One of the quickest ways that ecommerce companies get in trouble with labor costs is in order fulfillment. What worked in the early days doesn’t usually work for a business that is shipping hundreds of orders a day. As orders increase, fulfillment strategy must evolve to meet it, but hiring isn’t always the right answer.
When a business experiences quick growth, it is easy to panic and turn to hiring to increase or maintain order fulfillment speeds. But, hiring comes with a new set of problems – training, turnover, productivity, retention and employee satisfaction.
Those problems must be managed by someone too, so the business must once again turn to hiring to handle employee problems, training a larger workforce, employee complaints, sick days and staffing schedules. Pretty soon those nice profit margins are nearly non-existent.
Using labor to solve your productivity problems is a slippery slope for a growing business. It’s easy to identify the need, but harder to scale a company to meet it without going broke on labor costs and hassles.
Enter Robots. Well, maybe not the kind of robots that you imagine will make you dinner and fly you to work, but robots that can handle the basic tasks of a human workforce with efficiency while providing massive productivity gains. Human productivity is limited. Robot productivity is exponentially greater.
Packaging automation machines are robots revolutionizing the way that ecommerce companies keep up with order fulfillment demands. These machines are extremely productive when compared with a human workforce. For instance, the PACjacket automated packaging system can produce 15-20 packages per minute, compared with a human hand-loading mailers at a rate of 3 bags per minute. That is an increase of 400 to 500 percent.
Automation can also decrease workforce management tasks like hiring, training and retention, and the costs associated with them. An automated packaging machine can be operated by one worker and do the work of an entire team of packers.
When a business is growing fast there is always going to be a knee-jerk reaction to scale up employees. With automation, increased order fulfillment can be achieved by scaling back on human labor. It can also mean hiring and training a workforce for more productive jobs that require a little more skill and produce a lot more results.