Historically, we talked about warehouses as being manual or highly automated. Manual warehouses are more flexible, they adapt much more easily to change. Highly automated warehouses have much higher throughput, but their cost and lack of flexibility can make them a risky investment. But really, there are automation solutions that are highly flexible as well. Autonomous mobile robots have been getting a lot of press. But I am also starting to hear more about AutoStore.
AutoStore at Parts Town
Parts Town is the largest and fastest growing supplier of foodservice equipment parts in the world. The company offers same day shipping of genuine OEM parts and has had 14 consecutive years of organic growth of over 20 percent. This has led them to move to larger warehouse on three different occasions since 2004. The last move took them from a 150,000 square foot warehouse to one twice as big.
The hardware came from AutoStore, the system integrator for AutoStore was Bastian Solutions who also provided the warehouse control system (WCS). The solution was integrated with HighJump’s warehouse management system (WMS) by 4Sight.
There are currently 29 robots and 15,100 storage bins on site. Bins are stacked 16 levels in height. The bins can be subdivided to accommodate multiple SKUs per bin. Parts Town subdivides bins into eighths, quarters, halves and the remaining 70 percent are undivided. There are also six ports, two for put-away and four for picking.
The solution offers a variety of advantages including four times the picking throughput and improved picking accuracy over 50 percent.
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