7 Ways to Avoid a “Box of Chocolates” Automation and/or Software Implementation Scenario

“My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’” – Forrest Gump

Prevent unwelcome and unpleasant surprises in a new installation or upgrade that can cause setbacks in your schedule and budget.

Depending on your taste, it might be nice to discover a hunk of caramel hiding under that chocolate from the heart-shaped Valentine’s Day candy box—or not. But when it comes to an automation and/or software implementation in your warehouse or distribution center, the majority of surprises are unwelcome and unpleasant.

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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…]

Replacing Bits and Pieces of Warehouse Automation: Why Talking to a Specialist Could Save You in the Long Run

There’s an iconic TV commercial from the 1970s that illustrates the value of taking the time to do something right the first time (pay now), as opposed to later making significant repairs to correct mistakes (and pay MORE later). Don’t let this be your approach when it comes to “saving” money by replacing or adding the random piece of new or used equipment for your warehouse automation system. [Read more…]

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

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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…]

Thinking Warehouse Automation? It’s OK to Think Small First

Often, when thinking of warehouse automation, what comes to mind is a lights-out, fully-automated facility that accounts for every item in inventory and removes people from the operation. In reality, however, material handling automation can be applied incrementally, enhancing only the specific processes to maximize return on investment.

Automating your warehouse can actually be considered as having four levels of increasing complexity. At the lowest cost end of the spectrum are systems that improve conventional picking—such as warehouse management (WMS), radio-frequency (RF) or voice-directed picking systems—or mechanized solutions that automate the horizontal movement of products and reduce labor handling requirements (like conveyor, pick modules, stretch wrap applicators, label print-and-apply, and layer picking equipment). [Read more…]

20 Questions Manufacturers Should Ask When Selecting a WMS/WCS Integrator (part 2)

Modernisierung_Kleinteilelager_ODU_b14_NRThe second critical decision about a new warehouse management system (WMS)—whether it is best-of-breed, or SAP LES or EWM—or a new (or integrated) warehouse control system (WCS) to track and control inventory and its movement within your manufacturing operation, is how it will be installed. Careful evaluation of the software supplier and/or integrator of a WMS/WCS solution for your company should happen either before or during software selection (although it sometimes happens after the software is chosen, for myriad reasons). [Read more…]

18 Questions Manufacturers Should Ask When Selecting WMS/WCS Software (part 1)

viadat_WMS_Weltbild_NRIf your manufacturing operation is in the market for a new warehouse management system (WMS) (either best-of-breed or SAP LES or EWM) or a new (or integrated) warehouse control system (WCS) to track and control inventory and its movement, there are several considerations to keep in mind. When evaluating an investment in a new warehouse execution system (WES) that combines WMS/WCS software, or an upgrade to an existing system, you have a lot of choices. Further, your level of material handling automation (either existing or planned) can have a critical impact on your ultimate software selection.

To help figure out which WMS/WCS solution is best for your application, here’s a checklist of 18 questions to ask. Use them as you navigate your software selection process. [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…]