Tag Archive for: Automation

Applications of AS/RS

As the demand for automation grows, Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS) are increasingly essential in fulfillment and manufacturing. These systems significantly improve storage optimization, operational efficiency, and inventory accuracy. From enhancing fulfillment operations to optimizing manufacturing processes, AS/RS can cover many different applications to shape the future of efficient and effective business operations.

Manufacturing Applications

Warehouse Manufacturing, AS/RS

Kitting

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems revolutionize the manufacturing kitting process by ensuring all necessary components are accurately grouped and delivered to the production line. This automation minimizes manual handling errors and significantly enhances efficiency. By precisely managing and organizing kits, AS/RS streamlines assembly operations, reduces cycle times, and supports just-in-time manufacturing practices, ultimately boosting overall productivity and operational efficiency.

Completed Small Parts Storage/Delivery

For completed small parts, AS/RS provides a reliable and efficient storage and delivery solution within manufacturing operations. These systems ensure precise handling and placement, facilitating easy integration into subsequent production stages or direct shipment. By automating the storage and retrieval of small parts, AS/RS reduces handling errors and downtime, improves inventory accuracy, and enhances the speed and efficiency of the manufacturing process.

Raw Material Storage/Delivery

AS/RS significantly optimizes raw material storage and delivery by maintaining organized and easily accessible inventories. These systems automate the retrieval of raw materials, reducing downtime and ensuring a smooth and continuous material flow to the production line. This efficiency not only supports just-in-time manufacturing but also maximizes storage space and minimizes the risk of material shortages, contributing to a more streamlined and cost-effective manufacturing process.

Cold Storage

In environments requiring cold storage, AS/RS provides robust, temperature-controlled solutions that ensure the preservation of sensitive materials. These systems maximize storage efficiency by automating the handling of products in cold environments, reducing the need for manual labor and exposure to harsh conditions. By maintaining consistent temperatures and ensuring accurate retrieval and placement, AS/RS enhances the reliability and efficiency of cold storage operations, which is crucial for industries like food and pharmaceuticals.

Shipping Buffer

As a shipping buffer, AS/RS systems effectively manage the staging and sequencing of products ready for dispatch. These systems ensure timely and organized shipping processes by automating the organization and retrieval of finished goods. This capability is essential for maintaining an efficient supply chain, as it reduces bottlenecks, improves order accuracy, and ensures that products are shipped on time, ultimately enhancing customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.

Fulfillment

Warehouse Fulfillment, AS/RS

Batch Picking

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems enhance batch picking in fulfillment operations by automating the grouping of multiple orders into a single pick run. This increases efficiency and accuracy, reducing the time and effort required for manual picking. By optimizing batch-picking processes, AS/RS minimizes travel time and streamlined order fulfillment, leading to faster processing and improved overall productivity.

Direct to Consumer

In direct-to-consumer fulfillment, AS/RS plays a crucial role in managing high-volume, small-parcel orders. These systems ensure rapid and accurate picking, packing, and shipping of individual items, meeting the demands of e-commerce with speed and precision. AS/RS enables businesses to handle large volumes of orders efficiently, improve order accuracy, and enhance customer satisfaction through timely deliveries.

Return & Hold

AS/RS streamline the return and hold processes by automating the sorting and storing of returned items. This ensures that returned goods are efficiently processed, inspected, and either restocked or held for further action. By improving the management of returns, AS/RS reduces handling times, increases inventory accuracy, and enhances the ability to quickly reintroduce sellable items into the inventory, improving overall fulfillment efficiency and profitability.

Pallet Load Breakdown

For pallet load breakdown, AS/RS systems automate the disassembly and sorting of pallets into smaller units for easier handling and distribution. This capability improves the efficiency of breaking down bulk shipments into individual orders, reducing manual labor and speeding up the fulfillment process. By optimizing pallet load breakdown, AS/RS helps maintain a smooth and efficient workflow in the fulfillment center.

Pick Tunnel Replenishment

AS/RS are essential for pick tunnel replenishment, ensuring that picking stations are continuously stocked with the necessary inventory. By automating the replenishment process, these systems minimize disruptions and maintain a steady flow of products to pickers. This leads to increased picking efficiency and reduced downtime.

