Designing Solutions to Improve Apparel Industry Labor Efficiency

Designing a smarter approach to labor

Labor market pressures present one of the biggest issues facing apparel businesses, with the dual challenges of severe labor shortages compounded by dramatic increases in labor costs.

So, how can apparel businesses adapt and thrive within this emerging landscape?

Dematic is well positioned to help apparel businesses find smart, strategic solutions by automating a wide range of tasks. It’s not about replacing people with robots, it’s about finding a collaborative relationship — where thriving human resources are supported by efficient automated solutions.

Reduce the mundanity of manual operations

Many distribution center tasks can be highly repetitive. This need for consistency and precision at speed can be challenging for manual operations — the more intense and busy things get, the harder and less satisfying tasks become. Automation can perform the more mundane activities, such as robotics inducting items to a crossbelt sorter, with absolute precision at high speed, allowing you to move workers to more rewarding roles.

Increase the efficiency of your apparel business

Greater efficiency is essential to the bottom line of any apparel business. Automation provides clear opportunities to improve your manual labor resources and boost their productivity.

Automated storage and retrieval ensures that products travel no further than is necessary. Instead of workers traveling around your distribution center to store and retrieve products, automated solutions featuring technologies like Dematic Multishuttle® or AutoStore™ can perform the same task far more quickly and efficiently. By saving you time and energy, your operations become more sustainable, and you can move labor resources to areas that will increase their value.

There are countless ways automation can improve labor use within distribution centers. As the saying goes: Don’t work harder when you can work smarter.

Support colleagues in different locations

Your workforce in a distribution center and your workforce in store may not know each other or even be based in the same region, but they are in fact colleagues united in their task of supporting your overall operations. They can help each other in ways that are not always obvious with manual operations.

Manual workers in a distribution center won’t necessarily know what store staff does with the apparel items they are sending to them. They just know what needs sending and where. But the sequence in which items arrive in store can be important. Shipping items in a store-friendly sequence can help the labor force in-store get products onto shelves and racks a lot more quickly and efficiently. These efficiencies may not seem substantial at first glance, but the savings on labor usage in-store — as well as the job satisfaction experienced by those workers — can be considerable.

Reduce fulfillment costs with stock optimization software

Leaning into robotics and stock optimization software can also allow you to think much more flexibly about how your entire delivery network operates.

For example, setting up micro-fulfillment centers and using your physical stores as digital nodes, can cut fulfillment costs by up to 90% — savings that allow you to invest more in retaining and incentivizing high quality labor within your stores and distribution centers.

Find the right solution for your apparel business

The scope and solutions for robotics to support apparel businesses is growing all the time. The best way to understand what approach might suit your operations and labor force best is a deep dive with a partner who knows the industry and can guide you. 

Dematic’s team of experts is always on hand to answer questions and offer insights to help you find the smartest way to balance labor and automation in your business. 

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