Automated warehouses to help in increasing business opportunities: Khursheed Alam, co-founder, Atmos Systems

‘The phase of ecommerce players merely leveraging warehousing solutions is passé, for now these entities are investing heavily in automation systems.’

Warehouse automation, warehouse infra, Faraz Alam, Atmos Systems, Automated Storage and Retrieval System
The quest for warehouse automation has persisted for long and it is widely believed that the first phase of warehouse automation might have just come to a close.

Warehouse automation has emerged to be the most essential requirement, especially for e-commerce players who deal with bulks of goods and items. From in-bound transit to storage to out-bound transit, there are a number of areas that require adequate focus and advancements in order to make the whole process seamless. In order to explore how the segment is evolving in the new normal, what technologies are making the difference and how it impacts that whole e-commerce ecosystem, Financial Express Online spoke with Khursheed Alam, co-founder, Atmos Systems, a company that has been taking strides as far as warehouse infra is concerned. Excerpts from the interview:

What are the elements of smart warehousing and what is the trend in this segment?

The quest for warehouse automation has persisted for long and it is widely believed that the first phase of warehouse automation might have just come to a close. This is primarily because the stakeholders are talking less about the robots and more about the fulfillment process, software and integration. When we refer to the different elements of smart warehousing, the topmost in the list includes ASRS or Automated Storage and Retrieval System, AGV or Automated Guided Vehicles, smart conveyors, a robust sorting and segregation system, robotic palletization, pick to light system and most important of them all, A WMS(warehouse management system) which act as a backbone of any fully functional automated warehouse.

Regarding the latest trend in the smart warehousing segment, we would say it is ACR system or Autonomous case handling robotic system. A culmination of both ASRS and AGV systems, ACR has the capability of carrying multiple as much as eight packages at the same time and storing them on dedicated shelves. Moreover, there is no need for any human intervention during the whole process, even while moving goods from one place to another. They appear as long towering structures with various slots that are engineered to segregate and pick, keep or move the goods as per the requirement.

How are ecommerce players leveraging the warehousing solutions for seamless product delivery?

The phase of ecommerce players merely leveraging warehousing solutions is passé, for now these entities are investing heavily in automation systems. The focus is now on automating in-bound, internal material handling and out-bound movement of goods while minimizing human involvement. For instance, hundreds of stock keeping units arrive at a warehouse, comprising different goods that need to be stored to different designated slots. The old way of doing it is manual, wherein manpower is used to physically carry the goods and store them accordingly. But with introduction of newer smart warehousing solutions like ACR Systems, sortation systems, ASRS Systems, DWS Systems now, the automation starts to take place inside the truck itself, which further moves inside the warehouse where the inventory is recorded, products are sorted as per different attributes and then transferred to designated location and shelves to rest using a sophisticated material handling systems.

This is instrumental even for outbound actions. Say a buyer buys a product, it is then automatically picked from the designated slot and transferred across for transit. This makes the order processing faster by many folds and the only time consumed is in the transit of the goods from the warehouse to the buyer. The benefits of it are aplenty such as faster processing time, lesser damage or loss of items, minimization of error and eventually, a seamless product delivery.

How warehousing automation is contributing to the smart City infra?

While there is little direct correlation between warehouse automation and smart city infrastructure, but indirectly there are quite a few ways in which it can be helpful. People often move out of their homes for shopping purposes, all the more so when the need is to get an item immediately. This definitely adds to the traffic and pollution menace. Increased automation of warehouses can help improve the situation by ensuring that people get their products in the minimum possible time gap, thereby allowing them the comfort of completing their shopping while sitting at home. It is more of a ripple effect of warehouse automation that can really contribute to the smart city infra.

The other significant benefit is that with more warehouses getting automated, there would be increased business opportunities without setting up their own shop. While one can sell products across the country without any hassles, the buying power also increases.

How Atmos Systems is helping in the development of smart warehouses?

I would like to reiterate at this point that the foundation of Atmos Systems itself has been laid for the development and automation of warehouses. As mentioned earlier, we have adopted state-of-the-art innovations in the segment and are investing in newer technologies like ASRS, AGV and ACR systems. With our tech-enabled offerings, the automated processing is being made smarter, faster and more efficient.

Simultaneously, we are focusing on thorough R&D to alleviate all existing problems pertaining to warehouse automation. With our solutions in place, one would need merely five people to manage a one-acre warehouse, which suggests the amplitude of the difference we can create. Helping us in this regard is our 30-year-old DNA in conveyor manufacturing. While other players in the segment are relatively younger, we have been witness to the sea change the industry has undergone. Also, we have consistently been evolving in sync with the need of the hour by capitalizing on our experience of sales, delivery and after sales service, and enabling warehouse automation, warehouse technology, and warehouse processing.

What are your expansion plans and catalysts for your segment?

We aspire to become one of the best warehouse automation solution providers in the country, offering the latest solutions for the most pertinent needs. We have envisioned Atmos Systems as a home grown brand of recall, which is the first stop for anyone with warehouse automation needs. Besides, we have already opened our office in Bengaluru and we would soon be launching in all metro cities in the near future.

We are also setting up an experience center, where our customers can visit and see live demos of all our products and have a knowledge of how it exactly works.

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