Security of Materials

AS/RS enhances the security of materials in fulfillment centers by automating storage and retrieval processes, reducing the risk of theft and loss. These systems provide precise tracking and control over inventory, ensuring that only authorized personnel can access specific items. By improving inventory security, AS/RS helps protect valuable goods and maintain the integrity of the fulfillment operation.

Goods-to-Person

AS/RS delivers items directly to workers at picking stations in goods-to-person fulfillment, significantly improving efficiency and accuracy. This automation reduces the need for workers to travel through the warehouse, minimizing picking time and physical strain. By bringing goods directly to the picker, AS/RS enhances productivity, speeds up order processing, and ensures a more ergonomic and efficient fulfillment operation.

These systems are essential in meeting the growing demands for efficiency, reduced downtime, profitability, security, order accuracy, inventory accuracy, and customer satisfaction.  As businesses seek to improve their operations, the adoption of AS/RS will undoubtedly play a critical role in shaping a more automated and productive future.

Ready to explore if your facility could benefit from an AS/RS solution? Click here!

Exploring Market Verticals That Utilize AS/RS

Efficiency is the name of the game in logistics and warehouse management. As businesses strive to meet increasing consumer demands while minimizing costs and maximizing productivity, they turn to innovative solutions such as Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS). These sophisticated systems are utilized by various industries, revolutionizing how goods are stored, retrieved, and distributed.

What is an AS/RS System?

Before we dive into what industries often utilize them, let’s briefly understand what an AS/RS entails. AS/RS is a computer-controlled system that automatically places and retrieves loads from specific storage locations. These systems typically comprise racks, shelves, aisles, and robotic mechanisms such as cranes or shuttles. They use advanced software and sensors to manage inventory and efficiently handle goods within a manufacturing facility, warehouse, or distribution center.

Applications Across Industries

E-commerce and Retail

In the world of e-commerce, timely order fulfillment is critical for customer satisfaction. AS/RS is vital in optimizing warehouse operations for online retailers. They enable rapid storage and retrieval of items, reducing picking times and ensuring that orders are processed swiftly. Additionally, these systems maximize storage density, allowing retailers to make the most of limited warehouse space, a valuable asset in urban areas where real estate comes at a premium.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing facilities rely on AS/RS to efficiently manage raw materials, components, and finished products. These systems ensure that the right materials are available precisely when needed, minimizing downtime, maximizing space utilization, and optimizing production schedules. By automating storage and retrieval processes, manufacturers can streamline their operations, improve inventory accuracy, and reduce the risk of errors associated with manual handling.

Food and Beverage

Maintaining product freshness and compliance with safety regulations is paramount in the food and beverage industry. AS/RS within temperature-controlled environments are ideal for storing perishable goods. These systems can efficiently manage inventory rotation based on expiration dates, reducing waste and ensuring that products reach consumers optimally. Additionally, the automated nature of AS/RS minimizes the risk of contamination from human handling.

Pharmaceutical and Healthcare

The pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors demand precise inventory management and stringent quality control measures. AS/RS offers a sterile and secure environment for storing medications, medical devices, and sensitive materials. With features such as inventory tracking and traceability, these systems enhance regulatory compliance and facilitate batch management, making them indispensable for maintaining product integrity and patient safety.

Automotive

Automotive manufacturers and suppliers deal with various parts and components requiring specific storage conditions and handling procedures. AS/RS provides a systematic approach to managing inventory, ensuring that the correct parts are available for assembly or distribution as needed. By automating repetitive tasks and minimizing manual intervention, these systems enhance efficiency, reduce labor costs, and optimize space utilization within automotive facilities.

From e-commerce to pharmaceuticals, the companies who utilize AS/RS span across diverse industries, AS/RS offer a multitude of benefits, including increased efficiency, improved inventory management, and enhanced product quality. As technology advances, these systems will evolve to meet the changing needs of businesses seeking to stay ahead in today’s competitive marketplace. By harnessing the power of automation and intelligent logistics solutions, companies can streamline their operations and pave the way for greater success in the future.

Interested in learning how AS/RS could fit into your unique operations? Click here!

