Transportation and logistics services are in high demand to support online sales, as e-commerce has grown rapidly since 2020. Unlike traditional distribution centers, micro-fulfillment centers, or MFCs, require only a fraction of the space. They can be utilized much closer to customers to reduce the delivery time.
Additionally, micro-fulfillment centers are far more technologically advanced than traditional distribution centers. An MFC can pick orders in a fraction of the time it would take a human worker because of advances in automation and robotics. Using robots to complete dangerous tasks in the third-party logistics industry reduces the likelihood of employee injury due to human error. In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of micro-fulfillment centers.
Improved Order Picking
When a customer orders a product online, the vendor’s clock begins to tick immediately. First and foremost, getting products out of storage as quickly as possible is essential to meeting customer demands on time. Customers have come to expect same-day or even one-hour delivery, which, combined with high sales volumes, is beyond human capabilities. Online retailers are now utilizing Picking robots to keep up with the rapid growth of e-business.
Depending on the product category, picking robots’ efficiency can vary, but in many cases, they are orders of magnitude faster than humans. For instance, a fulfillment center that can manually process 60 orders per hour can automate 600 orders per hour.
Faster Delivery of Orders
Micro-fulfillment centers not only cut down on the time it takes to pick up an order, but because they are close to the customer, they also speed up delivery. A traditional distribution center can’t be set up in a residential area because it needs a lot of space. Residents would probably be against this project even if there were room because commercial trucks cause traffic problems and noise.
An MFC makes it possible to have an automated warehouse in a city corner. Most systems use less than 10,000 SF, and the smallest use less than 2,000 SF. This lets products be kept much closer to the customer, so they can be sent out quickly when they are bought online. Same-day delivery isn’t possible for a store that uses a traditional distribution center in a rural area unless the customer is nearby.
Increased Product Variety
An MFC makes better use of space than a typical warehouse, meaning more items can be stored in the same amount of space. Retailers can use this to their advantage and sell more products online without taking up more space.
Autostore says that warehouse automation makes it possible to store four times as much in the same amount of space. This makes it possible to have bigger stock and a wider range of products. Retailers can even move into new product categories, which will give them more ways to make money.
Better Safety in the Workplace
Automation in warehouses can also make the third-party logistics industry safer by giving dangerous tasks to picking robots and other self-driving machines. Here are some examples of dangerous things that MFC technology can help you avoid:
- Getting stuff from shelves that are high off the ground.
- Having to carry heavy crates.
- Working close to big machines like forklifts
Picking robots can help stop accidents like falling from a height, getting hit by equipment, hurting your back by carrying crates the wrong way or even getting hurt from doing the same thing repeatedly.
Micro-fulfillment centers can help retailers be more competitive by reducing their operating costs and shortening the time it takes for orders to be delivered. With warehouse automation, you can also easily handle a wider range of products, and dangerous tasks can be given to robots. The cost of order fulfillment centers may seem high at first, but since it increases productivity, it pays for itself quickly.