The Fourth Industrial Revolution is now officially also underway in Italy, thanks in part to support from the Government, which has launched a whole series of programmes to support digital innovation in industrial processes and has provided a chain of resources and funding intended to support companies in this complex evolution towards Industry 4.0.
In fact, large Italian companies have already been moving in this direction for some years, and they have already adopted new technologies to optimise production and logistics processes; however, now it is the turn of SMEs to invest in warehouse automation.
Investing their resources in new automation projects means not only optimising warehouse logistics, but also being more competitive on the market and succeeding in increasing profit margins.
Why are SMEs investing in warehouse automation now: what has changed compared to the past
Although in the past only large companies considered it economically beneficial to invest in automatic warehouses, nowadays things are changing fast and SMEs, which also seem willing to overhaul their entire production models and distribution networks, are ready to do so as well.
The reason for this change in direction? Definitely the fact that the programme of incentives included in the National Industry 4.0 Plan also includes automatic warehouses is a major factor.
Thanks to the new grants and tax breaks available, finally SMEs can also digitise their systems and introduce solutions, such as automatic vertical warehouses, which help to achieve better logistics performances and guarantee more effective management of goods.
The decision to invest capital in new technologies leads to greater operating safety, higher operating speeds, considerable space saving and an impressive decrease in operating costs, all benefits which ensure that the investments made are recouped even in fairly short times.
The role of software in logistics businesses: the importance of digital interconnection
In all businesses which operate in the logistics sector and are investing in automation, naturally software also plays a fundamental role in the effective coordination of logistics processes and the optimisation of warehouse management.
If the aim is to improve productivity, it is fundamental to use software capable of simplifying staff’s duties and reducing human intervention, for example by synchronising procedures or by using sensors or IoT devices, of adapting to each industry’s different needs, and of ensuring round-the-clock assistance.
However, to achieve the best possible performances it is important above all to adopt innovative software that will easily connect to and integrate perfectly with existing company systems, such as automatic radiofrequency picking or automatic storage packagings, and will also guarantee the company a fast return on its investment.
Automatic warehouse: the benefits for SMEs
Given the opportunity of making full use of the grants and incentives provided and achieving a fast ROI, today SMEs are more willing to invest in automation and they now have everything they need to adopt new technological solutions.
What are the main benefits for SMEs of investment in automatic warehouses? Here are the 10 most important.
Just as for large companies, in SMEs the adoption of automatic vertical warehouses allows goods to be stocked making full use of height, and automatically guarantees significant savings in terms of storage space and costs
The use of standardised procedures and automatic storage systems enables warehouse staff to work without exposure to unnecessary dangers or accident risks. With vertical warehouses goods are placed in a dedicated location, where all storage and picking operations are coordinated, so that any damage linked to product handling is prevented at source.
Thanks to the use of completely automated systems, the installation of vertical warehouses allows the minimisation of the risk of human error, or of damage to goods during transfer. Reducing picking errors also means speeding up order fulfilment times and thus increasing profitability.
The adoption of automatic vertical warehouses is fundamental in achieving a streamlined, constant production process that enables staff to manage orders in the shortest possible time and to prevent slowdowns or stoppages which might have repercussions on the company’s efficiency.
How to optimize picking operations?
Picking is the heart of any warehouse, and it is an activity that must be designed and organized very carefully. Download our in-depth analysis on how to optimize picking.