Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems have been around since the 1960’s, offering distribution centers higher capacity storage in a smaller footprint. But we aren’t living in the last century and the advancements in ASRS technologies over the past 55 years have advanced this technology in not only functionality but economies of use.
ASRS systems can be found in small, medium and large facilities alike. One of the biggest areas of growth for this material handling method has been cold storage and freezer environments, but ASRS can, of course, be applied in ambient storage as well…think beverage for example. Maybe yours is a facility that would benefit from an ASRS overhaul or modification? Let’s review some overall benefits of automated storage and retrieval in the 21st century.
- 30% Increased storage over traditional pallet rack storage
- Up to 50% reduction in footprint for same storage quantity
- Accurate, real time inventory control
- Increased selectivity to support a high SKU operation
- Integrated material handling storage from raw material to work-in-progress to finished goods
- Increased order fulfillment throughput
- Elimination of out-of-stock at pick face with automatic replenishment
- Programmed operation free of interruptions, distractions, breaks, etc.
Some of these benefits can be obtained through a less costly investment into a very narrow aisle configuration (VNA). If you have the ceiling height and would like to go up and not out, VNA is an option. While the initial investment into this storage option can be significantly less, the economies of scale with regard to the automation feature of the ASRS system will not be fully realized. So yes, you will be able to store more inventory and likely increase SKU selectivity, but you will be paying lift operators to do the work of the otherwise automated machine. In certain situations that may make sense, but don’t make this decision based solely on upfront costs. Consider the following…
ASRS Benefits vs Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) configurations:
- Higher ROI, lower life cycle costs
- Lower annual operating costs
- Less product damage
- Reduced training
- Higher inventory security
Can’t decide if an investment into ASRS is the right decision for your unique circumstances? We can help. Let the material handling experts at E-Distribution analyze your warehouse management operations to see what would be the best fit for your warehouse, your budget and your future plans. Contact us for a free evaluation and quote!