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Shuttles Deliver Goods-to-operator Efficiencies

Shuttles Deliver Goods-to-Operator Efficiencies

   Rick Graff

Shuttles Deliver Goods-to-Operator Efficiencies

It’s a common sight in a distribution center (DC): employees pushing carts throughout the warehouse — all shift long. What if these same employees could maintain consistent picking productivity during that time, or complete tasks that support faster and more efficient throughput?

Today’s DC managers face ongoing struggles: labor shortages, SKU proliferation, inventory storage costs and rising customer expectations. These demands require robust solutions.

Send a shuttle

Shuttle systems, also known as automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), are delivering goods-to-operator (GTO) efficiencies — and much more.

Rather than an operator-to-goods scenario, AS/RS work on a GTO basis, utilizing a rail system capable of traveling between racks to fetch and retrieve products.

In an each-picking scenario, the shuttle brings a tote to an operator who removes the correct quantity before the shuttle returns the tote to the racks. Shuttles can be used for case picking as well, whereby product travels via shuttle from inventory (or temporary storage) to palletizing and then to shipping, often enabling a shipping buffer or cross-dock configuration.

Higher throughputs and SKU counts necessitate additional storage space. AS/RS addresses this concern, too, maximizing facility storage capacity to save on building and expansion costs.

Inaccuracies add up

Escalating order demands can increase the potential for costly mistakes. For example, a DC with a 5 percent error rate and a 2,000-item throughput per day will face significantly more unhappy customers if its throughput increases to 20,000 items per day. Shuttles help to reduce inaccurate picking, keeping errors and reverse logistics costs to a minimum.

Experts at Honeywell Intelligrated can help determine a best-fit shuttle system for you by evaluating your building volume, number of SKUs and their frequency, and daily throughput rates.

Although AS/RS shuttles are a higher-value investment, they’re not just for DCs with the highest throughput; DCs of any size can realize payback.

Honeywell Intelligrated’s GTO shuttle systems offer a higher payload (the ability to handle more weight) and also travel deeper into racks. Our AS/RS shuttle solutions deliver focused, high-powered fulfillment automation for a variety of business requirements.

Watch our video to see how our AS/RS solutions can benefit your DC.

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