How Automation Improves Worker Safety

Automation has become a game-changer in the logistics and warehousing industry in recent years, significantly improving warehouse safety and efficiency. Warehouses are environments where workers face numerous risks, ranging from heavy lifting and repetitive strain to potential machinery accidents. Automation helps mitigate these risks, creating a safer and more productive working environment.

How Automation Boosts Worker Safety

Reduction of Physical Strain

One of the immediate benefits of warehouse automation is reducing physical strain on employees. Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) are now widely used to transport goods across warehouse floors. These machines handle the heavy lifting, reducing the need for people to move large and bulky items manually. This mitigates the risk of musculoskeletal injuries and lessens fatigue, which can lead to accidents.

Enhanced Precision and Consistency

Automation systems, including robotic arms and conveyors, operate with high precision and consistency, performing tasks such as sorting, picking, and packing with minimal error. This precision reduces the likelihood of accidents caused by human error, such as dropping items or improper stacking. Additionally, robots can handle hazardous materials with care, preventing exposure to substances that might be harmful to people.

Improved Employee Ergonomics

Goods-to-person systems, like those from Hai Robotics, significantly minimize the need for employees to walk, bend, and reach for items. These systems bring the items directly to the employees at an ergonomic height, allowing them to remain stationary and perform their tasks more comfortably and safely. This not only improves worker productivity but also reduces the risk of workplace injuries associated with repetitive movements and awkward postures.

Minimized Risk in Hazardous Tasks

Certain warehouse tasks, such as working at heights or handling toxic chemicals, are inherently dangerous. Automation can take over these hazardous tasks, reducing the risk to human workers. For instance, automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) can efficiently manage inventory stored at high elevations, and robotic arms can handle hazardous materials with precision, ensuring humans are not exposed to dangerous conditions.

Automated Warehouse Comprehensive Safety Features

Automated warehouses are designed with comprehensive safety features to ensure the well-being of employees in environments where automation and human interaction intersect. These safety measures work together to create a secure working environment where both humans and machines can operate safely and efficiently.

Safety Sensors: Automated systems are equipped with sensors that detect the presence of objects or people in their vicinity. These sensors can trigger alarms or automatically halt machinery to prevent accidents.

Emergency Stop Buttons: Emergency stop buttons are strategically placed throughout the warehouse, allowing employees to quickly halt operations in case of an emergency or imminent danger.

Light Curtains: Light curtains are sensors that create an invisible barrier. If broken, they immediately stop nearby machinery to prevent injury to anyone in the vicinity.

Collision Detection Systems: Automated vehicles and machinery are equipped with collision detection systems that sense obstacles in their path and adjust course or come to a complete stop to avoid accidents.

Safe Zones: Designated safe zones are marked areas within the warehouse where employees can perform tasks without the risk of interference from automated machinery. These zones are often equipped with additional safety features to ensure protection.

The integration of automation in warehouses is revolutionizing the industry, not just by boosting efficiency but by creating safer working environments. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect even more innovative solutions to emerge, further safeguarding warehouse employees’ well-being and enhancing the industry’s overall safety standards.

If you are looking for automation solutions to improve your worker safety, click here to connect with a Storage Solutions expert!

A Look into Material Handling in California

Our team got to sit down with Storage Solution’s VP of Sales, Tim Schrader, in our California office. Tim has decades of experience in the material handling world, specifically navigating the intricacies of doing business in California. In this video, he walks us through some of the industry’s changes, specifically in California, and how our California office’s experience is so valuable for our customers.

What challenges have you seen in the industry over the last 15 years?

“That’s a big question. I guess over the course of my entire career, like the last 20 years, it used to be that if you wanted to start a distribution business, you go get some space, you throw some people at it, buy a couple of forklifts, and you’re operating – you’re up and going. I think as space and labor have become more and more cost-impacted, people have had to figure out ways to be more efficient. And so, developers start building taller buildings. People have really figured out that when they maximize cubic capacity instead of square footage, there’s a positive impact on the P&L.

