Questions to Measure Your Warehouse Automation Requirements
Automation is an innovative solution for growing companies that are taking on more SKUs, but how many SKUs do you need to have for automation to be a valuable solution? Westfalia’s Aaron Corcoran, account executive, wrote an article published by EBN explaining how automation can fit any unique situation no matter the number of SKUs.
Corcoran explains that you first need to find your “80/20”; meaning that, for the most part, 80% of warehouse volume is based on 20% of SKUs. Knowing your 80/20 will help to determine the SKUs that are generating most of your company’s profits and taking up the most space in your warehouse.
Once that is determined, Corcoran explains how the following steps will help you ask questions and review analytics to assist you in determining what it will take to implement an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS):
- Analyze your data through a series of questions. Questions like: how has your business changed? how much inventory must be stored? or how many shifts is the operation active? will help give you insight into how automation can fix problems you currently have and how it can help you grow in the future.
- Determine the design and configuration of your AS/RS. By reviewing your facility capacity and capability, you can compare the differences between a conventional facility and an automated facility.
- Draw a plant layout. This will visually give you an idea of what the facility will look like and oftentimes it helps to partner with an AS/RS supplier for this step.
If you take the time to analyze your facility’s data, you will be able to determine when and how an AS/RS can be implemented to improve your operations.
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