Tag Archive for: WMS

Reliance on Data is the Key to Growing Your Business

Historically, businesses satisfied with no or slow growth used a qualitative approach to planning, evaluating, and growing their bottom lines. What worked before? What did that one person say that one time? What’s your gut feeling?

Now, as more distribution and fulfillment centers are tasked with meeting increased customer demands, including needing a more comprehensive array of products and expectations of receiving orders in two days or less, those qualitative “hunches” are leaving companies faced with ever-increasing challenges, especially around operational costs.

So, more and more of these businesses are turning to data-based solutions to make decisions and measure performance. However, they may not know where to start. That’s where we come in.

So how does data allow you to grow your business?

Locate and Eliminate Bottlenecks

The quickest place to begin dramatically increasing fulfillment throughput is identifying where your facility is experiencing suboptimal material flow. Typically, we start there in facilities that rely on too much walking – the most costly part of fulfillment. The potentially scariest misconception with the design of material flow is the thought of associating it with massive infrastructure investment. It shouldn’t be. There are solutions available – like inVia Robotics’ PickMate that can improve your team’s productivity by 10x and begin delivering a return on your investment on the first day of implementation.

But it all begins with data. The key to understanding your business needs begins with understanding your current environment, and the key to growth is using that data to make intelligent decisions about how to go about meeting your goals.

Set Benchmarks and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

The first step in starting a data-driven approach is the establishment of benchmarks. Without identifying standards, you don’t know what success is. If you haven’t begun collecting your data in all the focus areas for your business, you can start with industry benchmarks while you manage your data. Industry benchmarks can be found from trade associations, but you can also investigate magazines, articles, case studies, or even networking with colleagues. The key to begin is to do thoughtful, thorough research and don’t necessarily rely on what shows up on the first Google result.

When it comes to measuring one’s business, many have a misunderstanding between “metrics” and “KPIs.” Metrics track what is happening during certain intervals, while KPIs measure your metrics against your desired outcomes. But what are your desired results? Look at the points in the operation where you want to see growth or change. Is it time to ship? Warehouse capacity? Percentage of accurate shipments?

Again, the first place to begin building your benchmarks is by collecting the data. Once you have that data, you can establish your KPIs. You can’t get there overnight; it takes time. You need to think about where you see growth and change to begin. As you collect data, you can start developing KPIs to achieve your realistic, data-backed goals.

It’s all about making data-driven decisions, not intuition-based decisions.

Forecast Growth and Model Changes

Forecasting growth through KPIs is significant to businesses, and it is done by establishing data that can be measured both through repeatability and scalability. While you can forecast growth without scalable and repeatable data, it is likely to be inaccurate. Also, it may be more what you want versus what you can do.

You can play with these formulas, flows, and processes as you build something scalable and repeatable because you’re using accurate data. You can model changes and make more credible decisions that affect your business. Would you rather forecast growth based on what you want or based on anomalies that happened in the past? Or do you want to be 99.9% sure in making the decision? “We want to get to $10 million” is not forecasting; it is an arbitrary goal.

Challenge Current Processes & Equipment to Improve Productivity

Challenging the status quo can be difficult for managers, workers, and leaders. After all, the most common but dangerous phrase in any business is “we’ve always done it this way.” It takes a well-thought-out plan and confidence in that plan to help overcome hesitancy that is natural when change is presented.

By relying on a data-driven plan, one that is based on your business’s unique challenges, one that is well modeled based on your internal models and projections, you can have confidence that you can overcome those challenges that come with growth, labor challenges, and supply disruptions.

How Can We Help?

In speaking with our engineering group, we can help determine potential growth areas within your organization with our data-driven analysis of material flow. With even just a few pieces of data, we can get started because we can use our operational knowledge of available solutions to fill in any gaps. By increasing storage density, identifying opportunities to improve throughput dramatically, and seeking opportunities to reduce labor costs as your business grows. We can develop that roadmap with you.

