6 Principles of an Effective Spare Parts Stocking Program

service_MG_4965After you’ve invested in an automated material handling solution—whether that includes conveyor, automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), or a combination of the two—you’re only 1/2 way there. Implementing a solid equipment maintenance program is key to ensuring that your system is always running at its peak. While there may be a variety of options for maintenance providers, in our experience establishing and maintaining an effective spare parts stocking program is mandatory.

Why? Because, with just a little advance analysis and planning to determine which components are most likely to need replacement in the event of a failure, you can ensure that your operation’s key equipment continues to operate with minimal downtime. Here are 6 principles to follow when developing an effective spare parts stocking program for your automated warehouse operation. [Read more…]

viastore 2016 Survey on Material Handling System Choices-compare yourself to others

Everybody wants to know how they stack up. Are you as fast as the other guy? Do you work harder than a coworker? (Of course the answer to both is ‘yes’.) When it comes to material handling, and comparing what your company is doing compared to others and knowing how your company stacks up to the rest of the industry is important as well.

For the 2nd year in a row, viastore is compiling annual information on the key issues facing industry executives today. This anonymous survey allows you to compare your company and how you go about making the decisions you make in regards to material handling automation compared to others.

For example, in last year’s survey, we found that 88% of respondents said they wanted their supply chain project to deliver within budget, the leading reason (and no real big surprise there). Click on the infographic to see what the other top-ranking responses were. What WAS interesting was that when it came to who was best-suited to design a material handling system, 63% of respondents felt it should be an outside resource. To see the complete results from last year, you can download the 2015 survey results whitepaper.

What will the numbers be like this year? We won’t know unless you participate. We value your opinion and hope you’ll take just a few minutes to participate in this annual survey. [Read more…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

A three-year payback on an automation installation?

It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? That an automation installation could pay for itself in just 36 months—or sooner?

But it’s true. Depending on the level of automated system installed and the specific circumstances surrounding an operation’s current mode of operation, an investment in automated material handling systems and technologies could very well produce a three-year return on investment (ROI). [Read more…]

The Waveless Warehouse: Why Wave Picking Might Not Be the Best for Your Distribution Center

2014_viastore_Reportage_WIKA_Bild12We adopt new technology because it presents a better way of getting things done. The horse and buggy gave way to the car because of speed and convenience. The smart phone eclipsed feature phones because consumers could have richer apps and a connected experience.

Similarly in business, new technology must bring tangible benefits to really catch on. A new buzzword won’t cut it without bottom line benefits, especially in the cost conscious world of logistics.

[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…]