Prepare for Holiday Demand by Optimizing Your Warehouse with Automation

By Morgan Williams, Marketing Design Coordinator

The holiday season is a busy time for manufacturers and distributors as companies struggle to meet demand and deliver products on time to their awaiting customers. Since this shopping season can account for as much as 40 percent of annual sales, it is a time when consumer demand can make or break a business. According to the 2015 JDA Consumer Survey, retailers that cannot meet expectations and demands risk losing 33 percent of shoppers to a competitor that offers a more convenient and streamlined experience.

To best prepare for holiday demand, it is important to do the necessary preparations for your supply chain, just as you would check the road conditions before traveling during the winter. You will need to ensure that you allocate capital and resources in the most efficient and effective way possible in order to keep up with demand.

What better way to improve your supply chain then by adding automation? Not only has automation been partly responsible for bringing American manufacturing back, but it is also responsible for enhancing the capabilities and easing the burdens for numerous businesses who struggle to meet demands over the holidays and year-round. Automation allows manufacturers to speed up processes and production while allowing manpower to be utilized in other areas.

Think about the advantage you can have within your industry if you’re using an automated system and your biggest competitor is not. By adding an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) coupled with a warehouse execution system (WES), your business can plow through operations and get your products out the door and into customers hands faster. A WES optimizes, manages and controls your storage facility, saving you time and money, while also providing the flexibility to select functions that will meet your business needs now and after the holiday season. This solution is ideal for organizations with large order volumes and high throughput needs, key characteristics of the hectic holiday shopping season.

One of the biggest jumps in demand this season, according to the National Retail Federation, will come from online sales, which are expected to see an increase of six to eight percent. As users generate orders for fulfillment, the WES efficiently breaks them down into logical units and then directs the material handling equipment, such as an AS/RS, to execute the work utilizing its warehouse control system (WCS) functionality. At the same time, the warehouse management system (WMS) portion manages higher-level functions, such as inventory tracking and lot management. Everything then comes together in the WES interface which provides real-time insight of product leaving the warehouse, ensuring it reaches the customer on time.

By implementing this solution, the organization is able to better utilize its automation and warehouse personnel, deliver better storage utilization, increase inventory accuracy and improve product traceability.

Learn more about optimizing your warehouse in our “Game Changers” edition of The Satellite Review Magazine

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