Intelligent Process Automation is rapidly changing the Manufacturing industry and robotics continues to emerge as a large and influential market. Businesses around the world are employing robotic automation to streamline operations, improve safety and ultimately increase revenue.
An automated warehouse offers immense benefits for operational efficiency and profit margins. But without an integrated solution to orchestrate these systems, you can’t maximize the potential of your operations.
What is IPA
Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) typically uses artificial intelligence to handle repetitive, rules-based tasks. This technology is the next frontier for businesses looking to streamline processes, increase productivity and ultimately improve their bottom-line.
A 2017 study from the McKinsey global consultancy reported that the IPA market is expected to grow 70 to 90 percent by 2020 because successful pilot projects are inspiring buyer confidence in the technology. The study also predicted that the rising tide of automation could provoke substantial workplace transformations in the next decade.
Technology could replace up to 375 million employees worldwide by 2030, the McKinsey authors estimate. However, this doesn’t mean human labour is at risk: robots are usually employed to perform repetitive and predicable tasks. According to the report automation will have a lesser effect on jobs that involve managing people, applying expertise, and social interactions, where machines are unable to match human performance for now.
In summary, the main advantages robots can bring to manufacturing process are:
- increased consistency
- increased accuracy
- higher production quality
- faster cycle speed
- improved workplace safety
- reduction of labour costs
- reduction of workspace footprint
- integration with existing enterprise systems
IPA, WCS and WMS
Without the correct systems in place to control your warehouses’ robots, this cutting-edge technology could cause more damage than good. Therefore, before you transition your DC to full IPA make sure your Warehouse Management solutions have the flexibility to support and manage your automated functions.
As previously discussed in this article, it’s critical to have a complete picture of your site’s automation. From conveyors to robotics, the unique combination of automated systems in warehouses needs to function seamlessly. Bottlenecks and mechanical breakdowns are a part of day-to-day operations. What gives businesses competitive advantage is how their warehouses manage these incidents.
Warehouse Control System
A warehouse control system (WCS) is a software solution for directing simultaneous activity flows within warehouses or distribution centre. It provides an integrated interface for managing a broad range of automated sub-systems like conveyor belts, carousels, palletizers and sorters.
At each decision point, the WCS determines the most efficient flow and conveys commands to the equipment controllers to achieve the desired result. Moreover, real-time data from all connected systems allows for any issues to be quickly flagged and traffic rerouted around the problem, giving users an immediate prompt to fix the problem.
Automated facilities often have a WCS that integrates with a warehouse management system (WMS) to ensure all processes work seemingly and provide complete Operational Visibility.
Warehouse Management System
A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software solution that optimises the operational aspect of the business. It focuses on broader activities including end-to-end orders fulfilment, inventory and labour management.
A WMS can automate and optimise all processes within your supply chain, shrinking turnaround windows. Additionally, automation can help with planning and managing inventory, leading to up to 99+ percent inventory accuracy.
Finally, optimising storage systems through directed stock rotation, intelligent picking directives, automatic consolidation, and cross-docking ensures no space in your warehouse is wasted.
iWMS Australasia utilizes HighJump technology, a solution that can be scaled and tailored to meet any business needs. The core software architecture can be easily adapted in a fraction of the time of conventional systems, and at a fraction of the cost! And because all changes are external to the core software, upgrades and support are not compromised. This guarantees low total cost of system ownership.
Contact us today to discuss your business requirements.