Storage optimization specialists

Ամբողջ աշխարհում արտադրողները բախվում են զգալի մարտահրավերների, քանի որ արդյունաբերությունները արագորեն թվայնացվում և ավտոմատացվում են դեպի Smart Factory Industry 4.0 գործառնությունները:

Այնուամենայնիվ, չնայած ռոբոտաշինության և փոխկապակցված գործընթացների տարածմանը, արտադրական շատ ասպեկտներ միայն մասամբ են ընդունել Արդյունաբերություն 4.0-ի նախաձեռնությունները:

Ժամանակակից արտադրության մարտահրավերներին դիմակայելու համար Smart Factory լուծումները դառնում են կարևոր:

Խելացի գործարանային լուծումների հրատապ անհրաժեշտություն

Տարբեր ոլորտների մատակարարման շղթայի ղեկավարները պետք է արդյունավետորեն հավասարակշռեն արտադրության ծավալները, գույքագրման ծավալները և առաքման ժամանակացույցերը:

Հետապնդելով ավելի բարձր արդյունավետություննվազեցված էներգիայի սպառումը և ծախսերի օպտիմալացում, արտադրողներն ուշադիր գնահատում են իրենց արտադրության և բաշխման մոդելները: Smart Factory միացումն առաջարկում է օպտիմալ լուծում այս մարտահրավերներին դիմակայելու համար:

Փոքր կտորների պահպանման և կատարման օպտիմիզացում Smart Factory Solutions-ի միջոցով

Ողջ պահեստավորում

Այսօրվա Խելացի գործարանի պահեստում արդյունավետ գործառնությունների հիմքում ընկած է ավտոմատացված պահեստավորումըհավաքելը և փոքր տարրերի կատարումը: եւ պատրաստի ապրանքներ: Անկախ նրանից, թե դա պատրաստի ապրանքների, փոխարինման մասերի, մանրածախ էլեկտրոնային առևտրի միկրոկատարում է, գործիքների օրորոցներ կամ հավաքման համար հավաքում, փոքր կտորների պատվերի կատարման համար ավտոմատացված պահեստավորման և հավաքման համակարգը կարևոր է:

Ուղղահայաց վերելակների մոդուլներ (VLM)< /a> և հորիզոնական կարուսելներ (HCs)  նշեք այս նպատակի համար իդեալական համակարգը: Նրանք ի վիճակի են կառավարելու հազարավոր տարբեր SKU-ներ՝ թույլ տալով փոքր կտորների պահեստավորումը, հավաքագրումը և փաթեթավորումը տպավորիչ արագությամբ և արդյունավետությամբ փոքր չափի մեջ:

VLM-ների և HC-ների եզակի հնարավորությունը՝ պահեստավորումը կոմպակտ տարածքում հանգեցնում է պայմանական պահեստի չափի զգալի կրճատմանը` մինչև 90%: Սա թույլ է տալիս օբյեկտներին խնայել արժեքավոր հատակի տարածքը և կենտրոնացնել գործողությունները ավելի փոքր տարածքի վրա, ավելի մոտ, որտեղ դրանք անհրաժեշտ են: Արդյունքում, օպերացիաների հոսքը օպտիմիզացված է, և տեղամասից դուրս պահեստավորման անհրաժեշտությունը կարող է նվազագույնի հասցնել կամ վերացնել:

VLM-ների և HC-ների մոդուլային և մասշտաբային դիզայնը նրանց հնարավորություն է տալիս արդյունավետորեն աշխատել տարբեր միջավայրերում, ներառյալ անսովոր կոնֆիգուրացիաներով բարձր առաստաղներով և ցածր առաստաղներով: Այս համակարգերը կարող են հեշտությամբ հարմարվել SKU-ի և թողունակության ծավալների փոփոխություններին: Ավելին, դրանք կարող են տեղավորել ինչպես շրջակա միջավայրի, այնպես էլ ջերմաստիճանով կառավարվող արտադրանքի պահեստավորումը  2°C և 25°C սահմաններում:

VLM-ները օգտագործում են սենյակի հասանելի բարձրությունը՝ թույլ տալով, որ իրերը պահվեն մինչև 16 մետր բարձրության վրա սահմանափակ տարածքի մեջ՝ արդյունավետորեն առավելագույնի հասցնելով օբյեկտի ուղղահայաց տարածության օգտագործումը: Մյուս կողմից, Modula HC նախատեսված է առաստաղի սահմանափակ բարձրությամբ միջավայրերում օգտագործելու համար:

Թեև VLM-ները և HC-ներն արդեն ապացուցել են իրենց արդյունավետությունը պահեստավորման և կատարման արդյունավետությունը բարձրացնելու համար, այս լուծումների վերջին էվոլյուցիան ամեն ինչ ավելի հեռուն է տանում: Այժմ նրանք առաջարկում են ինտեգրման և կապի ավելի բարձր մակարդակ՝ ամբողջովին աջակցելով Smart Factory-ի գործառնություններին: Modula-ի պես ընկերությունները առաջատար դիրքերում են այնպիսի առաջադեմ ավտոմատացված պահեստավորման և որոնման համակարգերի արտադրության մեջ:

Ընդգրկելով Smart Factory-ի այս լուծումները՝ արտադրողները կարող են օպտիմիզացնել փոքր կտորների պահեստավորման և կատարման գործընթացները՝ հանգեցնելով արդյունավետության բարձրացման, գործառնական ծախսերի կրճատման և իրենց պահեստների ընդհանուր արտադրողականության բարելավմանը:

WMS միացում. ընդլայնում է խելացի գործարանային գործառնությունները

Որպես VLM-ների և HC-ների կառավարման հիմքը, պահեստի կառավարման հատուկ և համապարփակ համակարգը (WMS) ամենաիդեալական լուծումն է, որը հատուկ նախագծված է փոքր մասերի կատարում ստանալու, ընտրելու և կազմակերպելու համար:

MODULA WMS

VLM-ները և HC-ներն առաջարկում են ամբողջական Ethernet միացում կայանի WMS-ի և տան ERP-ի հետ:

 Մոդուլի WMS, օրինակ, գույքագրման կառավարման հզոր ծրագրաշար է, որը հատուկ հարմարեցված է VLM-ների և HC-ների գործարկման համար, մինչդեռ անխափան կերպով ինտեգրվում է ավանդական ձեռնարկի  ստատիկ դարակաշարերում:

Այս WMS-ի հիմնական առանձնահատկությունն այն իրական ժամանակում ինտեգրումն է հաստատության հյուրընկալող WMS-ի հետ Ethernet-ի միջոցով: Սա երաշխավորում է, որ հյուրընկալող WMS-ը թարմացրել է տեղեկատվություն ընտրվող կամ վերալիցքավորվող յուրաքանչյուր ապրանքի գտնվելու վայրի մասին: VLM-ի և HC-ի WMS ինտերֆեյսը աջակցում է տարբեր WMS, DMS, MRP և ERP պլատֆորմներին՝ հնարավորություն տալով ավելի արագ և ճշգրիտ գործընթացներ, ինչպիսիք են արտադրանքի ընդունումը, հավաքումը և հեռացումը: Բացի այդ, VLM-ը և HC WMS-ը թույլ է տալիս հյուրընկալող WMS-ին ուղղակիորեն վերահսկել VLM և HC միավորները:

Յուրաքանչյուր VLM և HC հագեցած է գունավոր սենսորային վահանակով, որը կոչվում է Copilot, որը միացված է Modula WMS-ին Ethernet-ի միջոցով: Օգտագործողի համար հարմար այս ինտերֆեյսը հեշտացնում է գործառնությունները՝ հնարավորություն տալով օպերատորներին պահանջել կոնկրետ ապրանքներ կամ կատարել պատվերներ անխափան:

MODULA Copilot

Յուրաքանչյուր VLM և HC հագեցած է գունավոր սենսորային էկրանով Copilot վահանակով, որը միացված է Modula WMS-ին Ethernet-ի միջոցով

