It works – but does it work well?
In a time where rapid progress is omnipresent many warehouses are still decidedly low-tech. While in the last 60 years the customer communication has moved from print to social media (by way of telephone, telex, fax, and email) warehouses around the world feature pallet trucks, forklifts, and overseers with pencil and paper forms.
Recent statistics show that 50% of all warehouses have no automated processes at all. Another 30% have automated parts of their workflow but still rely heavily on manual labor. Only 20% use a fully automated warehouse. Is it surprising that the amount of warehouse automation correlates directly with the competitive edge?
It’s all about saving money
No doubt, upgrading or even replacing an existing warehouse system is a major feat: Goods have to be moved, personal has to be trained, workflows need to be changed. And the central question is always: “Will the investment be worth it?”
While most customers regularly evaluate existing workflows few realize that the warehouse hardware itself represents one of the largest potential for cost savings.
Space is money
Warehousing is a balancing act. Assign too large a storage area and you waste valuable space. Choose a too small storage area and you may need to expand your warehouse before long which could ultimately turn out to be even more expensive. The obvious solution is a warehouse that uses the available storage space completely and can easily be expanded without making the existing system redundant.
To give a real-life example: A retailer plans to expand into a new territory. To minimize the initial investment the existing warehouse building should be used, but the capacity has already reached its limit. In addition, it is not completely certain how much growth the expansion will generate. If sales really take off, a larger warehouse might be necessary on short notice.
The perfect warehouse system optimizes the existing storage space to allow for additional products and is flexible enough to be extended on short notice without bringing the distribution workflow to a halt.
Finding and training staff for a warehouse workflow is not an issue. But is sending employees back and forth between storage and the shipping area really the smartest use of your workforce?
There are several disadvantages with warehouse processes based on manual labor: Procedures are usually slow, often costly depending on working hours and holidays, and no matter how detailed and well established the routines are, humans will make mistakes.
Out in the field picking errors usually lead to one of two consequences. Either, the wrong product is being shipped, possibly resulting in the loss of a customer. Or the error is spotted in time, forcing the staff to return a picked product to storage and finding the correct one. A process that will often lead to follow up errors.
The perfect warehouse system reduces the need for manual processes and allows personnel to work more effectively. It minimizes errors and becomes more cost effective the longer it operates.
A watt saved is a penny earned
When it comes to cost savings, small amounts quickly add up to substantial sums – especially, when thinking about the energy use of a warehouse. And there are quite a few small sums that are being wasted in storage areas on a daily basis: Lighting, heating, and not to mention the energy wasted for using a 5 ton fork lift to move 5 kilos of goods a hundred times a day.
The perfect warehouse system systematically saves small amounts of energy wherever possible, resulting in an energy efficient picking process.
All you need is AutoStore – the cost saving warehouse system
With AutoStore cost savings is a non-issue – instead, it’s part of the overall system philosophy.
You can easily slash your storage costs by extending the existing storage capacity by up to 150%. Without changing or extending the existing building structure but by utilizing AutoStore’s unique stocking system that stores all the goods without intermediate spaces. And with the ability to surround obstacles and include multiple floors almost none of the available space goes unused.
Construction times are not an issue either. In a few weeks a traditional storage area with racks and shelves can be converted into an AutoStore system, saving money from day one. And when business takes off and you need even more storage space, extension takes place without down times. Without the need to stop the system, an AutoStore upgrade pays for itself.
But the cost saving doesn’t stop with the hardware. With AutoStore Robots doing the actual warehousing, human errors are minimized and personnel can be used more efficiently. This doesn’t only cut labor costs it also increases job satisfaction to a degree where an AutoStore warehouse often becomes the most popular zone to work in.
Claiming energy efficiency is one thing, creating a fully automated warehouse system that runs on less energy than an average household appliance quite another. AutoStore does the trick by constantly regenerating energy during operation, making money every time they break or place goods. With energy grid requirements that go little beyond household standards AutoStore’s energy costs are nothing to worry about.
On average, AutoStore customers can reduce their energy costs by X%. With an average energy consumption of XW/m2 storage space it costs less than X$ per day to run AutoStore.
AutoStore cost savings in a nutshell
• Fits all existing building structures. No alterations necessary.
• Best goods/m3 ration in the industry
• Extendable during full operation
• Minimizes costly errors in the flow of goods
• Minimizes labor costs and increases labor satisfaction
• Lowest electricity consumption in the industry