Critical Tips When Evaluating Automated Storage

Critical Tips When Evaluating Automated Storage

As the world becomes increasingly digital, it’s no surprise that many businesses are turning to automated storage solutions to stay competitive. With the rise of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, automated storage solutions have become an essential tool for increasing productivity and streamlining operations.

Automated storage systems can provide significant time and cost savings, as well as improved accuracy and productivity. However, evaluating and selecting the right solution for your business can be a daunting task. With so many options available, how can you be sure you’re making the best decision?

As businesses grow and expand, the volume of goods being produced or purchased also increases, which in turn puts pressure on warehouse space. To overcome this, automated storage systems have become a popular solution for many industries, as they help boost productivity, increase product throughput, and maximize warehouse space while reducing operational costs.

However, before investing in an automated storage system, evaluating the various options available is crucial.

Vitals elements for automated storage

 Here are some critical tips to consider when evaluating automated storage:

Evaluate your needs:

First of all, the critical tip when evaluating automated storage, it’s essential to evaluate your needs thoroughly. Consider factors such as storage capacity, throughput, speed, and accuracy. You should also consider the type of materials that you will be storing and retrieving, as some systems are better suited than others for specific types of items. Different automated storage systems are designed to handle different types of inventory, so it’s important to evaluate your inventory before selecting a system.

Conduct a Site Evaluation:

A site evaluation is an essential step in evaluating automated storage. It will help you determine if an automated storage system is a feasible solution for your facility. Factors to consider include the size and layout of your facility, the nature of your business, the volume and variety of materials you handle, and any environmental factors that could impact the performance of the system.

Understand the Different Types of Automated Storage Systems:

It is crucial to note that automated storage systems are not universally applicable as each facility has its own set of unique needs and requirements. To that end, it is essential to identify a system that can be customized to meet the specific storage requirements of a given business. There exist different types of automated storage systems, such as vertical lift modules (VLMs), carousels, and automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), each of which presents distinctive features, benefits, and limitations.

Space Constraints:

One of the most significant advantages of automated storage solutions is their ability to maximize storage capacity while minimizing space requirements. Depending on the size of your facility, you may need to look at different types of storage systems. For example, if you have limited floor space, a vertical storage system may be the best option.

Scalability:

As your business grows, your storage requirements will increase. It’s important to select an automated storage system that can be scaled up easily without disrupting operations. Look for systems that allow you to add additional units or modules as needed to increase capacity or throughput. Additionally, consider the ease with which new units can be added to the system, which can affect the overall cost and complexity of expanding.

Efficiency and Speed:

The main objective of automated storage solutions is to improve operational efficiency and speed. Evaluate the system’s performance by comparing its throughput, accuracy, and speed with your current storage setup. The faster an item can be picked and retrieved from storage, the higher the throughput and efficiency of the entire system. Before selecting an automated storage system, evaluate the picking and retrieval speeds of each unit to ensure they meet your requirements. Additionally, consider the type of pick and retrieval method the system uses, which can affect speed and efficiency.

Consider System Modularity:

Automation technology continually evolves, and your business needs may change over time. Therefore, it’s essential to evaluate the modularity of any automated storage system you’re considering. A modular system allows you to easily expand or reconfigure the system in response to changes in your business needs. This can help you avoid expensive system-wide overhauls if you need to increase storage capacity or throughput.

Assess the System’s Flexibility:

As your business grows and evolves, you may need to modify the automated storage system to meet changing needs. Flexibility is an essential aspect when evaluating automated storage solutions. Look for a system that can accommodate growth and adapt to changes in your business processes. A flexible solution will also allow you to pick different sizes of products and different picking strategies.

Consider Integration with Existing Software Solutions:

Automation storage systems typically require integration with existing software solutions, such as warehouse management software (WMS) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Ensure that the automated storage system integrates with your existing software solutions so that the full potential of automation can be realized.

Evaluate the User-Friendliness of the System:

User-friendliness should be a critical consideration when evaluating an automated storage solution. Look for a system that is easy to operate and navigate, has an intuitive interface, and requires minimum training to use. This will reduce the learning curve and increase adoption rates. It’s essential to review the user interface of the system. Is it user-friendly? How easy is it to train your employees on how to use it? The user interface can have a big impact on the efficiency of your operations, so it’s important to evaluate this aspect of the system.

Assess the Safety Features of the System:

Another critical tip for evaluating automated storage solutions comes with different safety features, such as obstacle detection and emergency stop buttons. Ensure that the system meets all required safety standards and that it provides a safe working environment for operators.

Evaluate the Cost-Effectiveness of the System:

Finally, consider the cost-effectiveness when evaluating automated storage. The total cost of ownership should include not only the initial investment but also maintenance and repair costs, as well as ongoing operational expenses. Choose a system that provides the best value for money in the long run. Compare the costs of different systems and determine which one provides the most value for your investment.

Support:

Like any other technology, an automated storage system may encounter issues. Evaluate the system provider’s support offerings to ensure that you have access to timely support when needed.

Reputation:

Lastly, select an automated storage system provider with a good reputation. Look for reviews and references, and ask the provider for case studies to evaluate their track record. An automated storage system is a long-term investment, and it’s important to select a system that is durable and built to last.

Check the reliability of the technology:

When evaluating automated storage systems, it’s also important to consider the technology that’s used. How reliable is the system? Does it have a good track record of performance? What kind of maintenance is required? You want to ensure the system is reliable and doesn’t require extensive maintenance that could impact your productivity. Automated systems require continuous operation, which means that reliability is critical. Ensure that the system you select is reliable and has redundancy built-in to prevent downtime.

Maintenance Requirements:

Like any other equipment, an automated storage system requires regular maintenance. Evaluate the system’s maintenance requirements and factor in the associated costs. Automated storage systems require regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly and efficiently. Before investing in a system, evaluate the maintenance needs of each option. Look for systems that have minimal maintenance requirements and are easy to service. Additionally, consider the availability of spare parts and technical support, as this can affect the overall uptime of the system.

In conclusion, evaluating an automated storage system is overwhelming. However, by following these critical tips, you can make an informed decision that will help you increase productivity and streamline operations. Keep in mind that an automated storage system is a significant investment, so take the time to thoroughly evaluate your needs and choose a solution that fits your business. By considering these critical factors, you can select the right system for your business that will help you streamline your operations, increase efficiency, and improve overall productivity.

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