Copilot-ի վրա սկուտեղի դասավորության գրաֆիկական արտացոլումը հստակ տեղեկատվություն է տալիս VLM-ում կամ HC-ում ցանկալի տարրերի գտնվելու վայրի մասին: Այն նաև ցուցադրում է հավաքման կամ լիցքավորման հետ կապված բոլոր համապատասխան տեղեկությունները, ինչպիսիք են ապրանքների ծածկագրերը, քանակությունները և ապրանքների նշումները:

Նվիրված և միացված WMS-ը փոքր կտոր գույքագրման պահեստավորման և VLM-ների և HC-ների հետ հավաքելու համար առաջարկում է մի քանի բնորոշ առավելություններ, այդ թվում՝

  • Ձեռքով մուտքագրման վերացում
    Օգտագործելով շտրիխ կոդեր և այլ ավտոմատացված լուծումներ VLM-ների և HC-ների հետ՝ WMS-ը նվազեցնում է ձեռքով մուտքագրման հետ կապված մարդկային սխալների ռիսկը:
  • Գույքագրում դարակաշարում
    Շատ պահեստներ օգտագործում են բարդ MHE և WMS, սակայն, այնուամենայնիվ, ձեռքով աշխատում են հազարավոր SKU-ներ՝ դարակներով, գզրոցներով և գործիքների օրորոցներով: «Նվիրված WMS
     փոքր գյուտարարների համարy-ը կարող է թվային կերպով միավորել ստատիկ դարակների տվյալները VLM-ների և HC-ների հետ Ethernet-ի միջոցով՝ հեշտացնելով կառավարումն ու հաշվետվությունները:
  • Insight-Driven Dashboard
    WMS-ն առաջարկում է անհատականացված դիտումներ և իրական ժամանակի տեսանելիություն առանձնահատուկ կատարողականի չափումների՝ հարմարեցված դասավորությունների, ծանուցումների և հատուկ հաշվետվությունների միջոցով: Սա կառավարիչներին հնարավորություն է տալիս տվյալների վրա հիմնված որոշումներ կայացնել պահեստի գործառնությունները օպտիմալացնելու համար:
  • Հետևել և հետևել եզակի ID-ներին
    Քանի որ եզակի ID-ներին հետևելու անհրաժեշտությունը մեծանում է, հատկապես բարձրարժեք փոքր ապրանքների համար, վերջին VLM-ը և HC WMS-ն ապահովում են այս պահանջը: Դրանք թույլ են տալիս գույքագրման արդյունավետ թվային կառավարում հետագծելու և հետագծելու հնարավորությունների և տվյալների անխափան փոխանակման համար հյուրընկալող WMS-ի և Ethernet կապի միջոցով կառավարելու համար:
  • Արագ տեղադրում և միացում
    Ի տարբերություն շատ ավանդական WMS-ների, որոնք պահանջում են երկարատև տեղադրումներ, վերջին WMS-ը, ինչպես Modula WMS-ը, ապահովում է տեղադրման արագ գործընթաց: Այն գալիս է ստանդարտ ինտերֆեյսներով՝ ընկերության ERP-ի հետ անխափան ինտեգրման համար, ինչը հնարավորություն է տալիս արագ և անվտանգ պատվերի և գույքագրման կառավարում Ethernet-ի միջոցով:
    Օգտագործելով WMS կապը և VLM-ների և HC-ների հնարավորությունները՝ ընկերությունները կարող են զգալիորեն բարելավել իրենց Smart Factory-ի գործառնությունների արդյունավետությունն ու արտադրողականությունը՝ հնարավորություն տալով նրանց մնալ մրցունակ այսօրվա արագ տեմպերով արտադրական լանդշաֆտում:

MODULA ցուցադրում
Սկուտեղի դասավորության գրաֆիկական ցուցադրումը հստակ ցույց է տալիս օպերատորին, որտեղ ցանկալի ապրանքը գտնվում է պահեստում:

Ընդգրկում է արդյունաբերության 4.0 և խելացի գործարանային լուծումները

Խելացի գործարանի նախաձեռնության իրականացումն ուղղված է արտադրության արդյունավետության ամենաբարձր մակարդակի հասնելուն:
Դրան հասնելու համար արտադրողները պետք է մշակեն անհատականորեն հարմարեցված և համապարփակ ներլոգիստիկ լուծումներ, որոնք առաջնահերթություն են տալիս անվտանգությանն ու ճկունությանը` վստահորեն մղելով նրանց դեպի իրենց թվային ապագան:

Այս էվոլյուցիայի կարևոր ասպեկտը փոխկապակցված ավտոմատացման լուծումների օգտագործումն է բազմաթիվ բաշխման գործընթացներում՝ հնարավորություն տալով անխափան արտադրական հոսք: Այս վերափոխման կենտրոնական տեղն է VLM-ների և HC-ների ինտեգրումը փոքր մասերի ավտոմատացված կատարման համար՝ հեղափոխելով Smart-ի արդյունավետությունն ու արտադրողականությունը: Գործարանային գործառնություններ

Հոդվածի աղբյուր modula.eu


Ապրանքներ, որոնք կարող են հետաքրքրել ձեզ.
MODULA ավտոմատացված պահեստավորման համակարգեր

Storage optimization specialists

Whether it’s eliminating waste by removing cumbersome warehouse processes or ensuring your warehouse employees are safe, lean warehousing is the solution to several different challenges in warehouse management.

Lean warehousing is an approach to warehouse management that eliminates warehouse processes or activities that use resources but do not create additional value, to help reduce waste and improve productivity.

This approach was initially developed in the manufacturing industry — in the automotive sector by Toyota — with a focus on reducing waste and improving efficiency.

Let’s take a manual picking process as an example. Manual picking requires your warehouse operators to use pick lists and navigate pick locations manually, which can be seen as wasteful, as it uses resources, such as time and labor, but it doesn’t add any value for your customer.

To resolve the wasted resources from manual picking, implementing the lean warehousing approach in this situation might mean taking advantage of automated picking solutions instead.

Lean warehousing means:

  • Improve productivity: Lean warehousing focuses on eliminating wasteful warehouse processes, such as overproduction and excess inventory storage. By identifying and eliminating non-value-added activities, productivity is improved.
  • Boost employee safety: Lean warehousing prioritizes workplace safety by utilizing automated vertical storage solutions to eliminate the need to reach high and low places, reducing both clutter and unsafe work practices.
  • Increase employee morale: Lean principles promote employee involvement and empowerment. By involving your employees in continuous improvement initiatives, you can boost retention rates and allow your employees to feel valued and motivated to contribute to the success of the warehouse.
  • Reduce downtime: By improving processes across your warehouse, you can reduce downtime and ensure your warehouse operations run smoothly.
  • Reduce the need for more storage space: Instead of moving to a bigger facility, implementing the lean approach to your existing warehouse allows you to optimize inventory levels and reduce excess stock. This, in turn, allows you to save on premium costs associated with warehouse expansion or leasing additional storage facilities.

Stacker crane automatic warehouse

How To Implement Lean Warehouse Management

Once you’ve nailed down the steps to achieving a lean approach, the next step is to implement best practices into your daily warehouse operations.

To fully integrate the lean warehousing approach:

1. Audit Your Warehouse Processes

Auditing your warehouse processes is key to identifying inefficiencies and areas that need improvement in your warehouse.

  • Define your objectives: These might include improving efficiency, reducing costs, ensuring safety compliance, enhancing customer service or identifying training needs. Clear objectives will help you focus on the audit.
  • Create an audit checklist: Develop a list of areas to examine based on your objectives. This might include inventory management, order picking, packing and shipping, equipment maintenance, space utilization and employee training.
  • Gather data: Utilize different methods to collect information, such as physical inspections, staff interviews, documentation review (like shipping records or safety logs) and data analysis (like order fulfillment times or error rates).
  • Analyze the data: Look for patterns that indicate a problem. For example, if there are frequent stockouts of specific items during a certain season, this might indicate inadequate stock of fast-moving items.
  • Benchmark your performance: Compare your performance against industry standards and/or against your past performance to look for areas that need improvement.
  • Provide recommendations: Based on your findings, recommend improvements. This might include changes to procedures, equipment, warehouse layout or employee training.
  • Present your findings: Prepare a report outlining your findings and recommendations, and present this to the relevant stakeholders.

