Keep your distribution operation nimble with flexible automation.
Although facilities with a single channel focus are more efficient to operate, the rise of e-commerce and direct-to-consumer channels has companies scrambling for ways to enable facilities designed for full case picking to accommodate discrete order picking and batch picking. Handling retail store replenishment, wholesale, and e-commerce all under one roof leverages real estate and personnel as well as reduces overall inventory levels.
Labor issues and shortages are only adding to the complexities distribution centers must navigate. In addition to the changing workforce demographics and rising labor costs, industry growth outpaces the labor pool by a ratio of six to one, which is unsustainable in the already labor-strapped industry.
In omnichannel distribution environments, companies often do not know from which channel the next wave of growth will come. An order mix of 80% of retail stores and 20% e-commerce would make sense pre-COVID, but the pandemic changed that mix significantly towards e-commerce. Now that COVID is subsiding, will order mixes shift back towards retail stores even slightly?
Distribution operations must be designed for maximum flexibility and scalability so that they can adjust to changing demand regardless of channel or order profile.
AMRs are optimal forms of automation for distribution centers because they are incredibly flexible, scalable, and can integrate into other forms of fixed automation such as conveyor, ASRSs, sortation systems either initially or when expanding. Our AMRs are unique as one single system can be used for discrete order picking, batch picking, case picking, and pallet picking. Our broad portfolio of AMRs can handle everything from a single transistor to a 1.5-ton pallet of transistors and everything in between.
While case picking to pallets is a sweet spot for the PalletTransort 1500, this AMR also is heavily leveraged for other pallet conveyance workflows such as cross-docking, inbound, putaway, and outbound. Like the CartConnect 100 and the CartConnect 1500, the Freight1500 can also be used for more simple, value-added workflows like autonomously removing recycling or refuse from the distribution center.
AMRs can enable automated transport of cases and pallets throughout the distribution center. With the integration of Pallet Transfer Stations, AMRs can crossdock pallets from receiving to the shipping area. Case and pallet pick operations can be augmented with AMRs from both AS/RS systems as well as racking positions. AMRs can also support replenishment of cases and pallets from storage to forward picking locations.
Want to learn more about how flexible automation can improve productivity in your facility? Get started by contacting an automation expert.