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Why Warehouses are Making the Move to Smarter Spaces


Following the disruption of traditional supply chains in 2020 and the growing popularity of eCommerce, the economy continues to experience a profound evolution of customer expectations and fulfillment practices. As organizations look ahead, it’s important to understand the trends that will shape their supply chain strategies as smarter warehouses, rising eCommerce sales, and innovative storage solutions create new opportunities for businesses to remain agile in a rapidly changing environment.

Attabotics’ 2023 Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems Trends Report found that the most successful organizations are those making the transition to smarter spaces that help them adapt to changes in consumer behavior while continuing to meet their ambitious service level agreements (SLAs).

Here’s a look at some of the report’s insights on the evolution of smarter spaces:

What’s Driving Warehouse Automation to Save Space?

The COVID-19 pandemic has also had an undeniable impact on eCommerce sales in the US. In 2020, total online spending grew by more than 30% year-over-year from 2019 levels. While 2021 saw less startling growth, the eCommerce market still grew by a robust 14.2%, demonstrating just how comfortable people have become shopping online for their everyday needs. Delivery and pickup trends have shifted as well—with many customers now opting for same-day or next-day delivery services over traditional methods like mail or parcel delivery services. If businesses hope to continue meeting the SLAs between them and their customers, they must be prepared to create more efficient fulfillment processes that can keep up with consumer expectations while still maintaining high quality standards.

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems Help Create Smarter Spaces

The pandemic accelerated the shift towards digitization and automation in warehouse spaces around the world. Companies are investing heavily in automated storage and retrieval (ASRS) technologies to create smarter warehouse spaces with improved efficiency and throughput. The benefits of investing in warehouse automation to save space include improved accuracy and reliability when it comes to order fulfillment, faster throughput times, increased efficiency, reduced costs associated with labor, greater visibility into customer orders, better customer service, and overall cost savings due to fewer human errors. Smart spaces also help reduce carbon footprints by eliminating unnecessary space and positioning products closer to customers.

Warehouse Automation and ASRS Solutions Can Maximize Efficiency and Throughput

To be successful in today's high-demand environment, businesses must be prepared to identify and implement innovative ASRS solutions capable of transforming their existing warehouse spaces. High-density stacking can save space while increasing efficiency by allowing items to be stored closer together without compromising product quality or safety standards. Vertical storage solutions with 3-dimensional access offer a great way to improve throughput speeds—allowing companies to keep more products within easy reach for faster retrieval. By pairing these storage methods with warehouse automation robotics technology, businesses can maximize efficiency when the time comes to fulfill orders quickly and accurately.

Smarter Spaces Are Just the Beginning

While organizations are using warehouse automation to save space, they’re also finding new ways to leverage the potential of micro-fulfillment centers (MFCs) and using a combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to build smarter systems that represent the supply chain of the future.

To learn more about these emerging trends and other developments in warehouse automation technology, download the complete 2023 Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems Trends Report from Attabotics.