Over the course of the last 15 years, we’ve only seen that amplify and get more and more strategic from a business operators’ standpoint or point of view, where now we see that operators are really focused before they take a building and even really start to operate a business. They’re really focused on what I can accomplish with that particular building and asking us as professionals and experts to weigh in on decisions to buy that building or to lease that space. And then how many people do we actually throw at that particular operation, and where can we sort of trim both those two factors, the square footage that we’re going to dedicate to an operation and the amount of labor resources that we’re going to dedicate to it. And where we’ve been able to be helpful in that is running cubic analysis on operations and helping people understand how much square footage they can actually trim out of their overall network if they were able to maximize the cubic volume of their building.”

How has this change affected what a project looks like on the West Coast?

“So, tantric question. It’s grown more and more from a very rudimentary type, and we used to call them box jockeys, right? Where they would really just move boxes all day, every day too; people are starting to put some really deep thought into how they can make the math work for them in terms of space and people, and we’ve had to develop with them all along the way and develop our expertise. We can lend some assistance in those two conversations to ultimately help the customer because if we can’t help the customer, we don’t have a business.

Well, another part that I didn’t talk about in terms of changes is that building codes and fire codes are always evolving. It’s always getting more strict. So, every couple of years, the building and fire code update in California is, forgive the analogy, but ground zero or epicenter for stringent codes getting implemented quickly. When we talk about international building code, international fire code, NFPA, California building code, and California fire code, we’re kind of the standard by which the rest of the nation adopts in later years. And what that means is that because we’re high seismic here, builders have to build buildings differently. So, we often weigh in on those development projects. We have to build systems, rack structures, and mezzanines to fit those.

We have to build anything that we touch differently here because we’re in California. Therefore, we have to pay attention to California’s fire code FPA in ways that the rest of the country really doesn’t or gets to defer to a later point in its life cycle, so we have to know a lot earlier on.”

Are there challenges specific to a project on the West Coast?

“And when we ask the question, why is it, or what is a business challenged with when operating in California, it’s a microscopic look at the operation, the commodities, the building, the slab, the sprinkler system, exit doors, exit lighting, ADA access issues, and photometrics that aren’t necessarily looked at in other parts of the country. It’s not that they’re not in the code.

It’s just that they’re not scrutinized to the same level of detail that they are here in California. So, if those are the challenges, you need experts who can help solve them. We have to be experts, specifically in the fire code. That’s really the biggest one, and we have to really understand commodity classifications. We have to understand MAQs and hazmat. We have to understand sprinkler protection and the criteria by which we need to protect the commodities. We have to understand clear heights and the top of storage and exit doors. The list goes on and on. And one mistake in those fields of expertise could disqualify a building or could allow a broker or a business operator to choose the wrong building and then have to upgrade it significantly or just simply not be able to do with it what he needs to do in order to maximize the cubic capacity of the building and make it work for his business.”

The challenges are pretty clear. That is, we have to fit what you want to do as a business operator into what the codes and what the state will allow you to do with the building that you want to do it in. I have to dance with all three of those, and we are the glue that brings everybody together that says, okay, business wants to do this, the code allows for this, therefore, city, we’re going to do this, and we’re entitled to do it because we see the entire picture, so having folks who are versed in all those arenas has been a critical component of our success. Having Scott, who’s a high-pile storage analyst and engineer, is absolutely critical. Having Drake, who understands holistically how these projects need to look from fire, electrical, building, and ADA perspectives, is absolutely critical. Having Kim understand how to process all that with the cities and then communicate that back to the client in a way that they can understand a complex issue that they’ve never had to navigate before and don’t feel like they should have to be navigating in a way that is helpful for them to understand and helps them navigate it for their operation so it can be up and running as quickly as possible.”

Revolutionizing Brownfield Warehouses with Automation Solutions

Brownfield warehouses play a pivotal role as established facilities that have stood the test of time in the logistics and supply chain world. These warehouses, often with decades of operational history, are now faced with the pressing need to adapt to the demands of the modern era. There are automation solutions crafted to transform brownfield warehouses by optimizing productivity and efficiency while minimizing costs and errors.

Whether you aim to optimize order fulfillment, enhance inventory management, or boost overall warehouse efficiency, our automation solutions are customized to fit your specific requirements.

