The holiday shopping season has officially arrived, and results from Cyber Monday show that online shoppers are busier than ever. Nearly $6.6 billion was spent on the Monday following Thanksgiving, a day known for online shopping deals and discounts, according to CNBC.
While this is great news for businesses’ bottom lines, it also marks the beginning of hectic times inside company warehouses, as pickers work to locate, gather and package myriad orders. Time is of the essence, but so is accuracy, efficiency and safety. To ensure this holiday shopping season runs smoothly, facility managers must invest in equipment and material handling systems that not only work but operate as intended and lend to a more efficient workplace.
One way more facility managers are improving efficiency in their warehouses is by integrating automated storage and retrieval systems. These provide clean and highly organized yet densely packed shelving units that allow employees to quickly identify the location of specific items. The advantage of automated storage and retrieval systems is to clear up floor space while making the pickers’ jobs easier.
Automated storage and retrieval systems market picks up
These convenient systems have impressed many facility managers. The global market for automated storage and retrieval systems is expected to increase over the next eight years, according to a press release from Reportlinker.
Automated storage and retrieval systems reduce labor time by locating an item and delivering it to a manual outfeed, a conveyor system or an ergonomic operator station, according to material handling, logistics and supply chain association MHI. This not only reduces the time it takes to obtain all the necessary items to put together for an order, but it also makes the process safer.
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Companies find these to be worthwhile investments for several reasons. Since the software is doing the locating and robotics is doing the picking, accuracy is increased to nearly 100 percent. Additionally, labor required within the warehouse is reduced by as much as 66 percent. Further, valuable floor space is freed up; warehouses that utilize automated storage and retrieval systems require as much as 85 percent less space than those that don’t.
Employees at companies that have invested in these systems experience a safer work environment due to reduced need to lift, twist or bend their bodies while lifting heavy items.
Some warehouses are more suited to benefit from automated storage and retrieval systems than others, Inc. pointed out. Warehouses that have tall ceilings, are located in high-cost areas, have critical inventory levels or a low number of SKUs may find these systems particularly helpful.
Additionally, Inc. explained that warehouses that have a skilled technician on call are uniquely well-suited to integrate an automated storage and retrieval system into their operations. This is because if something goes wrong, the technician can step in to solve the problem with little downtime. However, even those companies that don’t have a technician on their payrolls can reap the benefits of these highly efficient systems when they have a partner they can call in an emergency. For example, Miner’s expert technicians can be called for emergency maintenance through the XPress same-day maintenance service.
Installing an automated storage and retrieval system
While these systems benefit the company in many ways, they’re complex systems and need to be installed, inspected and repaired by a knowledgeable professional with experience working with them. Between the shelves, motors, conveyors, wiring, sensors and more, it’s important to install automated storage and retrieval systems correctly the first time so there’s no need to go back and correct an error.
Additionally, because they are intricate systems with many moving parts, it’s critical that they are inspected regularly and repaired when a specific part begins to act improperly or wear down. Efficiency at all points in the system is important to overall operability. Regular inspections can help facility managers identify when areas of the system begin to wear out so they can be repaired as soon as possible to ensure an efficient and safe work environment.
Aging equipment can be a frustrating obstacle to deal with, but when the aging components are a part of a much larger integrated system, it’s important to handle any issues quickly and correctly. That’s where a partner like Miner comes in; we can not only assist with installation and regular inspections, but we can also be counted on when an issue comes up that requires the repair or replacement of a critical component.
Contact Miner to learn more about how our professionals can assist in the integration or updating of your automated storage and retrieval system.