What to consider to identify your specific requirements
Every warehouse manager is looking for a competitive edge. Something to help their company not only increase productivity, enhance efficiencies, and use space more effectively, but to also accurately ship products to their clients faster.
Warehouse managers understand that their clients success is directly tied to the support provided from their own company. Finding cost effective,
time- saving tactics to do this ensures a long-lasting relationship.
With so many options available, the decision to implement a new system or change the current system for your facility can seem overwhelming. Making the wrong choice can have a major financial impact on the entire organization. Though every warehouse operation is different, creating a solid baseline will help a projects success.
First, begin by identifying your needs regarding pick rate and accuracy.
Once you understand this, you’ll be better equipped to determine if it’s time to upgrade your current system, and which type of intelligent storage solution is best for you. Then determine what is the optimal pick rate your warehouse needs to obtain to see increased productivity.
How do you determine optimal pick rate?
Begin by asking yourself; how often and at what rate is picking taking place? Key metrics, such as current daily pick rate, are invaluable and can be used to calculate picks per hour based upon the number of people performing the function.
By comparing current pick rates to the typical pick rates of horizontal carousels, vertical carousels, and vertical lift modules (VLMs), you can calculate how to increase labor productivity while maintaining or improving your current pick rates. The size and pick rate of the item being picked also factors into the best fit for goods-to-person solutions.
For example, consider the storage of small nails and screws for hardware stores. Generally, nails and screws are fast-moving SKUs that are shipped to a store or directly to a customer in small quantities. Because the product is small and there is a high pick velocity, a goods-to-person system would be very beneficial.
However, before looking at storage solutions, keep in mind pick rates don’t tell the whole story.
If pick rates rise but accuracy falls, the storage system is not optimizing performance; it is impeding it. Your goal is to implement an intelligent storage system that can increase pick rates while simultaneously improving accuracy. You can achieve those results by employing an intelligent goods-to-person approach that focuses on:
INCREASING ORDER ACCURACY
Order accuracy tends to increase, often substantially, because the choices for the operator are narrowed in a goods-to-person configuration. Physical movement and travel time for the operator is minimized.
With a goods-to-person system, the confirmation process is two-fold: the item is selected electronically through the automation of the system, and then the operator can confirm what items were picked and when they were picked. Items can also be tracked as the operator can document when and if they are selected.
Moreover, from an ergonomics standpoint, an intelligent goods-to-person solution is designed to maximize human performance, productivity,and safety.
For example, if large, heavy items are stored in a VLM, the tray containing the goods can be presented in an external access opening that is met by a mechanized lift for storage/retrieval providing assistance for the operator.
In addition, an access opening in a VLM or carousel can limit the need for an operator straining to reach above their head, risking a fall by climbing a ladder, or performing excessive kneeling or bending.
The Top Three Reasons to Change Storage Systems
While every facility is unique, we have found that most facility managers have the same goals in mind when considering new intelligent storage systems.
The top three reasons companies change storage systems are:
- To optimize the footprint of the building.
Storing items more efficiently makes the most of existing space.
- To improve pick rates without increasing staffing.
The right solution enhances the performance of the current workforce.
- To improve the customer experience.
Increasing pick rate and accuracy means customers get their orders fulfilled faster and with fewer errors.
In the majority of cases, facility managers who explore the universe of intelligent storage know they want to improve the operation of their facility. What they may not know is how best to make those improvements and that the ideal system can be customized for their needs.
That’s where professional advice adds value.