Automated Warehousing:A Critical Evaluation and Implications
(2015) Automated Warehousing:A Critical Evaluation and Implications, no. 136.
Purpose - The aim of this research is to investigate and understand the implications of warehouse automation and the impact introducing these systems can have within an organisation. Barriers to entry, transition process, human resources and competitive advantage have been examined to investigate how real world operations have been affected in these areas. Methodology - The study uses an exploratory phenomenological research approach using semi-structured interviews to collect data. Six participants were approached and interviewed based on their knowledge of the subject area. Participants from differing industries were used to establish common themes across industries and semi-structured qualitative interviews were employed to gather in depth data Findings - The results highlighted several implications within each research aim. The transition period and planning phase can be complex and time consuming, with factors such as staff resistance and supply chain flexibility emerging as prominent issues. Warehouse automation will not be effective within every organisation. Frequency of staff injury decreases however the severity can increase. A direct link between warehouse automation and competitive advantage was found. Additionally, warehouse automation can increase consumer confidence with the company through increased value adding services and consistent quality. Originality/Value - The study contributes to knowledge in an area where little academic literature is present. The research assists in closing the wide gap of knowledge and can assist with managerial decision making. Furthermore, the research provides a basis for future researchers investigating inclusive factors in further detail. Given the small sample size the generalizability of this study is low though many findings were congruent with prior research.