The Indian Warehouse Automation Market (henceforth, referred to as the market studied) was valued at USD 86.2 million in 2020, and is expected to reach USD 512.2 million by 2026, registering a CAGR of 26.4%, over the forecast period (2021-2026). In the post-Covid-19 scenario, tech-enablement has assumed greater significance as functioning with the reduced workforce to comply with the social distancing norm has become a new normal for warehouses across the country, thereby acting as a major driver for the adoption of warehouse automation in the country.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to extended lockdowns in India from the third week of March 2020 onwards. The resultant restriction in mobility meant a sharp rise in the number of first-time e-commerce users in India. This, in turn, means that e-tailers and brands will have to invest in warehouses that have flexible, robust systems capable of supporting increasingly erratic demand cycles and growing expectations of instant fulfillment. The COVID-19 also brought to fore the immense labor crunch that ensued due to lockdown, which exacerbated the problems of keeping up supply chain operations and managing erratic demand cycles successfully.
– India’s warehousing industry is undergoing a significant shift, keeping pace with the emerging manufacturing sector and the vast logistics industry. With the implementation of the goods and services tax and real estate investments, the warehousing industry is expected to benefit considerably. For the first time, GST will ensure that India will see consolidated large space central warehousing parks instead of the current scattered standalone facilities. This will give enable the industry with an added advantage to look at more investments in the large warehouses and modernize the facility with automation technologies.
– Moreover, the adoption of e-commerce in India has brought a massive volume of business to the warehouse industry. This sharp growth has brought in several sets of challenges. Delays in transportations, lack of skilled workforce, etc., made the stakeholders look beyond conventional approaches towards adopting robotics-enabled automation systems. The warehousing industry is witnessing a quick makeover from mere brick and mortar shelters or godowns to highly sophisticated stockrooms. This factor makes the warehousing players regularly evaluate and adopt technology so that their organizations are thoroughly future-proofed and have the edge over the competition.
– For instance, e-commerce giant Amazon, which has committed an investment of USD 5 billion in the Indian market, is investing in automated warehouses across India. It set up multiple new warehouses to cater to various categories. Amazon is among the first few companies in India that experimented and adopted robotics in their warehouses. Its Kiva robot engages in picking and packing process capabilities at large warehouses. Such robots’ usage brought a change in perception and made robotics and automation coexist within the warehousing sector.
– With the growth in the manufacturing, retail, and FMCG sectors in India, there is an ever-increasing demand for industrial automation solutions. The market for shuttle retrieval systems and automated storage and mobile robot platforms are experiencing strong growth. There are also industrial, and freight corridors which are mushrooming across the country, which is expected to increase the number of organized players in the warehousing and industrial parks. These players are expected to adopt automation to benefit from higher returns on their investments. The extension in the field of AI (Automatic Identification) in Robotics other solutions with AI with the industry 4.0 is growing and will have a significant impact on the warehouse automation landscape of India.
Key Market Trends
Mobile Robots Expected to have a Significant Growth
– The primary application of mobile robots is the use of mobile automated guided vehicles (AGVs) in warehouses and storage facilities to transport goods. These robots operate in predefined pathways, moving products for shipping and storage around the clock. AGVs play an essential role in reducing the cost of logistics and streamlining the supply chain.
– AGVs are also used in inbound and outbound handling for replenishment and for picking. For instance, AGVs are utilized to transport inventory from receiving to storage locations or from long-term storage locations to forward picking locations to replenish stock. Moving inventory from long-term storage to forward picking locations ensures that adequate inventory is accessible to pickers, making the order picking process more efficient.
– India’s warehouse landscape is shifting with intensive usage of robotics and optimization of manual labor to reduce cost and increase profitability. While the robots are kicking in and taking care of efficiency mapping and waste reduction to create a smooth flow, workers in a warehouse are expected to spend their human intelligence on more value-adding activities.
– Robotics now become critical to multiple end-users’ profitability. Leading the way are the AMRs essential for quick, secure, and error-free delivery, short time to market, reduced costs, and end-to-end trackability. Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) differ from AGVs by their degree of autonomy. Robotics for distribution centers (DCs), such as AMRs and collaborative picking arms, are proliferating.
– In India’s e-commerce space, Amazon’s primary contender, Flipkart, in May 2019, announced to bring in robots to help it sort through packages before they go off to be delivered. The Walmart-owned online marketplace handles approximately eight million shipments per month, on average, and the automated guided vehicles (AGVs) will significantly help the company meet the increasing demand of Indian users. The robot-based sortation technology pilot project is being implemented at Flipkart’s Soukya sortation center situated in Bangalore. The entire setup includes more than 100 self-guided robots that will automatically sort the packages in the order of delivery pin codes. Flipkart’s initial tests show that every hundred AGVs lead to a 60% increase in process efficiency. So, working in conjunction, the robots can process up to 4,500 shipments within an hour.
Healthcare Industry Expected to Dominate Market Share
– India pharmaceutical warehouses have lagged in adopting warehouse automation systems due to the large capital outlay it entails and the long payback period. However, all that is expected to change as increased competition and pressures to reduce costs are forcing pharmaceutical warehouses in India to adopt automation. A practical implementation has been made with a few traditional solutions. However, as the need to quicken the delivery process and reduce costs gain momentum, warehouses will need to go beyond the traditional automation and adopt some of the newer technologies such as warehouse management software that controls all product flows and optimizes product movements.
– Multiple pharmaceutical companies based out of India utilize warehouse automation solutions. For instance, Godrej Efacec Automation & Robotics Ltd implemented its warehousing technology with AS/RS for a prominent pharmaceutical company based out of India. A warehouse of 104 m (L) x 20 m (W) x 28.9 m (H) was planned and built, which accommodated 6700 pallet locations and delivered high throughput of 68 pallets per hour with two dedicated Automated Stacker Cranes. The solution integrated the production facility, material receipt docks, warehouse, and dispatch docks.
– Medreich Ltd, a prominent pharmaceutical company based out of India, utilizes automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) that connects its manufacturing facility with a network of conveyors and automated lifts. When a person in the manufacturing area requests a computer, the material will be picked up from the warehouse and delivered to that location and that floor. The decision to integrate the ASRS in both the warehouse and manufacturing areas was a logistical challenge and a software challenge for the company. Distinct software packages like SAP, software for the in-boarding documents, weighing machines from the vendor had to be combined and integrated so that each program could communicate with the others and always provide users with complete product information.
– In September 2020, Kool-ex, a pharma cold chain logistics firm, entered a partnership with IndoSpace to develop temperature-controlled warehouses across India as it looks to tap into the growing need for cold storage facilities for the COVID19 vaccine. Kool-ex and IndoSpace will jointly design and set up three warehouses in the first phase by 2021 in proximity to Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore. At 42,000 pallet positions in each warehouse, these warehouses are expected to be the largest standalone cold chain facility in the country. Kool-ex has plans to launch 10-11 warehouses by 2023, making it the largest pharma storage footprint in the country. This factor is expected to increase the adoption of warehouse automation in such cold chain facilities.
The Indian Warehouse Automation Market is moderately competitive and fragemented with many players in the market with smaller maret share. The companies keep on innovating and entering into strategic partnerships in order to retain their market share.
– March 2020 – AurionproSolutions Ltd, a solution provider known for its software services for cold storage division in the supply chain fraternity, announced the onboarding of India-based cold chain service provider ColdrushLogistics to help them in building compliant warehouse processes. With SCMProFit, Coldrushplans to leverage its unified platform with all service deliveries and complete warehouse management, enhancing its service offerings to its diverse clients.?
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