It is proven that automated storage and order picking systems both improve storage and operating processes in Distribution Centres, while also delivering substantial savings.
You can see the benefits from the moment goods arrive in your automated facility for storage. Stocks are stored efficiently, utilizing all available space in your warehouse: maximised headroom and minimised aisle widths, as well as systems that optimise available shelf space. Also, there is a smaller chance of human error and damages caused by mishandling.
Managing stored goods is also made easier. With the increasing emphasis on occupational health and safety, as well as a prevalence of an ageing workforce, it is more important to make working conditions safe and comfortable. The need to manually lift goods, as well as the need to walk to particular areas of the DC, is eliminated, cutting down on injuries and lost time that could have been used to fulfill orders.
Automated storage systems also provide a degree of flexibility not seen in manual systems. It can fulfill both small and large orders with one streamlined process, eliminating the need for multiple systems to cope with multiple products. Also, alongside its ability to handle a higher capacity of goods on a smaller space, automated systems help extend the life of your existing facility, and can delay the need to extend your facility or move to a new one altogether.
When the need to deploy goods arises, automated picking systems also offer a greater degree of flexibility, giving you the ability to fulfill different order specifications with the same consistency and quality. Response times also improve, leading to faster order fulfillment.
Implementing automated storage and picking systems require a higher amount of investment. Maintenance costs are also higher: preventive maintenance, breakdown support and spare part purchase can run up to 10% of your initial investment annually. However, the savings incurred in the long run may justify these expenses.
Bigger savings in the long run
For one, labour expenses are reduced significantly: the systems’ flexibility and ease of use impact on costs that you may incur in recruiting and training personnel. You can also retain staff for longer periods, with increased productivity and a smaller chance of injury. This works best in situations where there is either a scarcity of labour, or a high turnover of staff.
The smaller operating footprint of automated systems – and the extended life span that it provides to your existing facility – can defer the need to expand your building or move to a new one altogether. When the need to increase capacity to cope with higher demand, you can just add new storage equipment and systems, increasing savings and productivity that could be lost when you choose to move to a new facility instead.
The efficiencies and savings that automated systems provide will ultimately lead to higher customer satisfaction, and finally, increased sales.