Still not convinced that an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) is right for your company? Here are Top 10 reasons why AS/RS are a must-have solution.
1. Increased efficiencies and profitability. AS/RS increase efficiencies and profitability because they save on floor space, reduce labor, eliminate damage, improve ergonomic conditions and produce higher throughput levels, according to Ed Romaine, CMO, vice president of marketing for Integrated Systems Design, Wixom, Mich. “Automated storage and retrieval systems allow you to handle pallet, case and split case incredibly efficiently, whether you are picking, queuing, sorting or sequencing,” he adds.
2. Just in time. “SKUs are buffered and sequenced perfectly to fit truck routes/shipping without human intervention and chaos usually associated with this,” Romaine says.
3. Greater capacity and throughput. AS/RS allows for greater capacity and throughput of existing facilities, Romaine adds, which organizations can use to increase product lines (SKUs), shut down unnecessary or non-profitable facilities and handle additional orders/sales.
4. Added flexibility. AS/RS are becoming more flexible, says Sean O’Farrell, market development director for DEMATIC Corp., Grand Rapids, Mich., providing additional putaway, storage, replenishment, VAS, transportation, security of valuable items and order consolidation.
5. Reduced forklift travel and handling. Today’s AS/RS “reduce forklift travel distance and handling with quick induction of received pallets into a unit load AS/RS,” O’Farrell says.
6. Creating a fully automated order fulfillment system. Advanced AS/RS make it a key component in creating a fully automated order fulfillment system because they increase throughput while shortening order cycle time, create a shorter return on investment, even as labor rates increase, increase product quality while reducing non-value-added touches and increase storage capacity and density in warehouse/distribution centers, according to O’Farrell.
7. Tighter product control and safety. “Technology is great, but it needs to be uniquely applied to advance the customer’s business operations in order for users to get the most out of the solution,” says Sam Hostvedt, vice president, sales and marketing for Sapient Automation, Hatfield, Pa.
8. Higher quality control standards. “Today’s modern warehousing systems are required to process increasingly complex tasks and provide reliability and flexibility for future needs,” says Dan Labell, president of Westfalia Technologies Inc., York, Pa. “Automated storage and retrieval systems present a unique opportunity to [increase quality and triple storage capacity].”
9. Fill large order volumes. System Logistics Corp., Lewiston, Maine, says that the ideal solution for food and beverage customers is automate their picking processes to handle large order volumes, for example, up to 1,000 SKUs, with 3-4 SKUs per multi-code pallet.
10. Produce “store-ready” orders. Grocery retailers are asking food manufacturers for “store-ready” orders, says O’Farrell. “Cold food processors want the ability to pick orders quickly and accurately while keeping product quality up and costs down,” he adds. “Companies are looking for ways to best utilize their automation assets. Besides automated put-away/storage of received pallets and replenishment to a pick face, a unit load AS/RS can stage outbound order pallets for added functionality. The unit load AS/RS becomes a sort of ‘use-point manager’ while freeing up dock space for other activities like value-added services. Cold food processors are looking to maximize the density and energy expenditures of their facilities. AS/RS technologies provide the most efficient means of accomplishing both of these requirements.”
To read more about AS/RS trends and technologies, stay tuned for Refrigerated & Frozen Foods’ March 2014 issue.