Warehouse Robotics:

Your Guide to Warehouse Robots.

Your ultimate guide to warehouse robotics

In recent years, warehouse automation has made huge leaps and bounds in a number of areas, especially robotics. More businesses than ever before are now incorporating robots into their logistics operation to access the benefits they can offer, including better productivity, improved accuracy, and a boost in workplace safety and satisfaction.

If you’re not familiar with warehouse robotics or aren’t sure what they can offer your company, this guide is an excellent starting point to find out more.

What are Warehouse Robots?

Warehouse robots are specialised automated robots used for completing essential warehouse floor tasks, such as picking, sorting, and transportation. Over recent years, they have incorporated more advanced sensors and processing capabilities, as well as being increasingly supported by warehouse management systems to improve efficiency.

As a result of these advances, warehouse robots are swiftly establishing themselves as an integral part of the supply chain. In fact, the global warehouse automation market has been forecast to grow to $27 billion by 2025, more than doubling its value from $13 billion in 2018. This means that more and more businesses are recognising that an investment in robotic systems can deliver a range of benefits to their operation, a trend that is set to continue.

What are Warehouse Robotics used for?


Warehouse robots can aid in a wide variety of essential warehouse tasks. Because of this, they can play a huge role in warehouse automation, which in turn can deliver huge benefits for your business. Let’s take a look in more detail at what type of operations can be assisted with robotics.


Picking is the task of locating and extracting the right stock for order fulfilment, and it’s the type of work that warehouse robots are most heavily involved in. Whether the robot is assisting a worker, or it is carrying out the picking themselves, there are a number of options that can enhance the process.

Robots are often deployed to work alongside warehouse workers, frequently acting as a guide to the next picking location or pick stations. Advanced robots are capable of plotting the most efficient route around the warehouse and can make decisions on the go as new orders come in. This means that a worker can easily navigate the space without making wrong turns or spending time figuring out where to go.


Sorting can be a complex process that takes time when completed manually by humans. There are now warehouse robots equipped with cameras and sensors that are capable of performing the task much more quickly and efficiently than workers, with a much lower margin of error.

This can be particularly useful if your warehouse uses a batch or zone picking method, where many items are brought together and need to be sorted into individual orders. A robot completing the task can scan and identify inventory at speed, then sort them into their required grouping. Thanks to their optics, access to inventory data, and sorting algorithms, this task is virtually automatic, so there’s essentially no need for human input.  

Robots can also be used at other stages of inventory management, such as for replenishment, returns, or when parcels need to be sorted once packed.


Transporting inventory in a warehouse can be labour-intensive and time-consuming, but robots can streamline this process. They can handle tasks from picking individual items to moving whole pallets or heavy bins. Autonomous mobile robots, for instance, can pick up and transport items, reducing the need for workers to move around the warehouse.

Other types of robotics, like automatic guided vehicles (AGV), can transport batches of goods or heavy loads along a preset route independently, while drones can retrieve stock from hard-to-reach places. Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) can even automate the entire stock movement process in a warehouse.

Replenishment and putaway

Warehouse robotics can also aid in stock replenishment and putaway tasks, both by ensuring that stock levels are as up to date as possible and by handling the labour-intensive parts of the job.

Some advanced robots are capable of tracking inventory levels and completing stock counts, then updating the information available through the warehouse management system. By automating the replenishment of goods, these robots can ensure there are no stockouts and that backorders are kept to a minimum. It’s possible to deploy robots solely dedicated to these tasks, but some smart models are capable of updating stock data as they go about other tasks.

Types of warehouse robots.

Warehouse robotics are revolutionizing the industry by enhancing efficiency and safety. Here’s a quick overview of the most commonly used warehouse robots and their functions:

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)

AGVs transport stock and materials across the warehouse, moving items from one section to another or taking picked stock to packing areas. Early AGVs followed marked routes using wire or magnetic tracks, but modern AGVs rely on cameras, infrared, and laser guidance systems. They can navigate and react to potential hazards and communicate with other robots for seamless operations.

Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)

AMRs can independently navigate dynamic warehouse environments using visual, audial, thermal, and touch-based sensors along with onboard maps and computers. Unlike AGVs, they don’t need external guidance. They can perform various tasks such as moving stock, delivering goods to pickers, and conducting inventory checks. AMRs emerged in the early 2010s and have seen rapid adoption due to their efficiency and accuracy.

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS)

AS/RS are fully automated systems that handle moving goods for shipping and storage. These systems often consist of shuttles or cranes on fixed tracks that pick up and put down items. Controlled by advanced warehouse software, AS/RS streamline operations by bringing inventory directly to workers, enhancing productivity, and minimizing human error. They are ideal for high-density storage solutions.

Articulated Robotic Arms

These multi-jointed robotic limbs are used to pick up, move, and place stock, especially heavy items and pallets. They are versatile and can perform tasks related to storage, picking and packing, receiving, and vehicle loading. These robots improve workplace safety by handling hazardous duties and increase productivity by moving larger quantities of inventory at once.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

Also known as drones, UAVs combine flight capabilities with logistics functions. They can be equipped with cameras and scanners for stocktaking and accuracy purposes, as well as systems for lifting and moving light items.

What are the benefits of warehouse robotics?

If you are planning to add warehouse robots to your facility, your company will be able to benefit in a number of clear and tangible and quantifiable ways:

  • Increased warehouse efficiency: Utilising robots in your existing warehouse enables your workforce to be more efficient, chiefly by removing the need for them to carry out time-consuming, basic tasks. For instance, robots are capable of moving stock to the packing area once it has been picked, ensuring that human workers can move on to the next order quickly.
  • Improved accuracy: When robots are working on tasks like stock counting or adding items to a pallet order, their margin for error is much lower than with a human. With more accurate stock fulfilment, you won’t need to organise as many costly refunds or replacements and your customers will be more satisfied across the board.
  • Higher operational capacity: Warehouse robots are capable of working around the clock and the need for extended breaks (apart from when they need to charge). So, when used alongside your existing workforce, they can increase the operational capacity of your team. This means that you can process more orders in the same time frame, which can be helpful in periods of peak demand.
  • Reduced strain and better safety: Robots can carry out jobs that are repetitive, demanding, or dangerous for your workforce, such as moving stock, lifting heavy loads, or picking from height. Not only does this improve warehouse safety and risk of injury, but it can also make things less stressful for your team. As a result, you can access long term benefits, like better worker morale and reduced sick leave.
  • Reduced need for large storage space: Because warehouse robots can work with accuracy and improved safety, it’s possible to use them for stock picking in more vertical and densely packed spaces that wouldn’t be possible with a team of human workers. This is especially true for automated storage and retrieval systems. As a result, there is less need for costly large warehouses for your stock. Smaller facilities are also more widely available in towns and cities, allowing you to deliver stock closer to demand to reduce costs.
  • Better brand image: Investing in warehouse robotics demonstrates that you’re a forward thinking and innovative brand, not only to your customers, but to your current suppliers and any business that you’re looking to win in the future.
  • Quick return on investment: While there will be an initial upfront cost to purchase and integrate robots into your warehouse, they tend to provide a quick return on investment thanks to reduced labour costs and the greater capacity can lead to operational efficiency.

Are warehouse robots right for your company?

Now that we’ve covered the basics of warehouse robotics, you should have a better idea of what they can offer your business. 

To find out more about how we can help, please feel free to fill in the contact form below. You can also read our whitepaper Robotics in the Warehouse to find out more.

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