Advantages of Automating Brownfield Warehouses

Boost in Productivity and Efficiency

Automation solutions allow warehouses to manage inventory and order volumes with minimal human intervention. Automating repetitive tasks, such as picking, sorting, and packing, helps businesses enhance their productivity and achieve faster turnaround times. This leads to more efficient operations, decreasing labor costs and improving overall efficiency.

Enhanced Accuracy and Order Fulfillment

Automation technologies, such as barcode scanning systems and automated conveyor systems, help eradicate human errors in order fulfillment processes. With automated systems, businesses can ensure accurate picking, packing, and shipping of orders, reducing the chances of errors, returns, and customer dissatisfaction. This results in improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Optimal Space Utilization

Brownfield warehouses often face space constraints due to their existing infrastructure. Automation solutions can help optimize space utilization by implementing smart storage systems, such as VLMs (vertical lift module) or Jungheinrich’s automated VNA (very narrow aisle) trucks. These technologies maximize vertical space and enable efficient storage and retrieval of inventory, allowing businesses to store more products in the same footprint.

Challenges of Incorporating Automation in Brownfield Warehouses

Integration with Existing Systems and Infrastructure

One of the main hurdles in implementing automation in brownfield warehouses is integrating new systems with existing ones. Brownfield warehouses often have legacy systems and infrastructure in place, making it challenging to seamlessly integrate new automation solutions. Our team’s real-world experience allows us to effectively integrate automation systems with existing setups, ensuring a smooth transition and minimal disruption to your operations.

Adapting to Unique Layout and Constraints

Brownfield warehouses can have unique layouts and constraints due to their existing structures. Automation solutions need to be tailored to fit these specific requirements. Storage Solutions, driven by our technology-agnostic approach, excels in customizing automation solutions for brownfield warehouses, considering the layout, space limitations, and other factors to maximize efficiency and productivity.

Crucial Aspects to Consider When Selecting Automation Solutions

When selecting automation solutions for your brownfield warehouse, there are several crucial aspects to bear in mind. These considerations will help ensure that the selected system is scalable, cost-effective, and compatible with your existing warehouse processes.

Firstly, scalability and flexibility are essential. As your business grows and evolves, you need an automation solution that can adapt to changing demands. Opt for a system that can easily accommodate increased order volumes, additional storage capacity, and changing product lines. Scalability will ensure that your investment in automation is future-proof, allowing your warehouse to keep up with your business growth.

Secondly, a thorough ROI analysis is crucial. Implementing automation solutions in brownfield warehouses can involve a significant investment, and it is essential to assess the return on investment prior to making the commitment. Consider factors such as labor cost savings, improved order accuracy, reduced operational errors, and increased throughput. A comprehensive ROI analysis will help you make an informed decision and determine the cost-effectiveness of the automation solution. This crucial step in the process is one our team understands and can perform effectively, laying the foundation for a successful project.

Lastly, compatibility with existing warehouse processes is vital for a smooth integration. The automation solution should integrate seamlessly with your current inventory management system, warehouse management software, and other operational processes. This compatibility will minimize disruptions and streamline operations, allowing for an easy transition to automated processes.

By considering these key aspects – scalability and flexibility, ROI analysis, and compatibility with existing processes – you can confidently select the right automation solution for your brownfield warehouse. Click here to learn more about what automation solutions could best solve the unique operational challenges in your current warehouse!

Maximizing Small-Footprint Warehouses with Automation Solutions

While automation solutions are often seen in large warehouses that turn over thousands of daily orders, smaller operations can equally benefit from the integration of automation technologies. With a smaller footprint and thoughtful design, tailored solutions can allow you to reap benefits such as lower labor costs, increased inventory control, and improved overall efficiency.

Why Automation Can Be Ideal for a Small Footprint

When assessing how automation could impact a small footprint, each square foot of space is even more valuable than in a large facility. Many automation solutions can be scaled to the unique size of your facility as well as the challenges your operation is faced with. The reliability and consistency that automation brings, coupled with simplified maintenance, make it an attractive choice for smaller organizations who need to achieve improved productivity and cost savings. Automation in a small footprint is often the ideal solution to maximize operational efficiency and gain agility to navigate the complexities of the modern supply chain.