We have in-house expertise on staff with real operational experience in designing optimal material flow, dynamic solutions in everything from conveyance to automation, technological solutions like warehouse execution systems and warehouse management systems (WES/WMS), and plenty more. Give us a call today or let us know what your needs are in this form, and we can talk about what steps you can take to solve the challenges around your unique needs.

Fetch Robotics Shelf

In case you missed it, we recently announced our latest partnership with Fetch Robotics. Now let’s learn how can you benefit from it. With this new collaboration comes a wide array of products and services, and we are ready to pass that along to you! Whether you face staffing issues, increased shipping volume or flexibility challenges within your operation, we will find you the right robot solution to remedy those problems.

As the leader in the Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) industry, Fetch brings numerous products to the table that can fit multiple ways in your solution. While most robotics companies specialize in a single type of robot and application, Fetch created smaller robots that can handle totes all the way up to larger robots that can move full pallets. With all varying in max capacity, we will work in collaboration with you to find the robot that works best in your solution.

Available Product Line

Fetch Robotics Products

Fetch Robotics also has their own cloud-based operating system called FetchCore. Fetch created this operating system to be as user-friendly and flexible as possible, from launch through operation. You can easily set the operation workflow for robots on the system and even pair it with your WMS software for complex solutions. However, having WMS software integration is not necessary, and therefore allows for a quick and seamless setup in any facility.

Of course, safety is of paramount importance when it comes to choosing a partner. Fetch products have received countless safety certifications. All robots are built with numerous protection features, making them extremely secure to work collaboratively with warehouse staff.

Above all, we strive to be your service partner. Therefore, we will ensure that we provide the best products and services possible for all your AMR needs.

Want to learn more? You can read more about our partner and contact us for more information here!

Fetch Robotics SSI Partnership

To round out a great 2018, we are excited to announce that Storage Solutions has completed the requirements to become a Fetch Certified Solutions Provider! This partnership will provide us with a wide variety of solutions that we feel will be able to help our customers work efficiently while saving them money.

Who Is Fetch Robotics?

Founded in 2014, Fetch Robotics is one of the leaders in robotics and innovation in the supply chain industry. Located in San Jose, CA, they benefit from the abundance of technological resources the Silicon Valley has to offer.

Fetch is the leading technology partner when it comes to Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs). With a wide variety of options, we are able to find you the robot that fits perfectly with your solution.  Together, we will work as your one-stop-shop for robotic automation from small parts to large pallets.

We are beyond excited to start working with Fetch Robotics. This partnership allows us to provide you with an even bigger solutions catalog, thus optimizing your facility to its highest point. Want to learn more about our new partner? Contact us today and we’ll give you the full breakdown on what the partnership means for you!

The Fetch team was on-site this week for a training session, so stay tuned for more details. Until then, be sure to check out the pictures below of our site visit to Fetch’s headquarters recently.

 

 

Vertical Lift Modules

Vertical Lift Machines (VLMs) are the automation solution that could bring your operation to the next level. Automation is, of course, becoming necessary in modern facilities, making VLMs the perfect solution to add to your operation.

VLMs are a “goods to man” picking solution that allows users to pick orders efficiently while optimizing space utilization within a facility. Its internal software allows this seemingly complex machine to be one of the most user-friendly tools in your warehouse.

As an extremely customizable machine, VLMs can be catered to your every need. Their location sizes can be easily adjusted “on the fly”, and their functionality takes all the guesswork out of it, maximizing pick accuracy. In addition, the extremely high pick rates and space utilization will lead to labor savings and increased revenue. With its ability to move up to 120 trays per hour, multiple machines can be grouped for maximum efficiency.

Finally, VLMs can be an integral part in decreasing your footprint in your facility. For example, in a recent project, adding VLMs to the facility decreased our customer’s footprint from 5,000 square feet to 150. That’s over a 90% increase in space for other necessary equipment.

Want to learn more about Vertical Lift Machines? Click here for more information!