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Unleash The Bright Future Of Warehouse Management: Unveiling The Winning Synergy Duo Of NetSuite Inventory Management And Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)

Integrating NetSuite Inventory Management with AMRs enables streamlined task management, efficient communication, and accurate inventory data for optimal inventory management. It enhances the overall visibility, control, and coordination of inventory-related activities, leading to improved efficiency, reduced errors, and better customer service.
NetSuite Inventory Management And Autonomous Mobile Robots

Old-fashioned material handling technologies like conveyor systems do not have nearly the same flexibility as Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs). You can reprogram AMRs to accommodate the latest demands without engaging in an entire system overhaul.

So, whenever there are changes in the facility layouts or Inventory Management System, you can use the AMRs to adapt to these changes more easily without slowing down productivity.

However, to effectively integrate Autonomous Mobile Robots into a company’s Inventory Management System, you must use an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to support this endeavour. NetSuite ERP is one of the best ERPs to simplify the integration of AMRs into an Inventory Management System.

In this article I delve into the exciting world where NetSuite Inventory Management’s cutting-edge solution and intelligent robotics converge for unrivalled warehouse efficiency and success.

The Unstoppable Rise Of The Autonomous Mobile Robots

Ecommerce websites are more popular than ever. They have placed more demand on supply chains to speed up the process of producing products and shipping them to customers. Meanwhile, they want the costs for the end consumers to remain low – even when offering next-day or same-day shipping services.

Amazon is a perfect example of an ecommerce and distribution website with affordable products and low-cost speedy shipping and delivery services. While people want their ecommerce purchases fulfilled faster and more efficiently, the number of Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) also keeps increasing.

All of these consumer expectations put enormous strain on Inventory Management Systems.

For this reason, more companies are searching for new ways to improve efficiency, workplace safety, and productivity while reducing overhead costs.

Autonomous Mobile Robots may be the solution these companies have been looking for in recent years because they are self-driving machines that do not require human intervention. As a result, ecommerce fulfilment can move faster, reduce labour costs, and boost productivity.

What Are Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)

AMRs are inventory vehicles operated by robotics rather than human intervention. Each AMR comes equipped with advanced navigational technologies like cameras and sensors, allowing them to transport inventory to a particular part of a facility based on a digital map or pre-planned path.

This sophisticated automated navigation allows the AMRs to avoid objects and obstructions in the way by making automatic adjustments to their movements.

AMRs no longer require a pre-set route or track from Point A to Point B like previous inventory robot models. Now, the new automation technology allows the inventory robot to adjust to the environment in real time.

Autonomous Mobile Robots are not only versatile but also customizable to perfectly align with the unique needs of your industry.

Warehouses and work facilities can now enhance their operations using AMR technology. For instance, they can use AMRs to reduce overhead costs, boost productivity, reduce mistakes, increase punctuality, and achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction.

Below I will explore the top 10 transformative ways that AMRs are revolutionising traditional inventory management practices.

10 Ways Automated Mobile Robots Are Revolutionising Inventory Management

There is not just one type of AMR because they come in different shapes and sizes. In fact, you can even customise AMRs to accommodate the particular preferences of your industry or business concerning material handling, inventory management, transportation, cleaning maintenance, and quality control.

Agility is everything for modern warehouse environments attempting to meet the overwhelming supply chain demand. AMRs are the technology that allows businesses to increase their agility to meet this demand and satisfy customers.

Let’s see how:

