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Solving Common Pain Points with Robotics and Automation

Every business, regardless of size, will encounter problems that hamper its operations. These are known as “pain points.” A pain point is a problem or a need awaiting a solution.

In the world of e-commerce, pain points abound, but many online retailers and fulfillment warehouses cite three specific ones that keep them up at night—three that can be effectively addressed almost immediately by investing in robotics and automation. 

Labor

People are the core of most fulfillment operations, and in today’s tight labor market, they can be hard to come by. The unemployment rate in July held steady at 3.7%, marking the 17th consecutive month that it’s been at or below 4.0%. That’s considered “full employment” by most economists, which means finding and retaining qualified workers is a challenging and expensive proposition.

In major e-commerce and logistics hubs like Atlanta, Memphis, and parts of Southern California and New Jersey, there are lots of warehouse jobs to fill, but not enough workers to fill them.

As a result, many warehouse managers are forced to rely on temporary workers—which means incurring the cost of training a transient labor force that’s not likely to stick around for long and may not bring a level of commitment or diligence to their work that warehouse managers would like to see. And once those workers are up to speed, you’ve still got to account for a number of variables, including absenteeism and injuries.

One of the most effective ways to address this pain point is with automation. When you deploy an automated picking system, such as our next-generation Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) system, you get a fleet of mobile robots capable of running for hours on end, day or night, completely autonomously.

Our robots map your warehouse and select the most efficient routes, using machine learning and AI to continually optimize the fulfillment process. Our system also provides an unprecedented level of scalability. Adding additional robots is a seamless process, allowing you to quickly scale up capacity to fulfill orders faster during peak times, and then scale back during the off-season.

Accuracy

No matter how well-trained and attentive your people are, mistakes will be made—creating a ripple effect of lost time when an order is missing an item or a duplicate product needs to be removed and returned to the shelves. 

Our robots pick with 99.9% accuracy and deliver totes or bins directly to the sorting and packing stations, reducing the number of touches that can lead to errors. Highly-accurate picking means far fewer orders need to be fixed prior to shipping, and you spend less time and resources on quality control. 

Maintenance

One of the traditional barriers to automation is the issue of maintenance: large automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) are extremely expensive to install, and a breakdown at any point in the system can bring the entire fulfillment process to a halt.

With our picking robots, you never have to worry about a single point of failure shutting down your operations. Our Robotics Operations Center (ROC) at inVia’s headquarters is staffed with a team of robotics technicians who monitor your inVia system 24/7. We identify any potential issues before they become problems and can make adjustments to robots mid-fulfillment to prevent disruptions.

We also perform regularly-scheduled preventative maintenance, and much like the updates you receive periodically to your mobile phone’s operating system, inVia is continuously updating its software in the background using artificial intelligence to analyze data and recommend continuous process improvements.

And with our RaaS model, you don’t need to a robotics expert. That’s our job. Continuous optimization, proactive monitoring, and all hardware and software upgrades are included as part of the deployment agreement, so there are no hidden fees.

Why Does it Matter?

Finding a solution to a pain point requires properly identifying the actual problem, or as a Harvard professor famously noted, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”

That’s what we do at inVia Robotics. We work constantly to identify the most pressing problems faced by fulfillment operations and provide automation solutions to solve them. 

Ready to start transforming your warehouse? Please give us a call – we’d love to hear from you.