2. Implement Just-in-Time (JIT) Inventory Management

Just-in-time (JIT) is a type of inventory management that requires you to work closely with suppliers to ensure that raw goods arrive as soon as production is scheduled to begin.

Implementing JIT inventory management allows you to boost efficiency, eliminate excess inventory and reduce storage costs — goals that are in line with lean manufacturing.

To implement JIT inventory management in your warehouse:

  • Collect historical sales data at a granular level (by consumer behavior or SKU, for example) to provide a detailed outline of your demand patterns.
  • Develop strong relationships with your suppliers and involve them in your planning process. Communicate your demand forecasts with your suppliers and ensure they can meet your requirements in terms of quantity, quality and timing.
  • Implement an inventory management software that automatically triggers purchase orders when your goods reach low inventory levels, so you don’t risk stockouts.

3. Train Your Warehouse Employees

Implementing lean warehousing requires changing processes and restructuring your employees’ mindsets.

Training your warehouse employees is key to ensuring that everyone understands the principles of lean manufacturing and how to put them into practice.

To train your employees on lean warehousing practices:

  • Provide a thorough orientation program for your new employees. The program might include an introduction to the principles of lean warehousing, for example, along with an overview of your company’s specific processes and procedures and a clear explanation of employee roles and responsibilities within the warehouse.
  • Offer specific training sessions focused on lean warehousing principles and practices, such as the 5S methodology, value stream mapping, waste reduction techniques, visual management and problem-solving tools for continuous improvement.
  • Provide hands-on training opportunities for your employees to apply lean concepts, such as mock simulations, role-playing exercises or actual work assignments.

Lean warehousing

4. Utilize Warehouse Automation

Automation can significantly improve efficiency and accuracy in your warehouse — characteristics that align with the lean approach.

Automated warehouse solutions include automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), robotic picking systems, and warehouse management systems (WMS) that can boost picking accuracy and speed.

As a leader in automated storage solutions and warehouse management systems, Modula provides advanced solutions that can enhance productivity, efficiency and picking accuracy — primary goals that align with the lean warehousing approach.

5. Utilize Continuous Improvement (Kaizen)

The lean journey doesn’t end once the initial improvements have been implemented — it’s a continuous process.

You can ensure continuous improvements by holding regular team meetings to discuss ideas or hosting formal kaizen events where your team works together to solve a particular problem.

For some years Modula has decided to equip itself with a Kaizen manager to monitor and improve company processes, with a view to continuous streamlining of processes.

Modula’s advanced storage solutions and warehouse management system allow you to implement a lean approach to your warehouse operations to optimize your storage space, improve your picking accuracy and boost your employee’s productivity and efficiency.

Article source modula.eu


Products that might interest you:
MODULA Automated Storage Systems

Storage optimization specialists

Automated warehouse management systems are designed to overcome some limitations of conventional systems by maximizing storage capacity in terms of efficiency, speed, space, precision and operating costs.

The main automatic warehouse management systems include:

Stacker crane automatic warehouse

Stacker crane automatic warehouse

In a stacker crane automatic warehouse, pallets are stored and handled by means of stacker cranes, and these operations are efficiently managed by means of the central WMS IT system.

The structure may be prefabricated or free-standing, can be very tall and is able to manage a large number of product codes.
The main benefits of stacker crane warehouses compared to conventional systems are:

  • Picking process speed: the goods are brought to the operator, reducing order fulfillment time
  • Space optimization: handling aisles are reduced to a minimum
  • High selectivity and high density
  • More control of products in store
  • Low operating costs

This type of automated warehouse provides a clear improvement in terms of storage efficiency and operating costs, although the initial investment is high.

Vertical lift module automatic warehouse

Vertical lift module automatic warehouse

Vertical buffer module, or Vertical Lift Module (VLM) automatic warehouses are leading-edge, compact automated storage structures which can be perfectly integrated with production processes and internal ERP systems.

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of a vertical automatic warehouse is the saving in floor space, which may be as high as 90%.
Compared to conventional models, management with a VLM also provides a sharp improvement in safety, speed and inventory precision, cutting time, costs and errors.
In other words, this is a real revolution in efficiency, the spread of which is perhaps only hampered by lack of awareness of the results and potentials of this particular automatic management model.

Those who are worried about having to stop or slow down production because they view automatic systems as complex and therefore think lengthy assembly time are required have no cause for concern.
The installation time for a vertical warehouse are very similar to those for conventional static solutions and the transition to automatic operation can also take place gradually.

The idea that automatic vertical warehouses cost a lot more than conventional solutions is another of the common misconceptions about automatic warehouses.
The investment is definitely not unaffordable and a rapid ROI is guaranteed.
In Italy, the option of “Hyper and Super Amortization” for tax purposes under the Industry 4.0 scheme makes the transition to automatic warehouse management even more financially attractive.

In other words, there are many reasons for investing in an automatic vertical warehouse.
Now let’s take a look at the differences between them and stacker crane warehouses.

Difference between stacker crane and vertical warehouses

The first difference between stacker crane and automatic vertical warehouses is that the latter do not need aisles for transporting goods, and all the space available is used for storage.

What’s more, any type of goods can be stored in a vertical warehouse, from heavy, bulky products to small parts, without the limitations imposed by pallets.
The automated system guarantees the optimization of spaces between trays, improving storage efficacy.

Article source modula.eu


Products that might interest you:
MODULA Automated Storage Systems

Storage optimization specialists

This is one of those activities that requires a significant investment in terms of time, money and resources, and too often one we approach reluctantly. However, good warehouse management can be fundamental to increasing your company’s productivity and efficiency, meeting customer demand and thus also increasing profits.

Whether the space is used to store raw materials, semi-finished products or finished products, a warehouse is not just a simple store for goods. Contrary to what you might think, your warehouse can play a truly crucial role in the correct functioning of your entire business.

Constantly keeping your warehouse in order is undoubtedly the first step to quicker order processing and faster shipment of goods, but this may still not be enough. To improve the performance of your company and make it truly competitive in the long term, it might be time to make a decisive move towards a complete warehouse reorganisation and define a whole series of specific activities aimed at improving logistics performance.

Modula storage system

Reorganising a warehouse: where to start?

If your aim is to have perfectly organised warehouse logistics which are able to support production without ever slowing it down and ensure more efficient management of incoming and outgoing goods, nothing can be left to chance and everything must be planned down to the smallest detail.

Where do you start when you are struggling to reorganise your warehouse? The first thing to do is to carry out a deep analysis of the situation so that you can have a complete overview of the problems to be solved, make the right assessments and then define a proper action plan. This will involve identifying the most effective solutions to adopt whilst keeping the characteristics and peculiarities of your business in mind.

For example, where there are problems related to a lack of space inside the warehouse, a business might opt to acquire a new area in which to store its goods. Another might find it more advantageous to arrange new storage systems such as VLMs which allow you to speed up and improve stock management. Yet another might find it more appropriate to install Cross Docking systems in order to speed up customer despatching and reduce the costs of storage to a minimum. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. That is why it’s important to find the right strategy that best suits your needs.

Improving logistics performance: two approaches

Only after having identified the problem can you proceed to define which strategy to adopt in order to improve warehouse management and make it more efficient. There are two paths you can take.
To obtain results which are constant over time (if modest), you can opt for a “Bottom Up” approach which involves performing small daily improvement actions in the warehouse, making the best use of existing resources.

If, however, it turns out that more radical changes are required, it might be better to opt for a “Top Down” approach which requires more extreme action to be taken and, above all, an investment in ad hoc technological solutions which will facilitate the full reorganisation of the warehouse and an improvement in logistics performance.

վերանորոգումից առաջ և հետո

Technological solutions: which ones to adopt to optimise space

Which tools do you need to acquire in order to improve warehouse logistics and which technological solutions should you invest in to best organise available space? Also in this instance there are two different types of approach to choose from.

Traditional warehouse models are still valid, such as the stacked warehouse, which, just like its name suggests, allows goods to be stacked one on top of the other; racking warehouse, in which products are placed on special racks; or cantilever warehouse, which allows particularly large items to be stored at height. However, to improve the safety of your storage space, facilitate stock management and speed up inventory operations, it may well be even more advantageous to invest in automated storage models, such as an automated stacker crane warehouse or a tray-based vertical warehouse which are very well suited to this purpose.

