Flexibility and Scalability
Building for Today while Planning for Tomorrow
Your consumers expect a lot from your company. You have high standards and big ideas. Both are core to the success and growth of your business. This means offering fast order fulfillment and space to store your inventory. And if you are growing, your plans don’t include buying a warehouse solution for today to outgrow tomorrow.
Moving locations might not be a logical option. Efficient warehouse space is at a premium and rent prices are on the rise. The completion of new warehouse facilities can’t happen fast enough.
So where does that leave you and your business?
Time to think outside the box. Literally. You need something with a good foundation and flexibility.
Build For Today
The AutoStore System is a high-density cube storage system. The natural result from this design is a smaller space for warehousing compared to traditional warehouses. In most cases, the footprint drops by 75%. Yes, to a quarter of its previous area.
A Missouri-based apparel company explained it like this: “For every million units of static racking we take down, we’re picking up 2.25 million units of capacity in AutoStore.”
Likewise, no two grids are the same. Technicians work with you to design a grid to meet your needs and space. The grid, number of bins and robots, and placement of ports is also all dependent on your needs and goals.
This allows you to take your current warehouse space and reduce the storage footprint. Build for what you need now.
This allows you to use your space in the best way for now. New space or current. Large or small.
Storage per space
Take Radwell International. They needed an automated storage system to fit their current space. “We were looking at systems that would allow us to utilize the most storage per space… for this building,” explains Todd Radwell, Senior VP of Operations for Radwell International.
Likewise, Parts Town worked with an AutoStore distribution partner to determine what level of automation worked best for their new facility. Parts Town also wanted a system that would scale in the coming years to meet growing demands.
Shape Your Tomorrow
So how does this help you shape your tomorrow?
Another natural result of the cube storage model surfaces when it comes to expansion. Growing companies may add new SKUs or need more merchandise on hand to meet increased demand. It is possible to outgrow your grid.
But with the cube design, extending your grid is like adding another room to a house. While the room connects to the main house, the construction does not make the main house unusable. It is only near the end of construction when the addition is incorporated with the main house.
The same happens with a grid addition. The team builds the addition while operations continue as normal in the main grid. The new section connects with the original grid upon completion of the expansion.
This means your operations see no downtime while waiting for the expansion.Think about that for a minute.
When you need it, your grid can expand to incorporate more space for more inventory. And current operations don’t need to stop.
Grow while meeting demands
For example, the original system for Swedish apparel company Boozt.com included 130 robots and 130,000 bins. In 2018 they expanded their gird and now utilize 250 robots and 250,000 bins in a grid that runs 46,000 square meters (about 49,500 square feet). This expansion was done without shutting down ongoing fulfillment operations.
“You have to be secure you have a system capable of working all day because online business is 24/7,” says Niels Hemmingsen, COO with Boozt.com.
Think about what that means for your productivity. You can continue to meet the demands and orders of customers and grow at the same time.
Radwell International recognized this benefit after selecting AutoStore for their US distribution center.
Growing pains cured
“You can easily increase the size of the aluminum grid without having to turn the system off. So, you can build more infrastructure and then, when it’s complete, you can then fill it with more inventory without losing any time at all in terms of productivity time,” said Radwell.
Growing pains are real. In a business setting it is exciting as well as distressing for you and your team.
Deciding today on a flexible system with room to grow for tomorrow can help plan for those growing pains.
Building for today while planning for tomorrow.