May 26 2016

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Automated Technology Misconceptions

By: Olivia Mitchell, Marketing Coordinator

When it comes to automation, there tends to be many misconceptions causing hesitation in making the next steps to optimizing your warehouse. Don’t let these misconceptions shy you away from automation technology. Take a look at the following misconceptions and gain confidence in the cost savings and unique flexibility of an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS).

  1. AS/RS Cost: Everything has a cost, some larger than others, but this is a huge reason many companies turn away from automation. They have a fear that they will not be able to see a ROI, when in fact this is not true. While ROI may not be instant since an AS/RS has a 25+ year life cycle, ROI is often achieved in 3-5 years. In those 25 years, savings will be seen from reduced labor, damaged product and maintenance costs. Also, you will see an increase in productivity and accuracy, which will keep your customers happy and coming back for more.
  2. AS/RS Flexibility: Should we build a new facility, consolidate multiple facilities into one, or utilize what we currently have? These are questions often asked and tend to steer companies away from committing to automation. The things is, no matter which option is chosen, an AS/RS can be custom designed to fit any facility. The systems are very versatile, scaling as high as 130 feet or as low as 20 feet.
  3. A specific number of SKUs or pallets are needed: As stated above, an AS/RS can be customized for a plethora of scenarios and fit into any size facility no matter the number of SKUs or pallets. A facility with 3,000-6,000 pallets as well as a facility with 200,000+ pallets can be optimized with an AS/RS.

Now that we have the misconceptions out of the way and you are confident in the power of automation, you will want to perform a deep dive into your data. Take a look at your inventory to see how much you want to store and how many SKUs there will be. You will also want to look at your operations as a whole, including how many hours or shifts your warehouse is operational. All of this data will help in the design of your automated warehouse and play a large role in building your customized AS/RS. Get more details on what to analyze within your specific facility and learn about the tools that are available to help from our recent blog titled “Don’t let your inventory take over. Get more space.