Warehousing is changing and few companies are changing with it. Amazon is one exception because it purchased Kiva Systems in 2012. This little company, now renamed Amazon Robotics, manufactures robots to improve warehouse operations and productivity. More than 30,000 of these robots work in Amazon facilities. Since then, large retailers and big box stores have invested in technology that is more effective than conveyor systems for managing warehouse operations. They save on costs, improve productivity, and enhance warehouse security.
Walmart is testing robots called Alphabot, as well as introducing other technologies into its stores. The Alphabots collect goods and deliver them to human pickers for sorting. These robots replace the commonly used conveyor systems.
Target has pledged more than $7 billion to retrofit 600 of its stores with newer technology. In doing this, they're turning backrooms into hyperlocal distribution centers. Despite these moves, Supply Chain 24/7 reports that fewer than 10 percent of warehouses manage their inventories with automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS). With many warehouses not using these technologies, it's a perfect opportunity to invest in the more effective robotics and drones instead of AS/RS.
Here's why. Supply Chain 24/7 indicates that robotics and drones have an ROI of three to six months. For AS/RS systems, the ROI is five to 10 years. Companies switching to robots save on real estate and labor costs. What gives robotics a faster ROI is that it allows companies to automate their supply chain with little or no impact on the infrastructure.
The addition of robots, drones, and advanced technologies will drive the need to reinforce warehouse security. Not only do you need to concern yourself with theft of products from the warehouse, but also the technology that manages it. Inbound Logistics says the FBI estimates cargo theft costs U.S. companies approximately $28 million dollars. And fewer than 20 percent gets recovered.
They can't pinpoint exact costs because many incidents go unreported. Companies fear reporting thefts causes negative publicity that could affect their business and stock. Furthermore, the advent of the internet of things (IoT) also increases the need for remote video surveillance as IoT devices can be hacked.
Here's what you can do to improve warehouse security:
Stealth Monitoring’s proactive security solution can watch indoor and outdoor assets in real time, to catch events as they happen. In this video, our trained operators spotted two individuals set a fire in the loading dock of a Las Vegas industrial property and immediately called the fire department. Fire officials arrived to extinguish the fire before extensive damage was done.
Taking action to improve warehouse security does pay off. Inbound Logistics shares a case study in which an organization reviewed incidents, improved security, and shared information. Its large-scale thefts dropped from $4.2 million to $200,000.