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Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS)

Could ASRS speed up your services and fulfillment times? Read on to learn more about this exciting technology and five ways it could benefit your business.

E-commerce in the USA increased by $52 billion in the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is a good problem to have, the rush to purchase goods online has put a strain on supply chains as retailers and manufacturers look to meet the demands of customers wanting to maintain social distancing when shopping.

1. Lower Labor Requirements

One of the greatest advantages of implementing an ASRS is its impact on your staffing levels. The last 10 years have brought evolutionary changes in the warehousing and storage industries with AI and other types of automation adjusting labor needs. ASRS technology brings the item to the picker. This saves the worker hours of time each week and could even mean that one worker could handle the work of multiple workers.

In a conventional system, a worker will receive the order for the item they are to pick, locate it on a map, walk or drive to the location, search for the item amongst thousands, and then collect it and return it to the shipping department for fulfillment. Using an ASRS, the worker simply walks to a kiosk, enters the item code, and waits while an automated system brings it to them. This saves time, energy and reduces the number of workers needed in a storage location.

Since the cost of labor is high, this change alone will reduce your overhead. Why not consider how much money you can save in the long term by switching over to an ASRS?

2. Increased Storage and Retrieval Accuracy

Tiredness, stress, and pressure from a large workload are just some of the elements that contribute to human error. If you currently have employees picking items manually, there is a substantial opportunity for mistakes to creep into orders. ASRS picking technology is not subject to the same limitations. Whether handling order picking or replacing spare parts or warehousing stock, it operates according to a predefined process.

An ASRS works from an organized database that indicates where each item is located using barcodes. It will even check inventory to confirm that the item is in stock before starting the picking process. Allowing an ASRS to handle picking work increases the accuracy or picking up to 99 percent in most warehouse facilities.

3. Optimized Warehouse Capacity

Efficient warehouse layout is one of the most debated subjects in the industry. Warehouse managers are constantly looking for ways to adjust their layout so that they can make the best use of available space in warehouses. ASRS technology can provide far more efficient use of space than conventional systems. It can also provide increased protection for inventory stock.

Under a regular warehouse layout, you can only store items at a level that workers can reach them. They will either use standard forklift trucks or high-level loaders to do this. However, the higher you go the more equipment you need to purchase to reach it. This is not the case with an ASRS. Since the picking arms are robotic, you can stack inventory as high as the ceiling of your facility and the arms will still reach. Furthermore, you can design the organization of the racking with a CAD system and then allow your ASRS to populate the racking with stock. This allows for very dense and efficient packing systems.

The ASRS system incorporates a portrait-oriented, high-level racking system using much less floor space than traditional methods. The only question is what will you do with all the extra space?

4. Increased Order Picking Efficiency

ASRS technology will often lead to a doubling or tripling inefficiency of order picking because of the smart-picking methodology it employs.

ASRS technology employs batch picking with integrated inventory management software that combines orders with many of the same items., Should you receive 10 orders that contain a specific model of a computer monitor, the picking technology will not travel to the location of the monitor 10 times. Rather, it will intelligently combine the order and collect 10 of those monitors in one pick. Then information related to the combined order will be relayed to the human operators who will expect 10 of this item and sort it accordingly. This results in 10 orders prepared in the time of just one.

This efficiency is repeated systematically, thus increasing the effectiveness of the pick and the number of goods that can be distributed each day.

5. Health and Safety

Since the items are delivered directly to the human operator, the physical exertion expected from the operators is greatly reduced. Shorter retrieval walking distances and safer automated methods reduce the risk of injury, and therefore, the cost of insurance also falls considerably.

There are many types of Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems available, and we can provide an effective training program that will fully prepare your employees to use your new system.    

6. Competitive Advantage

If you are still wondering whether an ASRS is for you, consider why customers would want to work with a company that uses ASRS:

  • Faster order fulfillment
  • Real-time access to inventory levels
  • Larger storage capacity
  • Lower human error rates than traditional storage facilities

This not only increases the statistical effectiveness of your company but also your reputation for meeting customer expectations.

An Automated Storage and Retrieval System Will Pay for Itself

The last decade has brought game-changing technologies to the warehousing industry. AI, robotics, and ASRS have created opportunities for a highly efficient warehouse. This in turn supports a cheaper and faster international supply chain.

Do you now see how automated storage and retrieval systems could help your business?

If you would like to learn more about this technology, why not contact us for more information? We leverage our years of experience in supply chain-related industries to provide premium services. If you are looking for innovative storage solutions, find out what we can do to help.

Tags: Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems, Blog, Industrial Storage, Order picking, Warehouse

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