Archives for May 2015

Evaluating your automated equipment maintenance options

serivice_viastore_1When trade publication Modern Materials Handling recently published the findings of their first annual maintenance study, “Reader survey: Maintaining the automated warehouse,” the results confirmed the trends we’ve been observing for a while:

  • More warehouses and distribution centers (DCs) are investing in automated material handing equipment, systems, technologies and software. Two-thirds of the respondents reported at least 25% of their facilities had some level of automation; 13.4% run operations with as much as 75% to 100% automated systems.
  • Operations are struggling to find personnel qualified to service and maintain those installations. A total of 87% report that it’s “somewhat difficult” (32%), “very difficult” (42%), or “extremely difficult” (13%) to find technicians who can maintain these complex systems.

Why? Well, as the article notes, the baby boomer generation—who have held many of these skilled positions—are retiring. New technicians are hard to find; there simply haven’t been as many people entering the skilled trades in the past couple of decades. [Read more…]

11 Considerations Before Purchasing Material Handling Equipment

When considering the purchase of an automated material handling solution it’s a given that you have to stay within your budget. Whether you are looking at conveyor, sortation, AS/RS, WMS, or a combination of all of the above, there are several factors that need to come into play beyond just who might have the lowest price.

Here are a few to consider:

1. Does the solution match your scope?

2. Did the supplier give you what you asked or, or offer an explanation of why it is different? If what you asked for is not the vendor’s recommended design/solution, it’s important that you receive a quote for the design you requested so you have a base comparison to make against other quotes.

[Read more…]

An Incremental Approach to Automation for 3PL Cold (or any type of) Storage

Last week at the IARW Conference in Orlando, viastore’s Bill Ostermeyer partnered with David Sturver, from viastore customer Americold to speak about automation and cold storage 3PLs. The presentation, ‘What level of automation makes sense for a 3PL – an incremental approach’, was well-attended, with about 125 attendees. The topic of an incrementation approach to automation isn’t just for cold storage 3PLs, but really is applicable to many companies.

[Read more…]

viastore Case Study – Phoenix Contact-How AS/RS is the ‘backbone’ of an automated material handling logistics solution

IMG_1448-2viastore implemented an automated warehouse and picking solution for Phoenix Contact, a global manufacturer of industrial electrical and electronic technology products, at the company’s US operations headquarters, based in Middletown, Pennsylvania. The viastore solution includes robotic depalletizers, a conveyor sortation system, a seven aisle mini-load automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS), and ten (10) Goods to Person pick/pack stations, all driven by a warehouse management system (WMS) that also controls a conventional warehouse. The entire automated material handling system was supplied by viastore systems.

[Read more…]