80% of warehouses do not have automation in their operation. There’s a reason. When considering the implementation of warehouse automation, companies may have specific concerns that contribute to their reluctance. Here are five common concerns and the conversations to have to decide on whether to implement automation into your operation.
Cost of Implementation
Concern: There is hesitancy to invest in warehouse automation due to perceived high upfront costs.
What To Talk About: You must think about any investment in your company as a long-term investment. Discuss internally what the expected ROI will be, and most importantly, a realistic time frame when you want to see that return. Labor costs will initially be the easiest to analyze. But there’s the operational ROI, that most companies will have to really grasp and envision the long-term benefits of investing in automation. This includes improved operational efficiency, minimized errors, and improved throughput with less labor. If the initial investment still seems too much, explore financing options, leasing programs, or partnerships with automation providers to make the initial investment more manageable.
Concern: Existing team members may fear that automation will lead to job losses or render their skills obsolete.
What To Talk About: Automation is meant to replace a task, not a person. Share with team members that automation can eliminate repetitive and mundane tasks, allowing employees to focus on more complex and value-added activities, enhance worker safety, ultimately provide opportunities for upskilling and reskilling, and create new roles within the organization.
Concern: Integrating automation systems within existing infrastructure and processes sounds very complex.
What To Talk About: Ask questions! Automation providers have experience working with various systems and environments and can provide experienced consultation and support before, during, and after the integration process. Thorough planning, assessing current infrastructure, and collaborating closely with your automation expert and IT team can ensure seamless integration. There are thousands of success stories available in the form of case studies where you can explore all the challenges that companies faced where automation became an obvious choice as a solution.
Reliability and Downtime
Concern: Reliability of automation systems and potential disruptions to operations due to downtime or maintenance requirements.
What to talk about: Discuss what support options will be provided. All automation companies will provide some sort of integration support before, during, after, or throughout the installation stage. Share continued advancements in automation technology and reliability track records of reputable automation providers. Explain the benefits of predictive maintenance techniques, which use data analytics to identify potential maintenance issues proactively and minimize unplanned downtime. Provide information on the availability of customer support specific to your needs, training programs, and warranties offered to address any concerns about system reliability.
Adaptability to Changing Needs
Concern: There is worry about the adaptability of automation systems to meet their evolving business requirements in the future.
What To Talk About: Discuss the flexibility and scalability features of automation solutions. Highlight modular systems that can be expanded, reconfigured, or integrated with additional technologies as business needs change. Share case studies of companies that have successfully scaled their automation systems to accommodate growth and changing demands. Explain how automation providers can provide ongoing support, updates, and technological advancements to ensure that the automation investment remains relevant and future-proof.
Automation can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. Addressing these concerns through clear communication, providing relevant examples and success stories, and involving key stakeholders in the decision-making process can help alleviate the reluctance and build confidence in the implementation of warehouse automation.