The age of online ordering is upon us and with it comes a unique situation of processing more orders with less items per order (1.2 lines average). E-commerce warehouses store the millions of orders that are placed each day, whether they be groceries, clothes, medicine, or just about every other non-unique item a person may want. With the growing prevalence of online ordering, warehouses need to find efficient ways to not only receive their ever-growing supply of goods but effectively pick many small orders, most with a next-day shipping guarantee. So how do they do it? Luckily, with the help of warehouse automation, warehouse owners and operators can continue to smoothly run their business.
Automation Impacting E-commerce
Currently, there are many choices to optimize a warehouse’s ability to ship orders faster while keeping labor and operational costs down. Here are a few of the options a facility manager can utilize:
- Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV): AGV’s increase efficiency and productivity, while decreasing man-time spent on retrieving items throughout the warehouse. Using an integrated robotic system that follows lines on the floor or laser paths, AGV’s can quickly and safely navigate the warehouse and retrieve the order.
- Horizontal Carousels: as the workhorse of automated storage and retrieval system, horizontal carousels make picking more time, cost, and space efficient than ever. With the ability to optimize the storage space needs in your warehouse, horizontal carousels can increase picking rates by as much as 600% and significantly increase accuracy.
- Vertical Carousels: designed for efficient and accurate delivery to the operator, vertical carousels offer an ergonomic solution to storage and retrieval systems. The automated function of vertical carousels also maximizes the use of your cubic space so you can fit more products in your warehouse as demand increases.
- Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems: AS/RS like the LR 35 provides goods to picker tote delivery to an ergonomic turn table workstation or be integrated with conveyors. This system can be configured to take advantage of existing ceiling heights up to 39’.
Delivering in the Digital Age
It is estimated that over 14% of consumer purchasing will be handled through e-commerce by 2020. In the era of digital convenience, companies need to keep up with this rapidly growing $4 trillion industry. Having multiple automated storage and retrieval systems integrated throughout your warehouse will help your facility stay on top of supply and demand as e-commerce continues to escalate. As your number of orders continues to increase, the ability to use existing automated technology will save time, labor costs, and valuable space. Contact a material handling expert to discuss how to integrate automated systems into your current e-commerce warehouse to see what would be right for you.