July 02 2013

ASRS for freezers

By: Staci Cretu, M.S.
Marketing and Communications Manager

When it comes to AS/RS for freezer applications, there are many questions and considerations you might ask yourself. Is it right for my company? How will I benefit? Can I justify the cost? There are things you need to know in order to answer these questions.

AS/RS—or Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems— are chosen for a number of reasons: they can deliver operating efficiencies, provide more storage while requiring less energy, and provide increased accuracy. AS/RS’s are computer-controlled methods for storing and retrieving pallets, and are most beneficial with multi shift operations handing over 40 unit loads per hour.

To determine whether they are right for you, ask and answer these questions:

1) How much inventory must you be able to store during peak inventory season?
2) How many items (including all variations of product size, type, etc.) does this consist of?
3) How many SKU’s make up approximately 80% of your annual sales volume?
4) How many unit loads enter and exit your warehousing operation each hour during peak production/shipping periods?
5) How many hours/shifts is your operation active?

By thoroughly analyzing the data associated with these answers, it can be determined if an AS/RS is right for you, and specifically, to what level. Most operations that store frozen products are good candidates for these automated high-density storage solutions.

Finally, once you are aware of your candidacy and understand the benefits, you need to justify the system cost. You do this by comparing a “conventional” alternative to the “automated” option. With an AS/RS, your slab build-out area will go down, which may result in enabling the use of existing land not thought possible before. If picking, workers will be more productive, as the difficult conditions of working in freezers require the need for regular breaks; this can be reduced and possibly eliminated if using “goods to man” picking methods. Finally, as inventory control will be completely accurate, any losses associated with inconsistent inventory control are eliminated. The benefits of an AS/RS improve the older the system gets, as inflation and business volume generally increase, making justification calculations more attractive.

Check our our white paper on freezer applications or contact us if you have any addditional questions.