  1. Boost Productivity and Efficiency: AMRs boost productivity and efficiency by automating repetitive tasks, such as material handling and picking and sorting duties. Not only that but these repetitive tasks are performed much faster and with a lot more accuracy and efficiency.
  2. More Flexibility and Adaptability: AMRs have innovative navigational and mapping technologies to automate navigation inside a warehouse environment. These technologies allow AMRs to adapt to environmental changes in the warehouse and choose the fastest route for transporting items.
  3. Accurate Inventory Tracking: AMRs have scanning and sensory technologies to track real-time inventory numbers and deliver inventory stock level data to your preferred ERP program, such as NetSuite ERP.
  4. Fewer Errors: AMRs relay accurate information to your employees about specific items they want to locate, such as visual descriptions, where they are located, and where to bring the items within the warehouse. By doing this, employees are less likely to pick an incorrect product.
  5. Increases Worker Safety: AMRs create a safer workplace for your employees by reducing the risk of injuries and accidents of manual handling. These automated robots have advanced sensory technology to detect obstacles and avoid collisions. That means the robots would not run into other people, equipment, machines, or objects in the warehouse because they can detect them in their path. Once obstructions are detected, the robots will manoeuvre out of the way and go around them.
  6. Streamlined Order Fulfilment: NetSuite Inventory Management and other advanced warehouse management systems can send picking instructions to AMRs. After that, the AMRs will automatically find their optimised way to the designated picking location in the warehouse and grab the items needed to fulfil the order. It makes order fulfilment much faster and easier because there is a better chance of accuracy and a lesser chance of human error.
  7. Scalability and Cost-effectiveness: AMRs are more cost-effective and scalable than older fixed automation solutions and conveyor belt systems. They do not even need many modifications to their infrastructure. You just reconfigure and deploy them as needed
  8. Real-time Analytical Information: AMRs collect real-time data throughout their operations and send it to your preferred ERP platform and Inventory Management System, such as NetSuite. The analytical information can give you insights into what is going on in your warehouse regarding performance and areas where continuous improvement is needed.
  9. Better Adaptability: AMRs are intelligent robots that study their surroundings and learn from them. Based on what they detect, the robots will change their movements to adapt to the environment. This technology dramatically decreases the need to modify them manually.
  10. Fabulous Return on Investment: AMRs typically give businesses a return on investment within 18 months, but sometimes as little as six months. According to an Automation Trends Report from 2022, moving materials with automation technology results in a 35% decrease in operating costs for a business. Automation also causes a 31% increase in productivity and efficiency.

What You Need To Integrate Autonomous Mobile Robots Into Your Workplace

If you feel you are ready to add AMRs to your warehouse or workplace facility, here are some of the critical evaluations you should complete to start the integration process:

  • Evaluate your workplace facility’s layout and floor plan to see if the current infrastructure can support AMRs. Then, make the necessary adjustments to support the integration of AMRs, for example, adding charging stations for your new robots.
  • Check the compatibility of the AMR software with your current ERP and Warehouse Management Systems. The AMRs should be able to perfectly synchronise with your ERP and Inventory Management System to receive order and inventory data in real-time.
  • Continue to analyse the data from the AMRs about your inventory and business operations. Then, based on insight information and employee feedback, make the necessary changes to the AMRs deployment to maximise efficiency.

Now you can see how AMRs can enhance your inventory management practices in the workplace. To successfully use AMRs within inventory management, your business needs a robust Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system like NetSuite ERP.

Now, let’s see how that can support you.

Using NetSuite Inventory Management To Support Automated Mobile Robots

You can track your company’s inventory in real-time through all sales channels and locations by using NetSuite Inventory Management System. That way, you can see which items you need to sell first and which items you need more. Then you can avoid either running out of a particular item as the sales keep coming in or park your cash in unnecessary stock.

NetSuite Inventory Management System is the best way to lower inventory costs, increase customer satisfaction, and increase productivity. In addition, it can sync with the AMRs to further enhance the inventory management processes of your growing business.

Here are the benefits of using NetSuite with AMRs:

Real-time Inventory Visibility

NetSuite Inventory Management provides real-time data regarding your inventory location, stock levels, and item movements. This centralised information is sent and synced with the AMRs, so the robots have accurate details regarding the location and availability of stock inventory. With this information, the AMRs can prioritise tasks and choose better routes for superior productivity.

Automated Task Assignment

You can use NetSuite Inventory Management to give your AMRs some essential tasks according to predefined rules regarding priority and demand. For instance, NetSuite ERP can create instructions, task lists, and work orders for the AMRs to perform, such as which inventory products to pick and where those products need to be delivered. And if there are new order fulfilment requirements or priority changes, NetSuite will modify the task assignments accordingly.

Integration With Warehouse Management System

NetSuite ERP comes with a Warehouse Management System (WMS) integrated into it. You can use this WMS to manage warehouse operations and functions and receive information regarding order status, picking instructions, and inventory transactions. Integrating NetSuite Warehouse Management System and AMRs makes their data exchange seamless and accurate. That way, you always have synchronised inventory movement and stock-level data to send accurate and up-to-date instructions to your robots.

Data Exchange And Synchronisation

NetSuite Inventory Management receives real-time data from the AMRs during their operations (such as completed movements, inventory counts) and uses it to create insightful analytical reports regarding your company’s inventory. This data exchange ensures that the whole NetSuite ERP system maintains accurate and up-to-date information about your inventory.

Analytics And Reporting

NetSuite Inventory Management can leverage the above mentioned data collected from AMRs to provide insightful analytics and reporting on inventory management. For example, when you evaluate the AMR and NetSuite data, you can learn more about your company’s inventory turnover, operational efficiency and order fulfilment cycle speed. Based on this knowledge, you can make improvements where necessary.