As an example, the stacker crane warehouse is the ideal solution for simplifying the picking and refilling of goods, reducing errors to a minimum. This system manages storage via a computerised system which guides the stacker crane through the warehouse’s internal spaces along a set of rails. The crane can reach great heights and also transport very heavy loads.

A vertical warehouse or VLM, however, is a goods management method in which raw materials, semi-finished products and finished products are stored vertically on internal trays, with a payload of over 900 kg, and where identifying and picking products is done with a simple click. This system has multiple advantages: it guarantees that different activities can be more efficiently coordinated, allows optimum standards of cleanliness and organisation, ensures significant space and time savings and greater safety for both operators working inside the warehouse and for the goods transiting through it.

How to choose the best solution for reorganising your warehouse

As we have already highlighted, each business is different and has its own peculiarities. This means that there is no absolutely best or worst approach: everything depends on the needs and requirements of your business.

Without doubt, anyone wishing to achieve better warehouse logistics should invest heavily in the initial analysis phase in order to ensure they have a complete understanding of what actually goes on inside their own business, immediately identify the most obvious problems, examine them carefully and identify the solutions best able to resolve them.

Any choice must be made by weighing up and considering a large number of variables, such as the company’s management model or the type of relationship established with suppliers. Only through a truly deep analysis is it possible to identify the best solution for each business.

There is a general tendency for people to wait for problems to manifest themselves and then try to solve them. However, this is a costly approach and one which eventually proves ineffective. It is therefore advisable to anticipate problems and arrange for improvement actions to be carried out in the warehouse according to a set schedule. This will address any little problems as they arise, at a time when they are still reasonably easy to handle.

Once problems in the warehouse are understood, and any related costs, equipment to implement and technological solutions to invest in have been carefully assessed, the best strategy for your business will not be difficult to find.

It is undeniable that the initial investment can turn out to be quite large, but it is an effort which is worth it and which will be amply rewarded.

Article source modula.eu


Products that might interest you:
MODULA Automated Storage Systems

Storage optimization specialists

Warehouse innovation is a continuous process that changes and evolves together with the company, which must be able to gradually adopt the tools, technologies and processes of Industry 4.0 according to the needs. On the other hand, a company that wants to remain competitive today must opt for innovative warehouse solutions that enable it to overcome the daily challenges of the supply chain, such as:

  • Disruptions in the supply chain itself
  • Sustainability
  • Labour shortages
  • Traceability.

Improving the logistical infrastructure of their warehouse and adopting the latest technological innovations enables companies to successfully deal with emerging problems, and also brings other internal benefits to the warehouse itself, such as:

  • Lower operating costs
  • Higher profitability
  • More efficient warehouse processes
  • Higher productivity
  • More safety in the workplace
  • Ability to handle peaks and troughs in demand.

Warehouse upgrade through automation is the best way to manage the volatility and variability of the different components of the supply chain. Innovation, in fact, allows possible future problems to be anticipated, strengthening supply chain resilience in advance, and avoiding unplanned changes made necessary by contingent events.

For many years now, Modula has helped companies improve their warehouse management with its automated vertical storage systems and other innovative technological solutions developed to meet the needs of every industry and adapt to any kind of issue.

Modula storage system

5 reasons why you should choose Modula solutions to innovate your warehouse

Are there other reasons to choose Modula over other solutions when it comes to innovating your warehouse? Yes, as many as five.

1. Modula solutions are cost-effective

Modula’s storage systems are among the most cost-effective solutions on the market for warehouse innovation and automation. The ROI is, in fact, only 12 to 18 months against an unmistakably lean process that includes:

  • Consulting, inspection and configuration
  • Commissioning
  • Basic staff training.

The cost-effectiveness of the Modula solution, compared to the technological offer, is confirmed by the fact that these storage systems are used in the most diverse business sectors, including hardware distribution, shops, and large industrial plants.

2. Modula solutions are scalable

Modula solutions can be adopted gradually without impacting the management process, and are scalable over time according to warehousing needs.

Modula’s sales staff will study the bestwarehouse configuration, also with a view to future scalability, evaluating additional placements and solutions. Thanks to this predictive approach, many customers have exponentially increased the number of Modula storage systems included in their operational flow without repercussions and slowdowns in daily operations.

Գործարկվում է մոդուլային պահեստավորման համակարգը

3. Modula solutions are easy to use

Modula solutions are easy to use and do not require any specific expertise. However, the purchase package includes basic training in the use of tools such as the Copilot Console, which features an intuitive touch screen interface from which all operations can be performed.

Many technologically advanced features are linked to the use of the Modula WMS software, which was completely designed and created in the company’s software department. To implement customized solutions, which are also created according to customer requirements,training courses and on-site training are offered to familiarize the customer with the full potential of the Modula WMS. The new Modula system will be operational and efficient, and the personnel trained, in no time at all.

4. Modula solutions meet the needs of every customer

Thanks to their flexibility, ease of operation, and scalability, Modula’s solutions are used and valued by more than 20,000 companies worldwide, with success stories from every sector. Over the years, this has also led us to deal with special and complex requirements for which we have developed special solutions.

The company constantly invests in R&D to be always ready to meet new demands and requirements.

5. Modula is an international company

Modula is present all over the world, not only with its sales network, but also with its customer service, offering on-site assistance and personalized and timely advice.

This proves our unwavering commitment to always being close to those who choose Modula, with quick and professional answers.

Are you ready to bring the efficiency of warehouse automation to your organization or do you want to keep innovating with advanced technological solutions? Contact us for a personalized consultation.

Article source modula.eu


Products that might interest you:
MODULA Automated Storage Systems

Storage optimization specialists

The logistics sector is in continuous evolution and in recent years has faced several problems and obstacles. The innovations and trends that will characterize logistics in 2023 are the direct response to those difficulties. There is no doubt that opportunities arise from crises and those who work in the management of supply chain operations are experiencing continuous transformations and adaptations resulting from past and emerging challenges.

In addition to the 2022 trends which continue to influence the sector, new challenges must be addressed, particularly related to:

  • uncertainty due to the continuing war in Ukraine
  • the ecological and environmental challenges due to climate change
  • the “crisis” of the just-in-time management paradigm.

It is therefore essential to understand the direction taken by innovation and current challenges: by focusing on these aspects, companies can develop a resilient supply chain, able to respond to market uncertainties without compromising their competitiveness. So, let’s take a look at the 8 trends that will stand out in the world of logistics in 2023.

1.Redefining the just-in-time model for managing supply chain disruptions

First the pandemic and then the war in Ukraine showed the weaknesses of just-in-time management, which is based on minimizing stock in favor of a continuous supply flow that prevents production from being interrupted.

In the context of international uncertainty of the last few years, in fact, the lean management model has shown how interconnection and interdependence between global operators can be put at risk by local issues. The effects of the pandemic and the war have spilled over the entire logistics chain, with delays in deliveries and rising prices.

Thus, the trend for 2023 is to redefine the just-in-time model to mitigate global interdependence through the increase of safety stock and the shortening of supply chains through reshoring and friendshoring strategies.

A Modula storage system is the ideal solution to support this trend, as it can be configured in terms of height, tray and bay dimensions, load capacity as well as number of trays and stations.

Warehouse transport

2. Optimizing warehouse space to reduce costs

As a result of the increased demand for safety stock, the demand for warehouse space is expected to grow in 2023. To keep costs sustainable, companies need to focus on further optimization of their storage space by investing in ad hoc solutions such as automated vertical storage systems, which provide:

  • significant floor space savings by making use of the vertical space available
  • an increase in the quantity of goods stored
  • a reduction in warehouse surface area for equal quantities of goods stored
  • an effective way to limit wasted space.

3. Automation of processes for smarter warehouses

In a critical, unpredictable and uncertain context like the present, companies need to be flexible and agile as they have never been before to maintain their competitiveness. For this purpose, digital systems must inevitably be adopted, as they are the starting point for automating many logistics processes.

