Many companies struggle with the complexity of designing and testing optimal warehouse layouts for automation. Grid Designer by AutoStore is a purpose-built design tool, with advanced 3D design and live simulation to predict actual performance with 99+% accuracy.
When considering a new warehouse automation project, many companies struggle with how to design and test the optimal layout for the available space. This is usually down to difficulties navigating unknown variables alongside the more obviously defined parameters, which makes generating a viable proof of concept challenging. Usually, a potential project has some concrete elements, such as available floor space and required throughput rates. But while the warehouse dimensions may be known, there's a host of other variables that aren't so easy to define, but greatly impact floor layout and design choices. Additionally, many warehouses don’t have consistent order fulfillment volumes around the clock, often experiencing large variations across shift patterns, and seasonal periods through the year.
At a minimum, a new design should be able to answer these questions, both on paper and in the real-world environment
You don’t want to over-invest in a setup that’s under-utilized most of the time, or on the flip side, struggle with ramping up operations to meet peak periods. Just how much flexibility should you build into a design for managing peaks like Black Friday, while at the same time trying to optimize for regular day-to-day operations?
In general, most new implementation projects aren't able to make use of specialist tools for designing and accurately predicting performance, according to your specific needs and space. This leaves project teams relying on a selection of simple tools that are not purpose-built. This means for design, using floor plan drawings or maybe standard design software; and for performance modeling, making use of spreadsheets (or similar) and feeding in benchmark performance data from the chosen solution.
As each project and warehouse space means a unique combination of variables and performance needs, this presents two clear challenges in easily designing and validating a proof of concept.
How do you calculate if a suggested layout and system is viable? Not just in terms of fitting the available space, but delivering the required throughput rate, and alongside all your operations and other equipment? With no clear framework, you may quickly find:
Before making a purchase, we all want proof what we’re buying is what we’ll get. Think for a moment about the modern e-commerce buying experience. Online retailers have combined technology and creative thinking in order to replace the missing proof buyers would otherwise get when buying an item in-store. Algorithms personalize recommendations on which size to order; augmented reality lets you “try on” an item, and so on.
Large warehouse automation investments clearly have much higher stakes and layers of complexity than ordering clothes. You can hardly “try before you buy” or hand hardware back if buyer’s remorse kicks in. But the principle of buyer's proof still holds; before signing the purchase order, you want to have high confidence a solution will be deliver the performance you were promised.
Ideally, predicted performance and potential ROI calculations should be based on more than “on paper” standardized numbers from the solution provider. For 24/7 operations, optimizing efficiency even just a couple of percentage points can have a huge impact on overall throughput or labor costs. Unfortunately, for the majority of solutions, reliable insights often take weeks and months to establish.
But these kind of standardized tool and formulas are, in a sense, "static". They're difficult to adapt dynamically in order to accurately model changing combinations of variables and design specs. In the real world, variables change dynamically in relation to one another. Replenishment rate does not stay at a consistent level, dependent on peaks or troughs in order fulfillment. It's very difficult to accurately simulate this kind of variation over time in a spreadsheet by updating single input values one at a time.
So therefore accurate performance prediction needs a more advanced method of modeling outcomes with multiple dynamic custom input variables.
We help you execute data-driven warehouse automation design and live simulation with purpose-built software applications
At AutoStore, we’ve always believed that advanced planning and designing for warehouse automation should be simpler. You shouldn’t need weeks just to reach a basic concept system design, and then a few more weeks or months for initial performance modeling. Even if your company has little or no experience with large-scale automation, you should quickly be able to get a clear picture. You should very quickly understand if a suggested solution and layout are achievable for your space and can meet (or even exceed) your project goals.
Grid Designer forms the basis of our proven system design methodology. It simplifies the process of designing an AutoStore solution that's tailored exactly to your floor space and business needs. We’ve developed these unique tools through decades of experience planning warehouse automation projects. Grid Designer can be employed at the beginning of project planning to provide a viable proof of concept for existing or new warehouses.
Grid Designer includes three main capabilities to easily plan and design an optimal warehouse layout for the AutoStore Cube Storage system. SmartDesigner recommendations, 3D Designer, and Live Simulator.
Customized design recommendations to get you started with a viable design concept in minutes.
This feature auto-suggests recommendations for the required modules of the AutoStore system needed for your solution. They're generated by entering data about your process operations. This data is combined with proven design best practices and learnings acquired from our extensive experience in installation planning and design. Examples of data inputs include the number and type of SKUs, picking and goods-in rates, picking process (average picking time), etc.
Getting started is fast and simple:
Read our blog: How Does Bin Digging Maximize Throughput? Discover what “Bin digging” is and why it's key to maximizing throughput with the utlra-dense storage capacity of the AutoStore system.
Bring your design to life with highly accurate 3D modeling and layout visualization.
Now that we have the recommended AutoStore modules and system specifications to meet your operational needs, it's time to visualize the design and layout. This includes being able to design for any floor shape, around corners, and other common obstacles. Because the AutoStore system consists of just five standardized modules, it's super simple to generate a working 3D design (this makes really fast to install as well!). There's huge flexibility to adjust layout configurations and test different combinations or placements of the selected AutoStore modules.
The advanced 3D design allows you to:
Test, predict, and analyze your design and gain valuable operational insights with dynamic, real-time simulations.
The simulation is performed using the same operating software used for operating a live AutoStore system. With proven experience from thousands of simulations and physical installations, we see more than 99% accuracy for Live Simulator in predicting real-world performance.
By simulating all the tasks in your fulfillment process in real-time, it can check and validate each outcome and is able to adjust as input variables fluctuate, just as as they would in a real warehouse.
A simulation can run as soon as your first design is ready:
Even if you ultimately don’t select AutoStore, running a simulation will provide valuable, data-driven insights about the potential to improve your operational efficiency with warehouse automation.
Altogether, Grid Designer's three capabilities help you to plan and deliver a solution you can be confident is perfectly suited to your unique project requirements. This should help to ensure a strong internal focus on data-driven decision-making throughout your project.
If you’re considering a new automation implementation, Grid Designer can simplify and accelerate your planning. You don’t have to commit to AutoStore before our team of experts can help. They are ready to show you what the AutoStore system can do for your warehouse with free design and live simulation. Simply click the link below to claim your free design. All we need is a single 30-minute design consultation with you, and we'll do the rest.
Your free design and the provided insights from the simulation can then be used to inform and facilitate in-depth conversations with your internal stakeholders. When you're ready to discuss your proof of concept in more detail, we’ll bring in one of our certified implementation partners in your region. They’re responsible for the physical installation of all new AutoStore systems. They offer vast experience from working on similar projects, and provide additional technical expertise, such as any integration requirements for your AutoStore and the rest of your tech stack, such as WMS, ERP, wearables, etc.