Offline retailers are learning about the benefits of some of the practises of online retailers. While leading etailers like Amazon, Jabong, Pepperfry and Flipkart have automated warehouses, retailers are looking to do the same. Hindustan Unilever and Future Group are planning to automate their warehouses. They intend to turn their storage 100% robot monitored.
Logistics companies like Delhivery, Gojavas, DTDC among others also have fully automated warehouses.
“We have already automated our warehouses around 3 years back and we continue to adopt new technologies and plan to invest around Rs 60 to Rs 100 crore in 2016-17,” confirms Rakesh Biyani, director of Future Group.
Why automate warehouses?
An automated warehouse, as the name suggests, is a warehouse where the consignments are stored and transferred by machines. Conveyor belts, pulleys and robots are employed in an automated system, and human involvement is either partly or fully eliminated.
The benefits of having an automated warehouse include:
Elimination of manual entry
Simplifying and tackling the issues related to backend and last mile
Smoother handling and operation process
Fewer number of handling steps
Automating their warehouses is going to be an important investment for ecommerce companies. An Ekart representative says,
“By bringing together core capabilities of IoT, devices, data and automation, we have started implementing the automation technology to pick and move packages to designated picking station, among several other applications that make warehouse processes quicker and smoother.”
Saravana Sastha K, Global Practice Leader, Business Consulting at ITC Infotech says that post the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), the general climate in the logistics sector will improve. He says,
“Large scale investments in warehousing to improve scale, flexibility and productivity through automation, process improvements and IT investments will happen. Smarter fulfilment, lower cost of operation, controlled environment for perishable products, cross-docking, traceability and multi-channel serviceability, etc. will drive huge investments in smart IT systems and automation in WMS, material handling, automated pallet racking, storage and retrieval systems. There is a lack of skilled labourers in this industry and this will also be another important driver for increasing penetration of IT and automation in the Indian logistics industry.”
Leading players in the field
Warehouse automation is a lucrative area, and smart entrepreneurs have made their way to this spot. Grey Orange, a Gurgaon based company helps companies in sorting and arranging their products. The company’s product the Butler helps store and organise the products and the Sorter scans and sorts packages.
Smaller companies with a limited budget can rent Boxme’s automated warehouses.
With all these features, ecommerce companies would do good to automate their warehouses.