Emerging technologies – such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and IoT solutions – reduce errors, improve inventory management and optimize warehouse logistics flows thanks to the automated collection and analysis of information. In fact, each Modula automatic storage system has its own Modula WMS management software, a state of the art application developed to optimize the performance of storage systems.

4. Data mining for predictive management and WMS in the cloud

The adoption of digital technologies generates a large amount of useful data for logistics operators. Those who take advantage of big data analysis through data mining will have an undisputable competitive advantage in 2023. In fact, through the computerized analysis of data it is possible to identify models, trends, and useful information to support companies in their decision-making processes.

Access to data-based information is just one of the strategic elements that will characterize the future of the logistics sector and enable the forecasting of demand, thus allowing stock to be adjusted and inventory to be optimized.

Among the technological solutions which, together with those illustrated above, will provide better control of warehouses and the best logistics practices, is the adoption of cloud-based warehouse management systems (WMS).

In this way, logistics operators have access to all the relevant information in real time, anywhere, and for all the storage systems managed, even those located in distant facilities. In addition to providing a complete view of stock, a cloud-based WMS offers greater system security and greater control over the important data from each storage system.

Warehouse transport

5. Automating material handling to compensate for labor shortages

The lack of manpower will continue to plague the logistics sector and thus be a constant trend in 2023. In this context, warehouse automation is no longer just a way to improve efficiency but also an effective solution to the shortage of warehouse operators.Today, the design of a storage system must provide for automation at its core, with the integration of robotic equipment to manage all the related storage, handling, picking and placing activities. The trend is to have increasingly automated storage systems where, alongside AMR robotic solutions, drones can also be integrated for the management of inventory, for example.

6. E-commerce growth thanks to IoT solutions and 3PL partners

Another trend that will continue to grow in 2023 is e-commerce, which translates into an increase in demand for logistics services. In e-commerce, more than in other areas, the speed of order fulfillment, flexibility in storage, and customer satisfaction are increasingly critical factors for success. E-commerce operators will be able to maintain their competitiveness in the future only by adopting digital, automated and advanced technological solutions in order to make their warehouses more efficient, or by choosing to entrust the logistics, storage, preparation and transport of their orders to modern third-party logistics partners (3PL).

7. Green logistics and environmental sustainability

In 2023, one of the challenges for the logistics sector is to become increasingly sustainable (given the fact that it is, to date, one of the largest producers of CO2 emissions) in order to comply with the regulations in place as well as to meet the expectations of consumers.

To do this, it will be necessary to invest in alternative fuels and green mobility, packaging made with recycled or renewable materials, and the optimization of processes and warehousing procedures aimed at reducing “empty” trips, increasing storage capacity, and further developing the network of temporary consolidation points.Given that the demand for logistics services is not likely to decrease, it is vital that operators move quickly towards more environmentally sustainable solutions.

8. Increased security and traceability with blockchain technology

As noted, sustainability is an ever more important issue for consumers, who want to know the origin of the products they buy. From this point of view, in 2023 the use of blockchain technology will continue growing to ensure traceability and verification throughout the supply chain. Another advantage of blockchain technology applied to logistics is the reduction of the risks of fraud and data breach during transactions.

Reorganizing warehousing activities to meet the challenges of the logistics sector

2023 will once again see the logistics sector caught between economic uncertainties and international political instability. At the same time, trends have emerged that will guide logistics operators in the years to come, such as digital innovation and ecological transition.

Article source modula.eu


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MODULA Automated Storage Systems

Storage optimization specialists

Behind every delivery, every package and every order are the operators who have to handle constant increases in stock levels, deliver speedily and without making mistakes, all with no increase in the workforce or the footprint of their warehouses.

Is there an ideal way to optimise these actions? Unfortunately not, no solution can solve everything with a click of the fingers. Actually, a warehouse survives on processed that are all intertwined with each other; to improve management and therefore increase numbers of shipments, or speed them up, a company needs to focus on the processes with the most impact, i.e. their strategy.

One strategic process is warehouse slotting, a method to organise warehouse space that can contribute to improving efficiency and productivity in all sectors and all companies, especially if they are equipped with automation systems such as automated vertical warehouses.

What is warehouse slotting and how is it useful

What is warehouse slotting and how is it useful

One of the processes with the greatest impact on operational management in the field of storage is the slotting of the warehouse. This logistics sequence optimises space, distance between items and the selection of materials and options in order to improve picking performance.

Efficient space management is essential in a warehouse and, as a rule, this is based on the correct placement of stock-keeping units (SKUs), each of which must be in its optimal slot to facilitate the work of the warehouse staff.

In turn, each slot is either fixed or random, depending on company requirements.

Fixed slotting is an inventory splitting method, used for products always kept in the same location. Random slotting tends to be used for products that are assigned to the first available picking zone.

Typically, fixed slotting is reserved for fast-moving or high-turnover items, whereas random slotting is used for items with a lower turnover.

Warehouse slotting: why?

Decisions on how to organise a warehouse frequently focus on the lowest possible running costs, by optimising picking locations. It results in better positioning of products in the picking area, fewer movements and less time wasted. It results in mapping and analysing logs and warehouse activities in order to understand which products to keep close and in which part of the warehouse.

There is always a golden zone in every warehouse, characterised by stock locations housing the most commonly moved items, i.e. those with the highest turnover. If this golden zone is compact in size, picking operations are immediately optimised.

The person optimising slotting normally bases their actions on position analyses and the ABC classification system used in logistics units. A good slotting analysis offers great savings in terms of warehouse management, as travel and picking times can be modified to improve picking times and efficiency will undoubtedly improve. The crucial point is in seeking to reduce as far as possible the total cost of picking and refilling your warehouse.

Slotting in action

How can automation optimise warehouse organisation?

From reducing travel time to increasing workplace safety, warehouse splitting – combined with the introduction of automated equipment – is key to optimising inventory management for four reasons.

1 – Reduction in travel time

The routine of a warehouse operator includes searching for products within the warehouse so they can pick them; as such, stock location is essential to reduce the time required to pick products ready for shipment.
Warehouse slotting proves useful in situations like these: goods sold in a short time can be stored near the shipping area, resulting in faster picking and refilling.

A Modula automated warehouse is a clear example of an efficiency saving: travel time is virtually eliminated by having a concentrated golden zone in the warehouse. Reordering costs are then also easy to predict when you already have all picking, refilling and consumption of materials under control.

2 – Improvements in safety

As in any other workplace, accidents can unfortunately occur in a warehouse. Whether an operator might carelessly trip over a product left on the floor or be hit by an item falling off a shelf, a warehouse can be a breeding ground for injuries if goods are not stored properly.

Primarily, Modula automated warehouses store all products in trays and therefore prevent the risk of sudden falls from shelves. They also mean lighter goods can be stored at a higher level with heavier items lower down, which ensures a balanced and safer storage area.

3 – Improvements in goods handling

The estimated value of all global returns made in Europe in 2020 was €490 billion, as shown in a recent study by Twenga, comparing percentages of orders and returns in European countries. The research also highlighted the differences in digital buyers’ approaches to returning goods.

The highest numbers of returns were recorded in Germany (53%), followed by the Netherlands (52%), France (45%), Italy (43%), Spain (43%), the UK (40%), Belgium (38%) and Poland (32%).

With vertical warehouses, returns due to picking errors reduced exponentially; all it takes to reduce return rates and therefore improve customer satisfaction is to store the items in the right position (e.g. refrigerated containers for perishable foods).

Proper space division can improve the goods handling process. In an organised warehouse, the staff mainly work on picking, which adds value. They are not required to walk up and down the aisles searching for products, as automated vertical warehouses know the precise location of the items. As a result, they are more focused and make fewer picking mistakes; inventory management processes are also quicker, easier and more efficient.

4 – Maximisation of storage

Warehouse space in Italy can cost between €50 and €60 per square metre: in Milan, €55 per m2 per year; in Rome, €56 per m2 per year; in Florence, an average of €50 per m2 per year.

London, Paris and the cities of northern Europe are much more expensive, whereas costs can be lower in Poland, other countries in eastern Europe and Spain.

