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Most companies that have attempted to implement automated material handling equipment have discovered that these projects can be particularly vulnerable to Murphy’s Law, the principal that, “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” This blog is ninth in an ongoing series on “Beating Murphy’s Law in Warehouse Automation Projects.” Blog 9 DC The best designs and project plans can still fail in the hands of the wrong vendors implementing the project. Companies do well to conduct a thorough vendor selection process to ensure that the companies they partner with are those best equipped to meet their needs. Some key mistakes companies often make when it comes to vendor selection include: Love at first sight: Some companies irrationally latch on to certain technologies, which they may have seen at trade shows or site tours, believing it must be the right choice for their company absent of any objective evidence. Many of the forms of warehouse automation in use today can be impressive to observe and have in fact transformed many operations for the better. But, as pointed out in earlier sections, each distribution center is a unique “snowflake” with specific requirements that differ from other sites. Technology that works well in one distribution center may be the wrong choice for another facility – even one in the same industry. There is no substitute for an objective design process based on empirical data modeling and broad perspective on the solutions that actually work in the real world. The lowest price wins: Companies are right to seek competitive pricing from their vendor partners, but many make the mistake of prioritizing price above all else. This may be a valid strategy for less automated solutions, such as static storage equipment and vehicle-based picking systems, where the products in question have become commoditized. […]
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