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The challenges of implementing new warehouse automation technology can be intimidating but the benefits in the form of improved operational efficiency, productivity, and overall throughput are well worth the effort. Notwithstanding the clear benefits, operators need to be well armed with an understanding of the cost of automation technology (and different cost models!), integration possibilities with existing systems, and potential employee resistance to change that could occur. Here, we outline the challenges of warehouse automation adoption and why it’s worth the effort to automate.

Challenge #1: Cost of technology

One of the biggest challenges of warehouse automation is the cost of the technology. Automated systems can be expensive to purchase and install, and ongoing maintenance costs can also be significant. Organizations must carefully consider the potential return on investment before investing in automation technology.


That return on investment can be significant. By reducing the need for human workers, technologies like autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) simultaneously reduce labor costs while increasing the efficiency and productivity of warehouse operations. AMRs can also be programmed to perform repetitive tasks (such as scanning barcodes, counting inventory, and picking and packing items), speeding up mundane processes and reducing the risk of human error. Vecna Robotics provides a deeper dive into what a “Return on Robotics” could look like for your unique operation.

Challenge #2: Integrating new technology with existing systems

Automated systems often require integration with existing warehouse management systems, transportation management systems, and other technologies. This can be a complex and time-consuming process that requires specialized expertise.


The cost of automating can feel prohibitive, but the cost of not upgrading your operations and systems with automated technologies is even greater. As supply chain demands and customer needs continue to evolve, warehouses need to adapt in order to stay competitive. It’s about building resiliency in a tech-driven world.

Challenge #3: Employee resistance

Employee resistance is another common challenge of warehouse automation. Many employees may be hesitant to embrace new technology or may be concerned about job loss due to automation. Organizations must address these concerns, and provide training and support, to help employees adapt to new technology.


To get buy-in from employees, it’s important to share how warehouse automation will help their job performance, not hinder it. Among the many benefits of automation for warehouse workers are improved safety, better work/life balance, and the ability to perform more creative tasks. AMRs have the ability to navigate tight areas, helping employees avoid accidents and injuries. AMRs can also work 24/7, which means workers can offload less desirable shifts. And since AMRs can be programmed to perform repetitive tasks, warehouse workers are freed up to focus more on creative thinking and problem solving.

Photo of a person interacting with an AGV

Challenge #4: Data issues

Warehouse automation can also create a new set of issues around data security and data privacy, as well as liability and compliance concerns. Even though some experts believe automation can help with compliance, organizations must implement robust security and data privacy measures to protect sensitive information and comply with relevant regulations.


AMRs also have the power to improve supply chain transparency and security. Equipped with sensors and cameras, automation solutions can monitor goods as they are transported through a warehouse, providing real-time data on inventory levels and transportation routes, and identifying potential bottlenecks. AMRs also integrate with technologies such as RFID and 5G, providing even more security in warehouses.

Challenge #5: Setup time & resources

Setup also requires significant investment in terms of time and resources for testing, debugging, and fine-tuning, as well as ongoing maintenance and upgrades. This can be a significant burden for organizations, particularly for those with limited resources or expertise.


Choosing a vendor with a more accessible payment structure and better support for implementation can help mitigate this hurdle. With Robots as a Service (Saas), you get all your hardware, installation, training, maintenance, and support for a one-time fee, which gets you up in running as quickly as possible without worrying about hidden costs.

Challenge #6: Flexibility/Scalability

Flexibility and scalability is another potential hurdle when implementing new technology into warehouses. As businesses grow and evolve, their warehouse automation systems must be able to adapt and scale to meet changing demands. This requires careful planning and ongoing maintenance and upgrades.


Fortunately, flexibility and scalability are inherent in Vecna RaaS solutions. Our five-step system to go “From No Bot to Robot” empowers warehouses and distribution centers to build customized, rinse-and-repeat automation systems from day one.

Warehouse automation still makes sense

Overall, warehouse automation can bring significant benefits in terms of efficiency, accuracy, and cost savings as new technologies and trends emerge. It also poses several challenges, including the cost of technology, integration with existing systems, employee resistance, data security, and flexibility and scalability. Organizations must carefully consider these challenges and plan accordingly to ensure a successful implementation of warehouse automation.

If you’re ready to get started with an initial assessment, contact us to set up an appointment with a Vecna Robotics automation expert.