2016 viastore Material Handling Survey – See How You Stack Up

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Click on the image to check out the results from the 2015 survey.

As a provider of material handling systems, viastore is compiling annual information on the key issues facing industry executives today.

We value your opinion and hope you’ll take just a few minutes to participate in this annual survey. [Read more…]

158% of MODEX Attendees Looking for viastore-Provided Automated Solutions

modex stas and viastore

Folks who work in manufacturing, logistics and distribution will be flocking to MODEX 2016—April 4-7, 2016 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta—and not just because it’s “the greatest supply chain show on earth.” Rather, they’re looking specifically for the latest operations ideas and equipment to help solve their toughest material handling challenges and learn from others’ best practices to boost their own competitive edge. [Read more…]

It’s Not the Size of Your Warehouse Automation That Delivers ROI—It’s the Functionality

In a previous post, we talked about how applying a localized, incremental warehouse automation solution can resolve a specific bottleneck within an operation for better productivity with a low to moderate level of investment. The point of that post (and this one) is that a material handling automation installation doesn’t always have to be an enormous undertaking—in both size and budget—in order to deliver a solid return on investment (ROI). Rather, it’s the functionality and flexibility of the installed equipment that can deliver the biggest impact when automating your warehouse. [Read more…]

New Automated Warehouse Helps Santa Keep Christmas Promises

'The North Pole'

viastore, a leading material handling automation systems and software company, announced that it has completed the installation of an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS), at a super-secret location inside Santa Claus’ Village at the North Pole. Santa Claus is the world’s largest international distributor of Christmas gifts to children of all ages, delivering an estimated 1,829,256,297 presents annually during a 24-hour period on the night of December 24. [Read more…]

Nine Reasons Manufacturers Should Invest in (or Change) a WMS/WCS, Part 2

Warehouse_Management_System_viadat_b1_NRIn a previous post, we discussed why technology limitations and/or strategic initiatives might prompt a manufacturing operation to consider investing in a new warehouse management system (WMS) and warehouse control system (WCS) to track and control inventory and its movement. This second post covers the types of manufacturing process optimization objectives that can be met by an investment in a new or upgraded warehouse execution system (WES) that combines WMS/WCS functionality. [Read more…]

Three Benefits of Warehouse Automation Duplication for Multi-Site Operations

Although it’s not often that “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to implementing warehouse automation in different facilities, installing the same brand and configuration of material handling automation equipment can deliver benefits to multi-site operations.

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Phoenix Contact’s Indianapolis distribution facility was automated by an AS/RS and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) from viastore.

Take manufacturer Phoenix Contact—a maker of industrial electrical and electronic technology products that power, protect, connect and automate systems and equipment—for example. As a global entity, the company has three regional supply chain hubs located in Germany, China and the U.S. When it came time to better support business growth in both North and South America, the company decided to automate its Middletown, Pennsylvania manufacturing and distribution facility and chose to mirror its automation installation already in place in Blomberg, Germany. [Read more…]

Three Ways Automated Tote Storage Systems Solve Throughput Challenges

viastore mini-load AS/RS tote storageIdeal for handling high volumes, automated tote storage systems—such as a high-density mini-load automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS)—maximize the amount of broken case (or eaches) storage in a given facility footprint. This type of material handling automation holds individual stock keeping units (SKUs) in dimensionally consistent plastic totes or trays; alternately, with the right load handling device, a mini-load system can handle cardboard cases of products. [Read more…]

Steps into Goods-to-Person Order Picking Systems

Picture1In the typical conventional warehouse, only about 40% of each order picker’s time is spent actually picking products to fill orders; the other 60% is taken up with walking to, between and from picks. That means these same associates are only engaged in revenue-generating activity about 40% of the time. That’s one reason more companies are taking a closer look at goods-to-person (also sometimes called goods-to-man) order fulfillment solutions.

As a basic rule-of-thumb, the ideal application for automating your warehouse with a goods-to-person system is one with a high number of SKUs and an increase in demand for just-in-time ordering—such as e-commerce. As with all automation implementations, there is a range of complexity levels associated with different goods-to-person technology installations. These levels, or steps, are built upon scalable warehouse automation technologies, allowing each to be integrated into an operation progressively, as a business—and its order fulfillment needs—grows. [Read more…]

Back to the Future Day…for Automation

BttFHappy Back to the Future Day. If you don’t know what this means, is was on this day 30 years ago in the ‘Back to the Future’ movie trilogy, where Marty and Doc Brown traveled 30 years into the future to…today. While they saw what the future looked like around Hill Valley, they didn’t happen to visit a distribution center. [Read more…]

Dynamic Slotting, Automated Replenishment of Pick Modules Boost Throughput

Warning_signWarning: This is not your standard article on slotting.

Sure, when you hear “slotting,” you might think “torture.” Even Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling magazine, likens slotting to an unkept New Year’s resolution in this article, saying: “It’s a great idea on paper, but few warehouse managers actually follow through on that resolution in a disciplined way.” That’s because conventional slotting can be time- and labor-intensive, as well as tedious.

Simplified, conventional warehouse slotting in a manual operation involves an analysis of stock picking unit (SKU) data, usually from the past 12 months, to determine where inventory should be stored in the facility. SKUs are ranked based on their pick frequency (velocity), quantity, sizes, weights, and family relationships (toothpaste and toothbrushes are frequently ordered together, for example).

[Read more…]