High-Speed Sortation Meets E-Commerce Demands

Sliding shoe sortation

This year, online retail sales in the United States will reach $334 billion, roughly 10% of all domestic retail sales, according to Forrester Research. The analysts there go on to predict that over the next five years, e-commerce will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10%. That translates into online sales of $480 billion by 2020.

That also translates into a lot more and smaller, one- and two-line orders than most retailers have historically handled. Gone are the days of the warehouse that solely replenished brick-and-mortar retail store shelves and rack displays. Omni-channel, or fulfillment of multiple kinds of orders (pallets routed to the retail store, cases to wholesale accounts and small parcel online orders shipped to individuals) from a single warehouse or distribution center (DC), is the new normal for today’s retailers.

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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).

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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

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Take Time to Relax…So You Can Get More Done

national-relaxation-day-august-15

Getting work and stuff done is how America rolls. I think we get more stuff done through sure will power than lots of others. But are we doing it the right way? Is ‘burning the midnight oil’ every day the best thing to be productive? Maybe not.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to get work done. But if there was a way to get more done, by actually doing less, wouldn’t that be cool?

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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).

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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.

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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…]