Integration With Procurement And Order Management

NetSuite Inventory Management integrates with your Order Management modules to track your business complex processes like inventory management. So, if you receive a new order, NetSuite will tell the AMRs to pick the inventory items for the order and deliver them to the appropriate location. And if you receive new stock inventory items, NetSuite ERP will notify the AMRs and update the inventory management records.

Your growing company can share all inventory information across all its retail shops, drop shippers, warehouses, and anywhere else where it keeps stock inventory. That enables you to create a buy anywhere / fulfil anywhere customer experience.

Common Industries Using Autonomous Mobile Robots

Many industries have benefited from the advancements in automated mobile robotic technology. Even though robotics has been used on the production line in industries for a long time, they never had intelligent automation like this before.

Here are some of the common industries taking full advantage of AMRs:

Manufacturing: The automotive manufacturing industry has used robotic arms to remove and weld material for a long time. But with AMR technology, car manufacturing companies can now use mobile robots to transport tools, materials and components to various areas within a facility. The same concept can now be applied to other manufacturing companies in any field.

Warehouse: AMRs eliminate the need for workers to pick and haul items around a warehouse with a forklift. Now AMRs can do this work for them while allowing your employees more free time to do other value added tasks involving less repetitiveness and more creativity and problem-solving.

Logistics and Distribution: Logistical businesses can use AMRs to not only meet but exceed the increasing consumer demands. These robots excel in tasks such as picking, sorting, and transporting goods, thereby reducing human errors and maximising productivity for a growing logistics business.

Ecommerce: Webshops have earned more sales over the last few years because more people shop online from home since the pandemic time. AMRs have made it easier for online trading companies to keep up with the growing orders and maintain high productivity while spending less on human labour.

Construction: AMRs, for example, help construction workers understand building blueprint layouts by printing exact floor lines showing where specific physical features, such as walls and doors, must be constructed. Or some AMRs have excavation features to dig trenches too.

Healthcare: AMRs are now assisting with surgical procedures by speeding up the delivery of supplies or helping in disinfection. But AMRs are also transcending traditional boundaries and they make a significant impact in the healthcare sector by offering a myriad of benefits beyond surgical procedures as well (e.g. operating within healthcare facility management, medication distribution, and waste disposal minimising the risk of cross-contamination).

Agriculture: The industry now uses automated tractors that are not only lighter than humans but more precise when performing seed planting and weeding tasks and they also gather information about the state of each plant. These lightweight tractors do not put much pressure or stress on the soil. That allows the soil structures to stay intact and absorb more nutrients to grow plants.

Data Centres And Research Facilities: Compliance is a continuously changing requirement in data industry that makes easy-to-reprogrammed ARMs with lockable containers and storage units a reliable solution.

Biotech: AMRs can automate routine laboratory tasks such as sample transportation, delivering lab supplies, and managing inventory. AMRs can navigate through lab spaces, interact with lab equipment, and safely transport sensitive samples, reducing human error and freeing up researchers’ time for more complex tasks. They are also utilised in quality control processes, assisting human workers in inspections and monitoring product quality.

Wrapping It Up

The unstoppable rise of AMRs is transforming inventory management practices and enabling fast-growing businesses to meet the increasing demands of modern supply chains while delivering superior customer experiences.

AMRs are being widely adopted across industries such as manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, ecommerce, construction, healthcare, agriculture, data centres, research facilities, and biotech. Each industry benefits from the versatility and customization of AMRs, addressing specific needs and optimising operations.

Inventory management can be enhanced by NetSuite systems and AMRs integration because it improves task management, operational efficiency, and communication.

NetSuite Inventory Management is especially the best choice for fast-growing businesses who plan to use AMRs because it further enhances the benefits of operating these robots.

For example, you can access accurate synchronised information and analytical reports in real time. These tools and inventory information make it easy to reduce your company’s overhead costs and satisfy growing consumer demands for your products. As a result, integrating NetSuite Inventory Management with your AMR park will give you a competitive advantage over other businesses in your market.

Sandor Nagy

Sandor Nagy

Sandor is a seasoned ERP Business Analyst with a wealth of experience in providing comprehensive business analysis services for global companies. With a career spanning since 2016, Sandor has developed a deep understanding of the intricacies of ERP systems. As a trusted advisor, he specialises in leveraging ERP and RPA technologies to optimise business processes, streamline operations, and drive sustainable success. Through insightful analysis and innovative solutions, Sandor helps businesses harness the full potential of their ERP systems to achieve their operational objectives. With a commitment to staying at the forefront of industry trends, Sandor is dedicated to empowering growing businesses with the knowledge and tools they need to thrive in the ever-evolving ERP landscape.

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