Examples of Automation Solutions for Small-Footprints

As every operation’s needs are unique, there is no “best” automation solution for small footprints. However, there are popular solutions highlighted below that are designed with space-savings in mind.

High Density Storage & Picking Solutions

High-density storage and picking solutions are flexible, easily scalable options that fit most small-footprint warehouses. These solutions typically involve storing totes in a very dense storage system and having the totes brought to a picking station to allow items to be selected to fulfill orders. By definition, these are goods to person storage and picking solutions that help warehouse managers make the most of limited floor space. Small-footprint warehouses can significantly benefit from this high-density storage and picking solutions, as they enable businesses to overcome spatial constraints, improve productivity, and meet the growing demands of e-commerce and rapid order fulfillment while giving them the freedom to expand in the future to meet changing business needs.

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS)

AS/RS systems are designed to optimize vertical space in warehouses by automating the storage and retrieval of goods. These systems use robotic cranes and conveyors to move items between storage locations and picking stations. AS/RS helps maximize storage density and efficiency, making it suitable for warehouses with limited floor space.

Vertical Lift Machines (VLMs)

VLMs, or vertical carousels or lift modules, are automated storage systems that efficiently utilize vertical space. These machines consist of vertically arranged trays or carriers that can move up and down to retrieve and store items. VLMs are suitable for warehouses with limited floor space as they provide high-density storage and quick access to stored goods. Operators can request specific items, and the VLM retrieves them, reducing the need for extensive manual searching and inventory handling. This automation solution is effective for small warehouses aiming to optimize storage space and improve picking efficiency.

Storage Solution’s In-House Resources Critical for Design

The design of an automation solution in a smaller footprint requires an exceptional understanding of the existing operation to tailor a solution that matches the footprint and the products being moved. Storage Solution’s technology-agnostic approach, paired with our in-house team’s experience and skills, allows our team to find the most effective solution to your problem.

No matter the size of your warehouse, automation is not just a nice thing to have in the future but a must-have in the present to ensure your warehouse can scale and grow at its full potential. Our team is ready to help evaluate your existing operations, find the most prevalent bottlenecks, and design a solution that will alleviate operational challenges.

Ready to start the process of solving your operational challenges? Get in contact with a Storage Solution’s automation expert here!

Is Automating My Warehouse Cost-Effective

Finding the best automation solution for your warehouse involves many variables, but a key factor is understanding the solution’s return on investment to determine if it is cost-effective or not. As companies embrace the era of intelligent technology, strategic budgeting becomes crucial for successfully implementing and maintaining automated warehouse systems.

Understanding the Need for Automation

Before diving into strategic budgeting, it’s imperative to recognize the driving forces behind warehouse automation. Increased demand for faster order fulfillment, error reduction, and the desire to optimize overall operational efficiency while maximizing labor productivity are among the primary reasons businesses turn to automation. By streamlining processes through technology integration, companies can enhance productivity, minimize errors, and ultimately improve customer satisfaction.

Assessing Current Operations

CARES

The first step in strategic budgeting for warehouse automation is conducting a comprehensive assessment of the existing warehouse operations. This includes analyzing current workflows, identifying bottlenecks, and understanding the specific pain points that automation can address. A thorough assessment provides valuable insights into the areas where automation can make a significant impact, allowing for targeted budget allocation.

Setting Clear Objectives

Establishing clear objectives is paramount to successfully budgeting for warehouse automation. Whether the goal is to increase order processing speed, reduce labor costs, or enhance order

accuracy, defining these objectives helps prioritize automation investments. Each objective should be measurable and aligned with the overall business strategy to ensure a return on investment is possible.

Cost-Benefit Analysis 

Return On Investment Example

Conducting a detailed cost-benefit analysis is a critical component of strategic budgeting. This involves estimating the initial costs of implementing automation solutions, including equipment, software, and installation expenses. Understanding the impacts of long-term operating expenses should also be part of this process. Simultaneously, businesses must project the expected benefits, such as labor savings, increased throughput, and error reduction. A well-executed cost-benefit analysis aids decision-makers in determining the feasibility and potential return on investment for each automation initiative.

