How Warehouse Operations Can Be More Efficient With Automation
By: Megan Hyman, Westfalia Technologies
The environmental impact of businesses has become a subject of concern in recent years. Automation offers a solution to the problem by minimizing the harmful externalities of businesses while also increasing their efficiency. Decreased labor use means decreased operating costs. Implementing an automated storage & retrieval system (AS/RS) paired with a warehouse execution systems (WES) allows a company to use their warehouse to its fullest potential and minimize the environmental impact by:
- Reducing land requirements
- Reducing energy consumption and costs
- Reducing waste production
- Reducing maintenance costs
- Increasing sustainability
Flexible, hybrid AS/RS designs that utilize one or more cranes in a single aisle can store products single-deep, double-deep or up to 18 loads deep in the rack structure. This design requires fewer aisles to be put in and as a result, a smaller building footprint. In fact, automated warehouses often use up to 40% less space than a conventional facility.
Operation and maintenance costs are subsequently lowered due to a smaller facility area that needs to be heated or cooled. Additionally, these machines are able to operate with fewer lights or in a completely lights-out environment. Not only is it economically beneficial to use automation, but there is also less energy used. While conventional forklifts are powered by internal combustion engines, an AS/RS operates using regenerative braking. This practice allows the storage and retrieval machine (S/RM) to store excess braking energy or transfer it to other machines, using every bit of available energy.
With automation, a firm does not have to choose between sustainability and profitability. AS/RS along with WES allows firms to be environmentally cognizant while also seeing monetary benefits. Being green by implementing automation puts businesses one step ahead of their competition.