Three Ways Automated Pallet Storage Solves Throughput Issues in Frozen Product Storage Areas

2014_viastore_Case Study_Myronivsky Hliboproduct_Picture_3aWith the global frozen food market predicted to grow to $307.3 billion (U.S. dollars) by 2020, warehouses currently using manual processes in their frozen product storage areas might consider material handling automation. That’s because automated pallet storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) can improve throughput of slow- to medium-moving frozen products by enhancing handling practices in three ways. [Read more…]

High-Density Storage: Automated Warehouse Systems Deliver Flexibility, Savings

When it comes to maximizing the amount of inventory held within the four walls of a facility, more companies are turning to high-density storage supported by an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS). Whether handling unit loads that require automated pallet storage, or cases, or eaches held in totes and moved by a mini-load AS/RS, high-density storage solutions offer a variety of warehouse optimization advantages over conventional rack. These include load handling flexibility, less product damage, storage of more inventory in a compressed footprint, lower energy and labor costs, and construction and tax savings. [Read more…]

Automated Pallet Storage Offers Range of Operational Benefits

With all the trade media coverage of goods-to-person, shuttle-based case handling systems in e-commerce and parcel shipping order fulfillment applications recently, you might think that automated pallet storage with a unit load automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) is no longer a popular solution. That’s not the case with viastore’s customers, however. [Read more…]

The Role of Automation in the Roadmap for Material Handling and Logistics

roadmapIn the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics, a report compiling what more than 100 industry thought leaders had to say about the future of material handling and logistics between now and 2025, several topics were discussed. Among them,10 major trends in the economy, technology and society that will shape the future of the industry were outlined. They include:

  • The growth of e-commerce
  • Relentless competition
  • Mass personalization
  • Urbanization
  • Mobile and wearable computing
  • Robotics and automation
  • Sensors and the Internet of Things
  • Big Data and predictive analytics
  • The changing workforce
  • Sustainability

[Read more…]

What Warehouse Execution Can Do for Your Supply Chain

Over the years, as new software tools came out that would automate your distribution environment, each touted that they would optimize their respective space. The problem is that while the solution DID optimize it’s ‘world’ (i.e. the warehouse operation), it would sub-optimize the areas that worked with the warehouse (i.e. transportation or TMS). Each of these solutions created ‘islands’ of automation throughout a company’s supply chain.

Another issue for these disparate systems is that they operated on a batch mentality, meaning that orders and work were planned in advance, and then the work was done. If something changed during the course of the work, the plan (the batch) was not adjusted for re-optimization of work.

In today’s new world of Omni-Channel distribution, this can’t continue. The solution for true overall facility optimization, is the Warehouse Execution System (WES).

[Read more…]

The Value of Being an Integration Partner

When you’re shopping for an investment, you’re shopping for value. Paying for what you might perceive to be a ‘middleman’ is not something you want to do. That’s why the concept of viastore being an Integration Partner (IP) for a company like Hytrol can come across as confusing…until you know all the details.

viastore supplies automation solutions that often include product that we don’t manufacture. When it comes to the conveyor portion of a solution, depending on the requirements, size and scope of the solution, we might utilize a combination of our equipment and also conveyor solutions from our partner Hytrol.

[Read more…]

Just How Old is Old? What the age of your Material Handling Automation Means

oldJust what does ‘Old’ mean?

As a recent post from Tompkins International said, “Many material handling systems used today are beginning to show their age. What were once considered brand new systems are now deteriorating and fighting to stay current.”

Unlike a favorite saying of mine that ‘you can’t help but grow old, but you can always be immature’, an aging automation system can cause problems for your operation. When downtime becomes a matter of not ‘if’, but ‘when’, an older automated system can easily become the weak link in your supply chain.

There are some tell-tale signs that you should modernize your automated system.

Just how old is YOUR system? [Read more…]

New Research on Who Should Design, Implement Your Next Material Handling System

When it comes to the design and implementation of a material handling system, the warehouse and distribution center (DC) operators have four primary choices:

  • In-house engineering
  • System original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
  • Consulting firm
  • Third-party systems integrator

This past spring, Modern Materials Handling partnered with viastore systems to delve deeper into how organizations evaluate and select material handling system providers and solutions. Among other areas of investigation, the final report—“Material Handling System Choices: Priorities, Approaches and Selection Processes of Decision-Makers” —takes an extensive look at the system design and implementation decisions made by respondents’ organizations. [Read more…]

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…]

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…]