Prioritizing Investments

Not all warehouse processes require the same level of automation. Strategic budgeting involves prioritizing investments based on their impact on the overall operation. High-impact areas where automation can yield significant benefits should be allocated a larger portion of the budget. This prioritization ensures resources are directed toward initiatives aligning with the company’s overarching goals.

Adapting to Scalability

Warehouse automation should not be viewed as a one-time investment but rather as a scalable solution that can grow alongside the business. Strategic budgeting considers the scalability of automation systems, allowing for future expansions or modifications. This approach ensures that the initial investment lays the foundation for long-term success without the need for substantial reinvestment in the future.

Continuous Monitoring and Optimization

Investing in warehouse automation continues after the initial implementation. Continuous monitoring of automated processes is essential to identify areas for improvement and optimization. Allocating a portion of the budget for ongoing maintenance, software updates, and employee training ensures that the automated system remains efficient and aligned with evolving business needs.

By adopting a forward-thinking approach to budgeting, businesses can unlock the full potential of warehouse automation, achieving operational excellence while staying ahead in modern supply chain management.

Our team looks forward to evaluating your existing operations to show you the potential returns of implementing automation into your operations. Click here to get the process started today!

Applications of Vertical Lift Modules

The quest for efficiency, accuracy, and productivity is an ongoing journey in modern logistics and warehousing. Warehouses and distribution centers are continuously evolving to meet the demands of a rapidly changing marketplace. One technology that has made a significant impact in this transformation is the Vertical Lift Module (VLM). VLMs are dynamic, automated storage and retrieval systems that provide flexible solutions for various applications.

Dense Storage of Slow/Medium Moving SKUs

VLMs are adept at maximizing space utilization. Storing slow or medium-moving items within their compact vertical structures frees up valuable floor space that can be utilized for fast-moving goods or other operations.

Batch Picking of Small Cube Items

VLMs are ideal for batch picking. They automatically retrieve the required items from their vertical shelving, ensuring a faster and more accurate picking process. This results in reduced labor costs and improved order fulfillment times.

Tool Crib Storage

VLMs can serve as an efficient tool crib for organizations that require easy access to tools and equipment. Tools are securely stored within the VLM, and authorized personnel can request and retrieve them at the push of a button.

Manufacturing Line-Side Storage

VLMs placed near manufacturing lines provide quick access to essential components and materials, reducing production downtime and optimizing workflow.

Work Cell Storage

VLMs can be integrated into work cells, providing compact, organized storage for materials and components needed in production processes. This streamlines the work cell’s operations.

Point of Use Storage

VLMs placed at points of use within a facility provide easy access to frequently utilized items, improving worker efficiency and reducing the need to travel long distances within the warehouse.

E-commerce Fulfillment

VLMs are instrumental in e-commerce warehouses where the demand for quick and accurate order fulfillment is paramount. They facilitate fast access to a wide range of SKUs, enabling faster picking and packing.

Spare Parts Storage

Storing spare parts can be challenging, especially when they come in various sizes and shapes. VLMs ensure that these parts are organized and accessible, reducing downtime in maintenance and repair activities.

Kitting Components Storage & Picking

VLMs excel at storing kitting components for assembly and manufacturing. They help in maintaining inventory accuracy and simplifying the kitting process.

Retail Back Room Storage for Small Items

In retail environments, VLMs provide a neat and organized way to store small items in the back room, making restocking and inventory management more efficient.

In the competitive world of logistics and warehousing, adopting Vertical Lift Modules has become a strategic advantage. As warehousing demands evolve, VLMs will undoubtedly remain at the forefront of this transformation.

Interested in learning how VLMs can transform your operations? Contact one of Storage Solution’s automation experts here!

 

Typical Bottlenecks Created by Peak Season

As the holiday rush approaches, businesses are gearing up for the high-octane marathon of orders. But with the exhilaration of peak season comes the daunting challenge of navigating bottlenecks. While you might not be able to implement solutions to remedy these challenges for the holiday season already upon us, we’ll explore four bottlenecks created by peak season to be on the lookout for.

