Achieving a Competitve Advantage with a Green Warehouse
"Going green" in the warehouse can have many benefits. Companies today recognize that implementing environmentally friendly, or "green," policies can result in cost savings that will directly impact their bottom line and enhance the business' brand reputation. According to Dan Labell, president, Westfalia Technologies, Inc., one key business area that companies can go green is their warehouse and distribution center. By optimizing warehouse operations, warehouses and distribution centers can minimize land usage, lower energy costs and reduce waste production.
Minimizing Land Usage
A conventional warehouse typically requires a considerable building footprint to accomodate inventory. As the business grows, additional construction and land usage may be required, which can be a costly undertaking. However, by installing a high-density automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS), companies can store more products in a smaller space and minimize building requirements.
Lower Energy Costs
In a manual warehouse, lighting requirements and climate-controlled spaces can lead to higher energy costs. In contrast, automated warehouses require less energy to function. "With fewer aisles that are automated, no lighting is required except for maintenance and viewing. Cameras with LED lighting are able to provide visual connections to operators, if desired," says Labell.
Reduce Waste Production
In conventional warehouses outfitted with forklifts, waste can derive from re-packaging and product loss due to damage and mishandling, but an automated warehouse eliminates the need for most fork trucks, which reduces the liklihood of product damage and loss. An AS/RS can retrieve and transport pallets safely and smoothly across the system through the use of S/RMs and conveyors, prompting less plastic stretch wrap consumption as securing the pallet is less of a concern.
Through warehouse automation technologies like AS/RS, companies can uncover new cost savings and position themselves as market leaders in sustainability. Establishing an industry reputation for being environmentally conscious will allow a company to differentiate themselves among their competition and strengthen consumer loyalty.