Today business enterprises in every branch of industry are under great pressure and must maintain their competitive edge. This means that business processes must be fast, efficient and economical. Manual processes are being replaced by automated solutions that deliver more security, precision and quality. This is also true when it comes to transporting materials: More and more automated storage systems are being installed to gain competitive advantages and to cut costs.
The term automated storage system refers to a machine-based solution in which the put and pick operations in a warehouse environment run automatically. The processes are regulated by logistics software programs, and the automated storage operations are carried out via so-called storage transport technologies – i.e., mechanized solutions and machines – which receive various operative commands from the software.
Advantages of automated storage systems
Automated storage has a number of advantages when compared with classic storage solutions. The installation and simple operation of vertical storage solutions optimally utilizes the available floor space. The efficiency of the storage warehouse is boosted considerably. Operating a vertical storage system via software and a stacker unit ensures fast stocking of shelves, as well as rapid retrieval of goods, products and materials. This considerably reduces the time needed for material transport. The automated storage solution can also be utilized as an extremely efficient order picking machine as well.
Automated storage systems are ideal for integration in manufacturing and sales processes, and the systems can be optimally tuned to address specific business requirements. Automated systems increase reliability and efficiency while also reducing costs and floor space requirements. Logistics processes are rationalized – and that leads to optimal ROI. A business can be run around the clock with fully automated storage. Fewer employees are required, and shift work can be reduced. At the same time, automated storage boosts the employee productivity, without having to expand the workforce with additional personnel.
Automated storage systems also ensure optimal inventory control: The location and status of goods can be fully tracked along the entire supply chain. Order picking processes and deliveries to customers are more accurate, and additional costs arising from returned shipments are reduced. Materials handling with automated systems is always conducted according to the same proven procedures – and this reduces damages to the goods. This is turn means that fewer shipments are returned.
It goes without saying that an automated storage system also improves workplace safety: Since all put and pick operations are fully automated, there is little or no risk of accident when handling goods and materials.