robots), grippers and bin picking systems to work more efficiently than ever. Many factors are responsible for promoting AI-based warehouse automation:
Repetitive operations: There is no doubt that operations in warehouses are monotonous in nature and advanced robots are needed in warehouses to perform such tasks. AI-enabled robots are very efficient for such operations as they help sort, pick up and put products in their designated place. Moreover, inventory management can be maintained easily with smart software behind such robots.
High labor costs: Labor cost is the biggest cost driver for any industry. In order to reduce labor costs, fight competition, ensure timely delivery and meet growing consumer demand, warehouse automation is the best solution. Also, unlike operations in a manufacturing shop or in the automotive industry, the majority of tasks in a warehouse are fault-tolerant. Robots are able to retry if they mistakenly drop something into a warehouse as long as they can do so quickly and successfully without destroying the products.
To make the supply chain robust: Supply chains have been significantly affected globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic as labor availability has been a challenge. So, to avoid such eventualities in the future, robots offer an excellent solution by filling the lack of manpower. They are programmed to perform repetitive tasks so humans can focus on more valuable tasks. AI-powered robots gave an added edge by performing repetitive tasks with greater precision.
To ensure workplace safety: Robots can be used to automate labor-intensive tasks, thereby increasing workplace safety, as well as productivity. Monotonous tasks cause fatigue, both mental and physical, in the workforce, resulting in lower productivity. AI-enabled robots help reduce mental strain by reducing the chance of errors so workers can focus on more fruitful tasks.
A future driven by robotics in warehouse management: AAs companies explore ways to increase operational efficiency and productivity, artificial intelligence will continue to push the boundaries of robotic deployment in warehouses, and warehouse management and AI will become more intertwined. Supply chain managers must consider the limitations of operational efficiency in warehouses and address them with the potential of warehouse automation using robotics and artificial intelligence.
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