What is Warehouse Automation? Types, Importance and Challenges


In this blog we will be discussing warehouse automation and its importance. The various types of various technologies that are adopted and also learn about the challenges that warehouse automation faces. You will get a proper insight on warehouse automation technologies and why it’s worth it. So let’s begin.

What is Warehouse Automation?

Warehouse automation is defined as the method or process by which the movement of inventories are automated within the warehouse or out of the warehouse to clients or customers with minimal or no human assistance, repetitive tasks are replaced using the automation systems. Basically, warehouse automation aims at eliminating time consuming tasks along with elimination of labour intensive duties. It is the sum of all the softwares and hardwares combined with all the labour and different methods applied to automate a warehouse in order to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the task assigned.

Different categories of Warehouse Automation

There are various categories under which warehouse automation can be categorised. It may depend upon the complexity of the automation. Let’s discuss the four main categories of warehouse automation with the help of a table. 

The following table gives us an insight to the different categories of warehouse automation.




        Basic Warehouse Automation

  Basic warehouse automation is a simple technology that helps with tasks which would otherwise need a lot of human labour.

    Warehouse System Automation

  Here, all kinds of techs like software, robotics and data analytics are used to automate tasks along with machine learning.

Mechanised Warehouse Automation

In this category of automation, various kinds of equipment, machineries and robotics are used to assist people in order to carry out warehouse automation tasks.

  Advanced Warehouse Automation

It is a combination of advanced robotics and software systems to assist humans and helps to create a labour intensive free workflow. 

Various Types of Warehouse Automation Technologies

When we are talking about warehouse automation technologies, there is a wide range of automated systems available. Choosing the best type of warehouse automation ensures minimised manual tasks and smoothens up the whole process. We will be discussing the various types of warehouse automation technologies in the table below.




    GTP or Goods to Person

  This type of warehouse automation is often considered to be the best and most popular methods to minimise the labour intensive workload and increase the efficiency of the task.


Automated Storage and Retrieval System or AS/RS

    The AS/RS is a variant of the GTP technology that includes both equipment like trucks and mini loaders to carry goods, and automation software systems. They are used in case of high volume of warehouse automation works.

Automated Guided Vehicles or AGVs

  In this type of mechanical automation, there is a minimal computing onboard power. These vehicles use magnetic or electrical wires and travel a fixed path through the warehouse mainly to assist in transportation through a navigated path. 

Automated Mobile Robots or AMRs

  Automated mobile robots are considered to be more efficient than AGVs. They use advanced technologies like laser guidance softwares to detect obstacles in its path and then create an effective route through the warehouse.

Voice picking and Tasking

  Using speech and voice recognition software systems build optimised pick paths for the warehouse staff to handle a product. This particular method has eliminated the use of manually used devices and concentrates on safety and efficiency.

Importances of Warehouse Automation

When automation is used in warehouse activities it comes with a lot of advantages. Here’s a list of some of the importances on why you should use warehouse automation: 

  • It increases the overall warehouse output.
  • All the resources of the warehouse are efficiently utilised.
  • Reduction in the cost of operations and minimising the cost on labour too.
  • Almost no chances of human errors.
  • Handling and storage costs also decrease.
  • Employee satisfaction is also improved.
  • More accurate data and better analysis.
  • Chances of shipping error is also reduced

Challenges faced by Warehouse Automation

Though there are a lot of advantages and importances of opting for warehouse automation, there are also a lot of challenges that may occur. A lot of capital and finance is needed to establish an efficient automated system for a warehouse. And the story doesn’t end here, initially the systems may break down and maintenance will be required. 

   In order to avoid or at least minimise maintenance issues skills experts can be hired from third party sources. With time the automation system and softwares will be able to pay for themselves through increased sales and effective output. Proper planning and risk assessments must be adopted in order to cement the growth and development. But scheduling maintenance work and risk management through proper planning on a timely basis is very important in order to overcome the challenges faced by warehouse automation.


As we have learnt from the blog about various types of warehouse automations and also the categories they can be classified in, it is important to know they were not built to replace human resources but to assist humans. Also, you need to understand what type of warehouse automation is suitable for you and whether you have the cost and financial backup to support it and follow organised methods to overcome the challenges associated with automating a warehouse.


Q 1. How many warehouses are automated?

Answer : About 20% of the total number of warehouses are automated.

Q 2. What is the main concept of automation?

Answer : It is the creation of new software technologies to build a system to monitor the production and delivery of products automatically.

Q 3. What are the two basic warehouse operations?

Answer : Picking and packing are the two main functions or operations in a warehouse.

Q 4. Where is automation used?

Answer : Automations are used wherever there is a need to minimise human labour or input and assist with advanced technological systems. 

Q 5. How long does it take to automate a warehouse?

Answer : It takes about 8-12 weeks and totally depends on the number of steps that you have defined in your process.