By designing and building efficient warehouse splitting, companies can save valuable space and focus operations in a smaller area closer to where they are needed. Of course, this contributes to reductions in total running costs, or can prevent needing to move to a larger warehouse.

The net capacity of an automated vertical warehouse in the case of, for example, increasing slot volumes is very high, and detailed mapping of trays and their splitting into compartments using dividers and partitions results in levels of space optimisation that would be unthinkable with racking, shelving, mezzanines or traditional warehouse types.

You can think in terms of a golden zone and slotting even within the details of the warehouse itself: let’s imagine that we have the most frequently picked items (or those with the highest turnover) in the middle of a tray in an automated warehouse (also known as a vertical lift module). This means that they are in the closest part of the tray to the operator, which is therefore the easiest part to access. The distance an operator’s arm can reach and the tray depth are now variables to add into the equation used when positioning products.

The use of bins, containers or metal dividers to create multiple and highly detailed compartments can make picking operations even more efficient. These systems are normally used as part of WMS, but can also be used as modules alongside WMS as part of automated processes or manual preparation.

Automation and slot optimisation strategy

Warehouse organisation requires the constant gathering of information on consumer behaviour, data analysis and changes to inventory layout when required.

Using a Modula solution, together with logical slot optimisation, is an excellent choice to ensure appropriate development of warehouse dynamics, resulting in benefits from the perspective of both productivity and safety.

The user can monitor stock levels in real time, speed up order resolution times for both picking and replenishment, and avoid the accidental release of incorrect, obsolete, expired or pending products.

Article source modula.eu


Products that might interest you:
MODULA Automated Storage Systems

Storage optimization specialists

Logistics is a broad and multi-faceted topic which has been expanding in recent years and increasingly incorporates automated solutions that are changing the scenario in which companies are moving and will have to move.
Many terms are used every day and often taken for granted: among these, the expression “Supply Chain” is sometimes confused with or mistakenly used in place of other terms.

For this article, we went to interview Pamela Catrambona, Modula Spa Production Planning Manager, not only to talk about what the Supply Chain actually is but also to learn how it is managed at Modula, a company that has made logistics its core business.

Alberto Hausmann – Modula Spa Supply Chain Manager

1. What is a Supply Chain and what is the difference between Supply Chain and Logistics?

Corporate Logistics means the management of the flows of goods (and the related information) within a company; Supply Chain Management means the management of flows throughout the supply chain (supplier – manufacturer – distributor) or at least between manufacturer and distributor. They are very different things, although the second is an extension of the first.

It should also be said that today the term Supply Chain Management is widely used to refer to Company Logistics or, at most, Integrated Logistics, while the term Logistics is once again being used with its original meaning of “warehouses and transport”, which is the reason why transport companies are referred to as Logistics companies.

The very concept of “Logistics” has changed over time.
In fact, the word “Logistics”, which was once identified with “Distributive Logistics”, thus something purely physical, now encompasses a wider concept, similar to that of “Supply Chain”.

There are, of course, various topics on which operators focus their attention.
In the 1980s the emphasis was mainly on optimizing transport costs and occupying less space, as well as on the inevitable improvement of physical flows.
In the 1990s the importance of the flow of information began to be understood and therefore, while the first information systems dedicated to logistics and warehousing were slowly making their appearance, the interest in issues such as the organization of processes, the strategic role of logistics choices, and the importance of customer care grew significantly.

Thus today we speak of “Logistics” as a “Chain”, more specifically, the “Supply Chain”.
The hot topics currently include:

  • integration upstream and downstream in the supply chain
  • the segmentation of customers according to logistics management principles
  • flexibility
  • the logistics price list differentiated according to the services promised to the customer.

All very important issues which Modula tries to address in its ongoing effort toward improvement.

2. What is Supply Chain Management and what departments does it involve?

Supply Chain Management is the single channel management that is created by organizing the flow resulting from sales and centralizing inventory management. For example, sales outlets pass information to the distribution centers regarding sales, the distribution centers pass it on to the manufacturers and consequently replenish their supplies with batches intended to last for a few days, based on what has been sold or is expected to be sold.

The logic behind Supply Chain Management is that the market must condition production and not vice versa: that is, you buy or produce what you expect to sell rather than having to sell what you bought or produced.

3. What competitive advantage does this lead to?

It puts the customer at the center, with the goal of providing quality services.

4. Who is the Supply Chain Manager and what do they do?

Success requires great determination on the part of the companies in the supply chain as well as a supply chain manager at the managerial level, with a unified vision of the entire process.

The supply chain manager is the conductor of an orchestra where:

  • procurement is the brass instruments
  • logistics is the woodwind instruments
  • customers are the percussion instruments
  • and production is the bowed string instruments.

5. What are the objectives of the Supply Chain?

My favorite is the “8 R” definition, which reads:

  • Right material
  • Right quantity
  • Right quality
  • Right place
  • Right time
  • Right method
  • Right cost
  • Right impression

6. What equipment does a Supply Chain require?

Software and hardware. Intelligence and electromechanics

Depending on the complexity of the chain, the following could be useful or sometimes even indispensable:

Investments in equipment can also be more or less complex:

7. What are the elements that characterize the supply chain and its potential advantages?

As noted, there are some factors that deserve particular attention and which are often critical for a good Supply Chain these days.

Supply Chain Management operators must aim at integrating processes and all the parties involved while putting the customer at the center. In this way, all waste and any inefficiencies are limited.

8. How is the supply chain organized at Modula?

The pandemic led us to upgrade our supply chain. We went from “just in time” production to a “just in case” paradigm.

Starting from the assumption that we produce on a two/three-week schedule, we freeze production weeks and establish ahead of time what machines, and for what customers, will be produced in those slots.

We know that on day X at Y time a specific Modula model will be produced with a specific serial number for a specific customer. It is true that while our product is standard, it has thousands of possible configurations in terms of height, tray width, depth, capacity and number of trays.

Our production system is 99% in-house, except for the electrical panels and lifts. In order to prevent production downtime, we have developed and optimized contracts with our main suppliers to ensure that the material we need is always available. To achieve this, we guarantee our suppliers a large number of orders.

Our suppliers, in addition to guaranteeing deliveries, also operate as logistics hubs, delivering the material when necessary for production. This also protects us from contextual problems such as those we experienced in recent years, one of them being Covid.

Our supply chain is based on four steps to be implemented in sequence: SELL – PRODUCE – SHIP – INSTALL.

All this is possible thanks to highly digitized systems and software applications that allow us to remotely monitor every production step. This minimizes errors in real time, preventing non-compliances and any need for disposal.

Article source modula.eu


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MODULA Automated Storage Systems

Storage optimization specialists

Logistics and supply chain are increasingly moving towards automation, which is playing a decisive role in warehouse reorganisation.

The adoption of an automatic vertical warehouse is related to the “goods-to-man” concept, making access to products to be picked up and deposited much easier and safer.

The goods are transported within the warehouse and are brought to the right height for people, whereas operators used to have to move between shelves, mezzanines and ladders to pick up what they needed.

Not to be confused with automatic stacker warehouses, automatic vertical warehouses consist of a central elevator and several trays, which move on the vertical and horizontal axes to bring them to operator height. To be used in different business areas, goods and semi-finished/finished products are placed in the trays.

Automatic warehouses represent the evolution of working conditions in terms of ergonomics and safety, although they definitely also have other benefits.

First of all, they were invented to save space, given that taking advantage of unit height results in savings in floor surface area of almost 90%.

Some warehouses – such as the Modula Lift – can reach up to 16 metres in height and can contain up to 90,000 kg of goods, with a footprint of 14 m2.

By making the most of unit height of the premises in complete safety, space therefore becomes a new resource to be used for other activities and offers the option of savings in terms of rent and purchase of company premises.

Modula anti-seismic solutions also secure warehouses in areas at high risk of earthquakes; various tests have already been completed in conjunction with the Eucentre Foundation research centre in Pavia.

Not only do automatic warehouses save time and money, above all they represent automation, which translates into safety for operators but also for the goods. When stored in the warehouse, they are kept safe from theft, damage, dust and harm caused by external agents.

