Benefits of Pairing WMS with Autonomous Mobile Robotics (AMRs)
Originally published on April 6, 2023 by Erhan Musaoglu, Updated on April 6, 2023
If you oversee supply chain logistics, chances are you have already been exposed to the latest warehouse automation supertool: autonomous mobile robotics (AMRs). This generation of robotics is helping take fulfillment operations and material handling to the next level, with the ability to integrate with warehouse control centers and carry out operational tasks without human intervention.
In this blog, we will define AMRs in relation to warehouse operations, why they have become so transformative for the fulfillment industry, and the benefits of pairing them with your warehouse management systems (WMS).
The Rise of Robotics in Fulfillment Centers
As ecommerce and direct-to-consumer (DTC) operations have grown, so has the need for more efficient fulfillment processes and technologies. Unlike traditional B2B operations, DTC operations require more steps to fulfill individual orders – including processes like receiving, putaway, pick and pack operations, shipping, returns and more.
For this reason, process automation has become the primary goal for many competitive fulfillment centers. Luckily, autonomous mobile robotics (AMRs) help with these processes. They provide the perfect solution for speed, accuracy, and profitability, and they can cover more ground and complete more tasks without adding headcount.
What Are Autonomous Mobile Robotics (AMRs)?
Autonomous mobile robotics (AMRs) are intelligent machines capable of efficiently moving inventory and other materials around your facilities without the need for human supervision. They use sophisticated programming, sensors, and digitized warehouse maps within their systems to move around, complete tasks, and expedite fulfillment tasks.
In addition to their operational software, AMRs are equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities, so they can become active participants in their environment. This allows them to perceive and interact with stimuli in their vicinity, as well as make decisions and communicate back to control centers.
With their ability to understand and interpret tasks, as well as their physical environments, AMRs can effectively navigate without causing collisions or injuring human employees. In other words, they do not require set tracks or preset routes between task locations because they can make smart, successful decisions on their own – even when it comes to recharging themselves.
The Benefits of Pairing Your WMS with AMRs
Adopting autonomous mobile robotics (AMRs) helps enhance the efficiency of traditionally manual warehousing processes and is a great way to improve fulfillment results as a whole. But the real secret to success is in combining AMRs with warehouse management systems (WMS).
Integrating AMRs with your WMS, which acts as the hub of your fulfillment operations, forms the bridge between your robots and operational goals. It is what allows information to flow seamlessly from your ecommerce channels to order fulfillment and inventory systems, and then on to your robotics fleet. By connecting AMRs directly to this operational data, you give AMRs the brains they need to start executing tasks.
Consider the benefits of pairing your WMS with autonomous mobile robotics (AMRs):
Higher Efficiency Workflows
Autonomous mobile robotics (AMRs) replace historically manual processes to ensure the highest level of operational efficiency. With access to your WMS data, AMRs know exactly where inventory is located, as well as which items need to be picked, put away or returned. This allows them to streamline tasks, as well as move inventory to optimal locations to keep your facility running smoothly.
Optimized Picking Operations
Once AMRs are integrated with your WMS, they can map out and self-determine the best walking paths and picking routes to complete orders. Not only does this help smooth traffic out in your warehouse, but it guarantees the greatest efficiency for completing your incoming orders. It also helps to prevent bottlenecks, minimize picking time and protect human employees from exhaustive trips and injuries.
Fulfillment Accuracy and Customer Satisfaction
By combining your WMS with AMRs, you are able to limit redundant processes like sorting, so human workers can take on more creative and collaborative roles. Robots, unlike humans, are not prone to error when a task is considered repetitive or boring. AMRs deliver consistent accuracy regardless of how tedious a process is. As a result, your warehouses will enjoy higher rates of fulfillment accuracy and customer satisfaction.
Dependable Inventory Management
Just as AMRs improve the accuracy of order fulfillment, they can also help with inventory accuracy and processes related to stock. From receiving and sorting inventory items, to conducting daily counts and replenishment when inventory levels drop too low, AMRs can make certain your data is accurate and your warehouse never runs out of stock.
By connecting AMRs to your WMS, you gain an adaptable workforce for whenever added needs arise. With WMS features like demand forecasting, you can determine how many employees are available and how many supplemental AMRs may be needed to carry out future operations. This is particularly beneficial during peak seasons, rises in demand, and as your business needs to add more warehouses to your fulfillment network.
To learn more about warehouse robotics, check out Logiwa’s blog, “Warehouse Robotics and WMS Software: Everything You Need to Know.”
Getting Started with Autonomous Mobile Robotics (AMRs)
As a leading provider of WMS technology, Logiwa understands the important role autonomous mobile robotics (AMRs) will play in the future of supply chain operations. As a premier cloud fulfillment platform, our solution is designed to make integrating with robotics solutions as easy as possible. We also offer free robotics integrations for our customers to encourage early adoption.
If you’re ready to make AMRs part of your fulfillment operations, Logiwa has already done the work of pre-integrating with some of today’s leading robotics companies. See for yourself how we helped our client MPR Logistics scale up their operations while maintaining a 100% shipping success rate by combining the power of Logiwa WMS with Locus Robotics.