Automated pick and pack operations, strengths and weaknesses

The changes in Pick and Pack services within the warehousing world

Automation is becoming a bigger part of many pick and pack operations as the world tightens its belt another notch or two, but how pick and packcommon will pick and pack robots actually become? Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages to using automation.

Pros of automated pick and pack:

Cost. That is the whole point. If you can fit the ‘bots into your operation, they are likely to cost substantially less than human pickers, over time.

Speed. Especially if the process can be made simple enough, robots can really keep up the pace. They don’t tire either, obviously.

Precision. The right EOAT (end of arm tooling, special hands, fingers, and more exotic appendages for the ‘bots) can be quite dexterous and exact. Overall, robots can be relied upon to do the exact same thing the exact same way every single time.

Long Hours. A ‘bot will work day and night without complaint or a single tea break. So far, none of them have expressed any religious objections to working on holidays, either.

Cons of automated pick and pack services:

Flexibility. If your facility needs to move a wide variety of items, humans still present the most flexible option. While I’m sure there is a ‘bot out there that can handle both toilet cisterns and blister packs of plastic toys, I bet it’s expensive.

Maintenance. Robots wear out. They need repairs and adjustments. Of course, humans do too, so you have to weigh the cost against national insurance contributions and salary.

Judgement. They don’t have a shred of it. It may be obvious, but that is the main strength of a human packer. Most humans won’t do something bloody stupid 10,000 times in a row without at least saying ”Hey, boss… I just don’t feel right about packing the toxic sludge bags in the same box as the roofing nails. Are you sure this is right?”

 

 

 


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