Unlocking the Power of Storage Space

Picture this: a warehouse bursting at the seams with holiday goodies. Limited storage space can be a significant bottleneck during peak season – the solution? Think vertical! Embrace the art of vertical storage to optimize every inch of your warehouse, or consider offsite storage facilities to ease the load. A well-thought-out warehouse layout can also work wonders, ensuring that your storage space dances in harmony with the influx of inventory.

Streamlining Order Picking Processes

The heartbeat of any warehouse operation, order picking, should be as seamless as a perfectly wrapped gift. Inefficient order-picking processes can lead to delays and errors, the last things you want during peak season chaos. Enter batch picking and zone picking – superheroes of efficiency. By grouping orders intelligently and assigning dedicated zones, you’re not just picking orders but conducting a symphony of productivity. Integrate pick-to-light systems or embrace the power of voice picking for an extra layer of efficiency.

Mastering Inventory Management

In the world of warehousing, accurate inventory management is the unsung hero. Imagine the chaos of running out of a best-selling item or drowning in excess stock. The key is investing in an advanced inventory management system that embraces real-time tracking. Embrace barcode scanners or RFID technology for accurate counts, ensuring that your inventory dances to the rhythm of demand, not the chaos of mismanagement.

Ensuring Quality Control Triumphs 

While the holiday season is a time of joy, quality control issues can be the Grinch stealing your peace of mind. Ramp up your quality control measures to ensure that every product leaving your warehouse is nothing short of perfection. Regular checks and balances paired with technology such as barcode scanning can be your best allies. After all, in the hustle and bustle of peak season, quality should never take a backseat.

As the curtains rise on the peak season spectacle, let your warehouse steal the show with impeccable efficiency. Remember, a strategic symphony of technology, training, and tactical planning is the key to triumphing over bottlenecks.

Vertical Lift Modules

In the ever-evolving landscape of warehousing and logistics, the need for space optimization, efficiency, and automation has never been greater. One popular solution in the industry is the Vertical Lift Module (VLM). Learn how VLMs are making a significant impact on the industry and why they are becoming synonymous with intelligent warehousing.

Space Efficiency

Vertical Lift Modules are champions of space optimization. VLMs provide a game-changing solution in a world where every square foot of warehouse space matters. These systems take storage to new heights—literally. By utilizing vertical space, they maximize storage capacity while minimizing the warehouse’s footprint. With VLMs, the sky’s the limit regarding storage possibilities.

Increased Storage Density

Storage density, an area where VLMs excel, is crucial in modern warehousing. VLMs allow you to store many items densely, reducing the amount of space needed compared to traditional shelving or racks. This solution enables warehouses to store more inventory within the same area. It’s like tripling your storage capacity without expanding your warehouse.

Enhanced Order Picking Speed

Speed matters in the world of e-commerce and rapid order fulfillment. VLMs offer a crucial advantage by automating the retrieval of items – meaning no more searching through shelves or walking long distances. VLMs bring the required inventory right to the operator’s fingertips, which translates to faster order fulfillment, higher productivity, and happier customers.

Reduced Labor Costs

Labor costs can be a significant portion of an operation’s expenses. With VLMs, automation plays a crucial role in reducing these costs. By automating the retrieval and storage of items, VLMs lessen the need for labor. This not only saves money but also minimizes the risk of human error in the order fulfillment process.

Scalability

As your business grows, your warehousing needs may change. VLMs offer scalability as a fundamental feature as these systems are modular and can be expanded or modified to accommodate changing storage needs. This adaptability ensures that your warehouse can evolve alongside your business.

Increased Order Accuracy

Order accuracy is a top priority in warehousing, and VLMs excel in this regard as well. Automation minimizes the potential for errors in the order-picking process, resulting in more accurate and reliable operations. With VLMs, you can significantly reduce order discrepancies and customer dissatisfaction, improving your business’s reputation and customer loyalty.

By implementing Vertical Lift Modules, warehouses are turning a new leaf regarding storage efficiency, productivity, and cost savings. These systems are helping businesses thrive in the competitive world of logistics by making their operations more innovative, agile, and better equipped to meet the demands of modern commerce. If you’re in the warehousing business, it might be time to take your operations to new heights with Vertical Lift Modules.

Interested in learning how Storage Solutions can help you integrate a VLM into your operations? Click here!