Preparing Your Warehouse for Automation

Adding automation to your e-commerce business can be a simple, economical way to keep up with customer demand in today’s challenging labor market. From picking, cycle counting, replenishment, sorting, and handling returns, an AI-driven robotics system and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) can dramatically increase productivity—all within your existing warehouse layout.

If you plan to add robotics to your operation, here are four easy things you can do to ensure a worry-free deployment:

Check the Floor

It’s no fun driving down a street riddled with potholes and speed bumps. AMRs are typically wheeled robots, and their bases are close to the ground for stability and maneuverability. A smooth floor surface that’s free from debris and obstacles like power cords or conduits is ideal—and it’s no more prep work than you do already to ensure a safe working environment for your people.  

Warehouse Wi-Fi

Just as people with hand-held scanners or wearables need Wi-Fi access in every corner of the warehouse, so do AMRs. Improper antenna placement, outdated router firmware, metal shelving, and even the density of items stored in the warehouse can create Wi-Fi dead spots. A quick site survey can identify such issues to ensure 100% coverage.

Taking Stock

In order for an AMR to retrieve an item for a customer’s order, it has to know what it’s looking for and where to find it. It’s important to perform an accurate physical inventory of the warehouse (items, location of items, number on-hand, etc.) and update the inventory database files as part of the deployment process. An item file that contains an item’s description, dimensions, and packaging may also be useful.

VPN Access

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and it’s a way to send information securely over the internet. A VPN creates a private communications channel that allows you to send encrypted data between point A and point B. Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) vendors—including inVia Robotics—use a VPN to securely monitor warehouse operations remotely and diagnose potential problems, which keeps you up and running smoothly 24/7.

If all this sounds a lot like what you’re already doing, that’s the point. Adding automation to your e-commerce warehouse is quicker and easier than you might think—as is your ROI.

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