Thursday, November 6, 2014

Automated Inventory Control in Amazon

Automated Inventory Control in Amazon
It is known to all that effective inventory control is the key to large scale supply chain management. Even a little improvement would have big impact to giant companies like Amazon because of the quantity. It is necessary to have good knowledge of the location of all goods and the flow of them so that it is possible to have accurate counts of goods and to plan future orders better. Knowing the inventory would also help to reduce out of stocks, theft and even spoilage. Ideally, knowing the selling cycle of a product will allow for new product to be delivered as soon as the last of that product is sold.

Amazon has found a new way to revolutionize inventory-control in their huge warehouses. In Amazon, the robots that are provided by Kiva Inc. have been in charge of organizing the product and delivering them to the picker for final packing. In the future, it is even possible to deliver the packages using drones according the recent Air Prime project.

When an order is submitted through the Amazon website, a robot will find that product among thousands of pods containing several products each. Once that pod is located by the robot, they position themselves under the pod and carefully lift the pod slightly off the ground, making for better transport. After the robot has the pod secure, they then move to the “street” between the other pods, and eventually make their way to the “highway”, where they can find their designated picker. The picker can then pick, scan, and package the item off the pod to be shipped to the customer. After complete one request, the robot will return the pod to a new storage space. Once the pod is safely back on the ground in its new location, the robot can finally rest at the charging station and allow for another robot to take over.

Warehouse automation is key to having an efficient and profitable warehouse. Three areas that are benefited by a warehouse designed for automation is; productivity gains, accurate forecasting for the future, and increased safety. When a warehouse automation system is in place, a warehouse has the ability to be active 24/7. Robots are able to perform countless duties and will never be tired or need a break. This will also allow for there to be less employees on the floor, which will significantly reduce labor costs and cut shifts. Increased safety is the final benefit from having a warehouse designed for automation. Having less employees on the floor will decrease the amount of accidents.

Through automated inventory control, you can better control and count for raw products, in-process products and the finished goods. Knowing where everything is during the process will allow Amazon to have less waste and a more profitable product. However, automated inventory control requires huge amount of investment on the infrastructure. For example, the warehouses of Amazon have to be built according to how the robots could operate. It is not easy to generalize to small companies. In this situation, is automated inventory control system could only be applied to large companies? Is it possible to customize the system for more smaller companies?

[2] E-commerce Evolution — Element 5: Robotics and Inventory Systems.

1 comment:

  1. Managing inventory of a large store like Amazon is really challenging task as you have said. Today, the online selling business growing at tremendous speed and to compete with other sellers using unique selling techniques is important for every online retailer. Many retailer are growing using multichannel selling concept but managing inventory to all those channels is almost impossible for sellers. Thanks to the technology and software developers that invented smart inventory control and tracking software to ease the tasks of sellers. You can find great Inventory Control Software for your online store using Google.


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