July 13 2015 |Written By bluefish

Optimizing Order Fulfillment with an AS/RS

By: Morgan Williams, Marketing/Graphic Design Assistant

{image_1} In today’s fast-paced business climate, customers demand and expect more from their warehouse and distribution centers, as their orders are more frequent and require custom-tailored solutions. As a result, the order fulfillment process is becoming more complex, leaving no margin for delay, delivery of low-quality products, or order errors.

In order to meet customer demands and remain competitive, manufacturers and distributors must fulfill orders in a shorter amount of time while still maintaining the highest level of customer service. By integrating an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) with a warehouse material handling system, the picking process is drastically simplified, thus improving order fulfillment.

While an AS/RS can establish efficient picking processes, routes, and sequences in order to enable better overall performance of the warehouse, there are three key advantages of an AS/RS in the order fulfillment process:

  • High-density storage capabilities: An AS/RS can store more products in a smaller amount of space, thus reducing travel time, achieving better product availability, and maximizing existing real estate.
  • Labor/cost reduction: An AS/RS brings the products close to the shelves, while the storage and retrieval machine (S/RM) assures the product is in the right position. This eliminates redundant manual material handling, minimizes human error and reduces product damage, translating into cost savings for the company that can be passed on to their customers.
  • Worker safety: With an AS/RS, there is no longer the need for arduous lifting or numerous fork trucks driving in the same aisle as people. An AS/RS is especially beneficial for picking in cold and freezer environments as these harsh conditions are not suitable for the human body.

Combining various picking strategies, order fulfillment technologies, and a warehouse management software, such as a warehouse execution system (WES), will often set a business up for growth and success in the future. Adding an AS/RS will help to improve picking processes leading to timely, accurate order fulfillment that will keep companies competitive and customers happy.

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