Automated Storage and Retrieval (ASRS)

Shuttles are a part of an ASRS (automated storage and retrieval system). A shuttle delivers stored inventory to users for either manufacturing or order fulfillment. All storage shuttles work in combination with a racking system that enables high-density storage. Warehouse management software directs the shuttle to which storage location and the shuttle retrieves the inventory stored either in a container, tote, carton, tray, or pallet and delivers it to a goods to person (G2P) system for packing or assembly.

What is an automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS)?

Automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) consists of a large number of computer and robot-controlled systems for the automatic placement and retrieval of articles at defined storage locations. The system usually consists of predefined locations where machines can follow set routes to obtain items. In an automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS), there are various ways to provide the storage and retrieval of goods. These applications are typically used in businesses that need to move product quickly either for just-in-time manufacturing or order fulfillment. Most automated systems utilize various options for depending on the item(s) that are being stored. The benefits of implementing an ASRS solution allows for much faster throughput, but also accurate order fulfillment, which is crucial for e-commerce or critical healthcare applications. Furthermore, ASRS system allows organizations to optimize storage space and reduce warehouse labor, which is difficult to find in certain areas. And since there is less handling of products, ASRS solutions are much more secure and have less product damage due to fewer touches.

Various Shuttles and Specific Applications

Since there are various equipment options for an ASRS solution, an SSI SCHAEFER expert can help you navigate which solution may be right for your application. For example, a large volume of smaller units that are being shipped individually have a completely different need than a smaller volume of cases being stored separately or combined and shipped on a pallet.  Depending on one’s need, SSI SCHAEFER has an array of both storage and retrieval options for individual units, cases, or pallet storage. There may be other criteria to take into consideration as well depending on the specific application such as:

  • Omnichannel fulfillment

  • High value goods

  • Prescription medicine or narcotics

  • Freezer or Cold storage

  • Kitting

  • JIT Manufacturing

  • Food retail

Most ASRS warehouse solutions utilize storage shuttles. These robotic retrieval systems work by retrieving items within the storage unit itself. Storage shuttles can be single level, multi-level, or roaming. There are also other options such as vertical lift modules, carousels, and heavy unit load solutions that utilize pallet solutions. 

Which storage method considers the purchase price?

There are two methods that take the purchase price into account: Highest In First Out (HIFO) and Lowest In First Out (LOFO). With the HIFO method, the products with the highest purchase price are moved out first. This method is relatively complex, as many inventory movements are required to remove the most expensive products from stock. The method is used by companies that use or store expensive raw materials. 
With the LOFO method, the products with the lowest purchase price are taken out of stock first. Just like the HIFO method, this method is very time-consuming and ties up a lot of capital, as the expensive products remain in the warehouse. The advantage is that the consumption costs of the finished goods are relatively low in relation to the stored products.

What is storage technology?

Warehouse technology is an essential component of internal company logistics. It is the ideal storage and transport of goods in a company to optimize the supply chain as well as processes, reduce costs, increase productivity, and make optimal use of space. A structured, well thought-out storage system facilitates the day-to-day operations of all warehouse employees and is necessary to work efficiently in terms of economy and costs.

In addition to the economic advantages, one of the main focuses of warehouse technology is the safe and environmentally compatible storage of hazardous materials. Special components such as fire protection containers and drum filling stations are used to store in compliance with regulations relating to environmental protection and occupational safety.

Several different storage options are available, depending on the product and requirements. This depends on how large and heavy the goods are, whether they need to be stored in containers, what the temperature should be and how and how often they are accessed. For the smooth running of the business, it is worth investing time in the design of the storage system to optimize the productivity and success of the company in the long term.

What are the tasks of the intralogistics software in the storage of goods?

Which goods are in which storage location and zone and how they get there depends on the selected allocation and movement strategy. And regardless of whether the warehouse is manual, semi-automated or fully automated, it is important to use warehouse software to optimize the use of resources, i.e. to achieve maximum efficiency in the storage, transfer and retrieval processes.

With the data recorded in the software solution of a Warehouse Management System (WMS), one keeps track of clients, stocks, batches and storage locations. All information is available at the push of a button. The WMS is the central control, monitoring and optimization instance in complex warehouse and distribution systems. This also includes the control of system statuses in the warehouse and the provision of comprehensive reporting and KPIs.

In order to be able to fully exploit the advantages of an automated solution in the warehouse - for example in terms of speed, dynamics and safety - automated warehouse and conveyor technology equipment is also mapped in the software. The so-called material flow system (MFS) synchronizes and harmonizes the flow of information and goods, taking into account your warehouse strategy.