As the warehouse is closed and only transports materials to the bay when required, Modula protects everything held inside and also avoids contamination of all kinds.

This is exactly why it has proved to be the best choice for companies in the electronic, electrical, chemical and food industries.
The products are also all tracked, and every movement is recorded, so it is always easy to trace the handling of each item.

HOW AUTOMATIC WAREHOUSES WORK

A vertical warehouse is an automatic storage system, designed to make the most of the height of premises while occupying minimal space on the floor.

The system saves up to 90% of floor space compared to traditional warehouses and stores up to 90,000 kg of goods in special trays.

This structure, known as a vertical lift module (VLM), takes the form of a “tower” and consists of three columns: one in the front, another in the back and a third in the middle.

The system is based on the “goods-to-man” concept and is therefore automatically available to the operator, improving picking operations and reducing the work and time required for order preparation.

In practice, the goods are initially stored in the trays in a smart manner, which also takes into consideration the optimisation of the space between the trays.

Once the products have been added to the vertical cabinet, the Modula system uses dynamic tray height storage to minimise the space between the trays in relation to the height of the stored material. In practice, the drawers are adjusted to leave as little empty space as possible between one tray and the next.

The trays are located in front of and behind the central column of the elevator, which moves up and down depending on the tray to be picked up or repositioned.

Using the automatic, user-friendly Copilot touchscreen console, the operator calls the tray to the bay and picks up the material they need according to the picking or deposit action they are taking. Once this operation is complete, the warehouse moves independently and offers the goods in the bay at operator height, guaranteeing full ergonomics and safety.

With an external bay, picking is really convenient; for double bays (internal or external), several operations can be carried out at once to speed up picking. As one tray arrives in the operator bay, another can move within the warehouse to prepare for the next picking, which increases efficiency and eliminates downtime.

When storing materials, the process is the same.
Each time an operation is performed – via the automatic console – the operator can confirm the action and keep track of all activities completed. To improve movement and access tracking, access can be managed or limited using passwords, RFID or badges, for full tracking of all actions taken on the goods.

GROWTH IN AUTOMATION, LOWER RISK IN THE WORKPLACE

The growth forecasts in the automation market are for more than double from 2019 to 2025, courtesy of major factors in overall growth, the incredible expansion of e-commerce and the increase in warehouse labour costs.

As warehouse operations are critical to the success of any supply chain-centric business – especially low-margin, high-volume operations such as e-commerce and retail, competitiveness comes down to the throughput and accuracy of picking as well as the acquisition of technologies and automations within the warehouse.
There are no ready-made solutions in this case, rather only automatic solutions, customised on the basis of the client’s requirements and their workflow.

A consideration of warehouse automation must relate to how essential it is for the future of all businesses. As well as ensuring safety and social distancing, automation processes represent an investment with one of the highest ROI.
The system chosen by a retailer will depend on the productivity they are looking for and the range of SKUs on offer, as well as on the level of organisational flexibility they wish to see in a warehouse.

The purpose of the acquisition of warehouse automation is to reduce the margin of error in processes: according to research conducted by PwC, companies using AI and innovative data analysis methodologies can reduce supply chain costs by 6.8%, increasing revenues by 7.7%.

A consideration of automation must also relate to Logistics 4.0, i.e. machines that can collect data and transmit them using their connections.

So, what does it mean to innovate in the supply chain using automation?

  • higher speed and efficiency
  • improvements throughout production
  • more efficient handling of semi-finished products and raw materials
  • capacity to evaluate an increasing quantity of data
  • tracking of all movements of the warehouse itself
  • rapid fault detection.

The sum of these benefits results in drastic reductions in companies’ logistics costs, by around 25-30% according to experts.

Scientific reasoning has converged on the idea of investing in warehouses and automation.

A publication by Public Health England has shown that a disorganised environment hinders creativity and can lead to dissatisfaction at work.

The same article noted that improving employees’ work environment can also be reflected in the brand. In addition to motivation, well-organised warehouses are safer, given that they reduce the risk of accidents in the workplace.

There is therefore no doubt in the consideration all older, more traditional – and, let’s say, “manual” – warehouses and logistics systems are destined to be slowly abandoned in favour of automation and all of its resulting benefits.

Beyond the contingent and tangible benefits in terms of efficiency and ROI, there are also collateral advantages to warehouse automation. We need to think in visionary terms about the factory of the future.

Automation also means connecting the various automations with a view to M2M and to real machines and systems that communicate with each other, not only for greater and safer integration between hardware and software but also for precise monitoring of processes, devices, servers and data.

The information is not only collected, it is then analysed and streamlined, in particular in the name of predictive maintenance to anticipate faults or malfunctions, prevent production downtime and report the issue ahead of the failure.

Artificial intelligence, connectivity and versatility result in improved use of resources (including people) and greater competitiveness.

The use of automated equipment and robotics not only improves performance and speed, it also has a major environmental impact.

First of all, it can reduce energy costs (bear in mind that a VLM consumes approximately 0.3 kWh less energy than a hair dryer).

Robots can work in “more difficult” conditions than humans, requiring less light and heating, and they also require less energy.

Equipment designed for waste management or pallet recycling will normally be included in an automated system, which requires less effort and labour for its effective management.

Article source modula.eu


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MODULA Automated Storage Systems

Storage optimization specialists

Green agenda, net zero emissions and the environment: The future of automated logistics

Kearney, the well-known US research and consulting firm, estimates that 80% of consumers assess the environmental impact of their purchases. A sustainable approach is a complex but necessary path to take. In addition, this is true not only for individuals, but also for companies and corporations, which are paying increasing attention to sustainability.

We cannot ignore this trend and, while for some time now there has been talk of separate waste collection, energy reduction (a vertical storage system consumes only 1.2 kWh) and the reduction of the so-called carbon footprint, today we must broaden our view. Switching to LED lamps or streamlining production as well as upgrading HVAC systems is not enough. For business leaders, making decisions regarding corporate sustainability has become a more complex process nowadays, one that must take into consideration many new factors.

All companies, especially those operating in manufacturing and distribution, are developing strategies to align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Therefore, sustainability becomes an integral part of strategic planning, which involves all of the main business activities, from operations within the plant to process functions.

That’s why this is the right time to rethink the environmental impact of your warehousing operations.
Choosing to automate storage systems is not only the most appropriate solution to improve your company’s logistics processes, but it can also be an environmentally friendly decision for a more sustainable future.

Distribution and the 3 essential elements in warehouse sustainability

This issue is especially relevant for supply chain companies. In its recent State of Logistics Report 2022, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), the leading professional association for the promotion and dissemination of research and knowledge on supply chain management, indicated that: “industrial, manufacturing and logistics companies, as major consumers of energy and historical sources of carbon emissions in the global economy, must play a leading role with regard to sustainability. Better synchronized supply chains, aligned with shared sustainability goals, are essential to achieve greenhouse gas reduction goals.”

Did you know that freight transport is a major contributor to global carbon dioxide emissions? And that warehouses, especially those with refrigeration, are among the most energy-intensive industrial structures on the planet?

According to Cascade Energy, an industrial energy management company, energy consumption is the second highest operating expenditure in refrigerated facilities, preceded only by labour costs. Imagine the impact this can have on food and food distribution warehouses, where refrigeration consumes about 50% of total energy, a value that reaches 65-75% in fully refrigerated facilities.

We are therefore faced with a great challenge: on the one hand, warehouses must become larger to meet the ever-increasing growth objective and the ever-increasing demand; on the other hand, it is necessary to reduce costs, especially in the current economic situation, as well as the environmental impact of distribution operations.

What does it mean to make a warehouse sustainable? What are the steps to take?

Let’s start from the 3 cornerstones of sustainability, those that should guarantee the new generations a future with the same or a greater level of well-being while protecting the planet and the environment.

Environmental pillar, social pillar and economic pillar:

  • a) Environmental pillar: initiatives aimed at reducing the company’s carbon footprint.
  • b) Social pillar: initiatives aimed at promoting the well-being, health, and safety of employees and customers.
  • c) Economic pillar: initiatives aimed at ensuring the prosperity of the company while achieving positive results on both the environmental and the social front.

