Key Interface Testing for a Successful and Seamless AS/RS Integration
The testing phase is one of the most crucial and often overlooked project phases when planning for an AS/RS (automated storage and retrieval system). Selecting an optimal technology for a customer’s specific needs is only the first step of the process, testing helps to highlight additional opportunities, refine warehouse operations with the new automation, as well as mitigate unforeseen challenges.
With solutions like AS/RS or GTP (goods to person) systems becoming increasingly standard it can be easy to default to a standard method of integration. A standard, one-size-fits-all approach can leave opportunities undiscovered. The interface should be customized to the unique needs of the customer and capabilities of the host system.
While some companies have experience integrating with automation and developed their own standard for testing, others are new to the scene and may need guidance on what goes into the proper testing strategy. A material handling system integrator can help ensure a seamless integration regardless of your team’s level of experience. An experienced integration team will engage with your IT and operations departments to develop the perfect testing plan that will have your system ready for a smooth go live.
As we look into what goes into a typical test plan for an AS/RS, there are four stages that can be considered testing staples: remote interface testing, internal integration testing, integration testing with the customer and UAT (user acceptance testing) with the customer.
4 Key AS/RS Testing Stages
Remote Interface Testing
Interface testing is the first step to test a new system. During this phase, an integrator’s resources will work with the customer’s IT team to validate that information can be exchanged between the host system and their integration software, in our case, Exacta® intralogistics software.
Depending on the total number of interface touchpoints, this phase can last anywhere from a few days to a full week.
Internal Integration Testing
The integration team will establish User Acceptance Testing criteria that serve as baseline scenarios and objectives to flush out any issues and ensure the software functions as designed. The key deliverable is software that functions properly. This means:
- Software that is stable to proceed to the customer integration testing phase
- Bugs or issues with functionality are corrected
- Validation of process flow from the host system through order processing in the system software
Coming out of this phase means the software works as designed. This stage typically spans a two-week timeframe but depending on the size and scope of the system, an additional week or two may be required.
Integration Testing with the Customer
Once all the elements of the system have been installed and unit tested, end to end integration testing is performed to ensure all components of the system work seamlessly together. This phase of testing is a joint effort between the integrator and the customer to validate information is sent from the host system, processed correctly in the software and confirmed to the host system for all functional process flows.
This stage typically lasts a single week, but as with the previous phase, the size and scope of the system may require an additional week.
User Acceptance Testing with the Customer
UAT allows end-users to test and validate the system. This allows the user community to perform validation and ‘accept’ the new system prior to go-live. Bastian Solutions personnel help walk the customer through the extensive list of UAT criteria to ensure all elements of the system are functioning properly. Optionally, the customer may choose to add some of their own test elements to the UAT plan to be included in this testing phase.
The average timeframe for this stage is two to five days.
Ensure Complete Confidence in New Warehouse Automation
After the final testing stage is complete, you can have full confidence that your system is functioning properly and a smooth and stress-free transition to full production is on your horizon.
A one-size-fits-all approach, in technology application and, especially, in the system integration will leave opportunities undiscovered, like not utilizing the technology to its maximum potential. Hardware agnostic system integrators can help ensure a seamless interface.
Ready to talk about your warehouse automation needs? Our software and system experts are ready to work with you to find the right combination of solutions to optimize your operations.
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