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In the News: Conventional Warehouse Tune Up

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Close your eyes for just a minute and imagine a conventional warehouse.

You probably see plenty of lift trucks handling pallet loads as well as desigingsortation_blog cases. Maybe some conveyor, some rack. Perhaps even some light automation such as a carousel. What you may not see at first, but know are there, are bar codes and other data management tools. And the most hidden force multiplier is probably a warehouse management system (WMS).

Most everyone will agree that these are the most common elements of a conventional warehouse today. And not every facility has all of those elements. But having many of them has been a distinguishing characteristic for some time.

It raises an interesting question: Is your conventional warehouse any good at what it has been doing? Do you know? Just as importantly, is the warehouse up to what it will have to do in the future?

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“This is open season for operations managers wanting to improve their processes,” explains Ahmed Arif, senior director of regional offices at Bastian Solutions. But he also notes that so many “are going for the home run with advanced automation.” But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Interviews with several experts on conventional warehousing made it clear that you can improve processes without a complete hardware and software transformation.

Key concepts here range from slotting to clean data and reduction in travel time. Labor management is not to be overlooked either. And, yes, technology is part of this evolution, ranging from bots (which everyone is in love with right now) to software such as warehouse execution systems (WES).

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Looking over the conventional warehouse landscape, Arif of Bastian says the foundation for future efficiencies rests with a combination of well-defined operational flows and a well-trained workforce driven by clean data. A little bit of automation won’t hurt either. Together, that combo will tune up any facility, says Arif.

 

Read the full article at MMH.com

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