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Holste's "Sorting it Out" Blog

DC Automation – Pros & Cons


Complexity & Justification Still Major Concerns

 
Holste

After spending 2 days at ProMat 2015 (please see our video recaps Day 1 & Day 2) speaking with logistics professionals (visitors and exhibitors) operational complexity, risk, and cost justification still appear to be among the major stumbling blocks for adoption of automation in the DC. However, digging a little deeper, there appears to be a lack of confidence in the reliability of technically complex automated operations. This is especially true when it comes to automated order fulfillment technologies, which attracted much attention at the show. We were reminded by one skeptical operations manager that no matter what type system or equipment problems may arise – customer orders must be shipped on schedule each and every day.

While it is generally recognized that DC automation is beneficial many operations managers fear that once installed, depending on system complexity, there may be no way to quickly recover from system design or operational deficiencies that are likely to surface at some point. They struggle to understand how a bolt-to-the-floor, fixed path order fulfillment system can be designed to adequately service customer order profiles and SKU mix that are frequently changing.

There appears to be several factors that contribute to this concern...

More

Cliff Holste is SCDigest's Material Handling Editor,
and author of our Sorting it Out Column/Blog
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