What steps can be taken to improve the environmental impact of logistics?

Order fulfillment activities can be made more sustainable through a series of transformations. In this case, we are talking about a real change towards sustainability that introduces automated picking solutions into company logistics.

For the fulfillment of orders of small quantities, the “goods to person” principle becomes a necessary approach, in fact it is widely used in the context of automated warehousing. It is the goods which move towards the operator, in an automated, innovative and high-performance flow that greatly improves the order preparation process.

The real advantage of automated order fulfillment lies in that goods can be stored in a reduced space while picking and order preparation are much easier for the operator, who remains in an almost stationary position.

This is optimal for picking activities, in fact in this phase operators are more efficient compared to when they have to move around the warehouse to look for the ordered products.

Let’s analyze two automated storage systems based on the “goods to person” concept and take a look at how they comply with the requirements of the “Three Pillars of Sustainability.”

  1. Modula Automatic Vertical Lift Module (VLM)
  2. Modula Horizontal Carousel (HC)

Being able to handle thousands of different items, Modula’s automatic vertical and horizontal storage solutions allow goods to be stored, picked, and packed with a very high level of efficiency, while simultaneously supporting sustainability.

Pillar 1: Vertical storage systems and environmental sustainability

Let’s see how Modula automatic vertical and horizontal storage systems are designed to support environmental sustainability.

Space and storage optimization

Modula automatic vertical and horizontal storage systems are the sustainable solution par excellence, thanks to their ability to optimize space. With Modula automatic storage systems, storage in tight and compact spaces becomes possible. The footprint of goods in a Modula storage system is significantly reduced, up to 90%. As a result, it is possible to concentrate logistics operations in a small area, improving the flow of activities and speeding up all related operations. In addition, the need to store goods in locations away from the company’s premises is reduced.

If we pay attention to the structure of automatic vertical storage systems, we can see that one of its most relevant features is the possibility of storing goods up to 16 meters from ground level, taking advantage of the space available between the floor and the ceiling. The space inside an automatic vertical storage system is also designed to ensure maximum capacity. In fact, the trays inside the machine can be used up to 90% of their capacity, roughly twice the 40% capacity usually taken up in traditional racking systems.

Modula automatic vertical and horizontal storage systems are designed to be scalable and modular. Thanks to these characteristics, their configuration can be easily changed, and the storage structure can be larger or smaller according to the specific needs of the company.

These storage solutions can thus adapt, for example, to production needs or vary according to the number of SKUs to be handled, both in the case of storage at room temperature and in the case of storage at a controlled temperature to 0°C, which is one of the most energy-consuming processes.

In general, therefore, storing goods while making better use of space means building less, having a smaller impact on the environment and certainly polluting less.

Energy savings and recovery

In the context of the growing interest in energy management and the continuous search for energy saving solutions, Modula automatic vertical and horizontal storage systems can be the right answer.

The overall energy consumption is very low (about 1 kWh for the Modula Slim) and consumption only starts when the operator calls a tray to the bay. In fact, the automatic storage systems are electrically inactive the rest of the time, with stand-by consumption close to zero. Modula storage systems are also designed for energy recovery, in fact, if equipped with Modula Green – an energy recovery device consisting of an inverter that generates energy from the downward movement of the lift – they recover the energy to power the machine. Indeed, the kinetic energy produced by the descending lift is transformed into electricity, which is then used for the ascending movement. With Modula Green, energy savings reach 40%

Elimination of CO2 emissions from forklifts

With automatic vertical and horizontal storage systems, forklifts are no longer necessary, and their emissions are also eliminated. Thanks to the goods to person paradigm, movements around the warehouse are significantly reduced, as is the need for tools like forklifts and AGVs, which can largely be eliminated along with their recharging or refueling stations.

Pillar 2: Vertical storage systems and social sustainability

What benefits can people obtain from automatic vertical and horizontal storage systems?

1) Better working conditions

Automatic storage system operators can benefit from a substantial improvement in their working conditions, in particular with regard to health, well-being and safety. We can classify these 3 benefits as social sustainability factors, not always recognized as such, but noteworthy nonetheless.

The following is an overview of the activities that are actually improved by the use of automatic storage systems:

In automatic storage systems, stored goods are inventoried in real time. Thus, we can say that the goods placed in the machine are almost digitalized, since stock is recorded via software or interfaced with the management system and this undoubtedly translates into less waste.
When the order is processed, the storage system automatically transfers the goods to an ergonomic workstation/area, where they are picked by the operator from compartmentalized trays. This increases productivity: the operator no longer has to move around the warehouse, saving time and energy.
Operators receive the goods without being exposed to moving parts and do not need to handle heavy loads or operate machinery. The automatic storage system trays arrive at the workstation at an ergonomic height, suitable for picking.

2) Picking optimization

Ensuring high productivity levels in terms of picking is one of the objectives of anyone managing a warehouse. With Modula systems, products can even be taken from trays using bar codes: in this case, a Copilot console with a user-friendly interface assists the operator. This system ensures that the correct item is delivered to the operator for the fulfillment of the order: there is no need to move around the warehouse to find the required goods, to the full benefit of productivity and efficiency, which increase significantly while picking errors decrease.

Picking errors can be further reduced thanks to the use of simple visual aids. These tools, which include laser pointers, external picking monitors, put to light, and LED bars, are designed to help the operator to easily identify the items to be picked or those running out.

More efficient picking requires even more innovative solutions: to increase the performance of automatic storage systems, it is possible to combine multiple picking centers, for example using automatic horizontal carousels.

With Modula’s WMS software, users can prepare sets of orders to be fulfilled simultaneously, with some essential benefits:

  • productivity increased up to 65%
  • increased accuracy in order preparation
  • reduction of picking times.

An interesting fact, related to the improvement of picking operations, makes the incredible advantages of automatic storage systems immediately clear: the shelves of a traditional racking system allow a picking operator to pick up to about 40 order lines per hour. With Modula automatic vertical and horizontal storage systems, the picking speed can reach an astonishing 150-250 lines per hour. This simple fact demonstrates how a single person can do the work previously done by 3 or 4 workers.

Pillar 3: Automatic vertical and horizontal storage systems: Their effect on the economic sustainability of warehousing activities

Economic sustainability, which concerns activities aimed at ensuring business success while taking care of the environment, is the last pillar that we will consider in our analysis. Modula’s automatic vertical and horizontal storage solutions offer immediate advantages such as those presented below.

1) Reduced storage and transportation costs

Costs due to off-site storage facilities or arising from freight transport operations between different locations are drastically reduced or eliminated. Less space is needed, in some cases even reaching a reduction of 90%.

2) Fewer returns

There are many advantages resulting from storage and order management solutions designed according to ergonomic principles. The achievement of better working conditions, one of the most immediate effects, leads to benefits such as the reduction of turnover and of sick days per individual employee. Picking operations also become more efficient and accurate, because they are supported by aids that:

  • make picking more accurate;
  • reduce errors in order preparation;
  • reduce returns;
  • lower the additional costs associated with packaging waste and shipments;
  • improve the company’s brand image.

3. Improved security

The more careful management of storage prevents regrettable and unfortunate situations which even the most stringent safety procedures have not yet been able to eliminate, for example:

  • goods (even highly valued) sent to the wrong destination;
  • circulation of the wrong products;
  • circulation of expired or obsolete products;
  • circulation of products not yet released to the public.

The implementation of access tracking and access through user authentication by means of EKS, RFID and badge readers, make storage environments even more secure and protected; even individual products can be made accessible only to authorized personnel.

If we focus on the software developed for storage management, we can note that the WMS can keep track of the SKUs stored in the relevant storage units. Inbound and outbound goods are continuously tracked and the stock is always synchronized with the relevant databases as a result of continuous monitoring that also simplifies the inventory process, saving time and resources.

Conclusions

Sustainability is one of the main strategic objectives for many companies as part of the actions aimed at growth and global competitiveness. From the initial small group of “green” companies, the new sustainable approach has now expanded to companies from numerous industrial sectors.

Attention to technological evolution as well as economic and social factors is the foundation of modern automated storage solutions like those developed and manufactured by Modula.

Article source modula.eu


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