“Why We Implemented An ASRS.” End Users Discuss The Benefits Of Automated Storage And Retrieval

Implementing automated storage and retrieval systems, also known as AS/RS or ASRS, offers a broad variety of benefits to warehousing, fulfillment and distribution operations. Which is why their use is expected to grow by 7.37% to $9.18 Billion by 2023 as more and more operations recognize the value they bring.

Computer-controlled, these systems — including horizontal and vertical carousels, vertical lift modules (VLMs), mini-load ASRS, unit-load ASRS, shuttles, and cube-based storage — automatically place loads in precise storage locations, then quickly and accurately retrieve them as needed. They deliver required items directly to pickers, making the majority of them a goods-to-person solution.

The uptick in investment in ASRS has largely been driven by increasing demands from e-commerce and omni-channel fulfillment customers for more choices in product selection, error-free order fulfillment, and receipt of purchases as quickly as possible. As warehouse operators find themselves needing to handle a larger and more diverse range of stock keeping units (SKUs) in the same amount of floorspace, implementing an ASRS enables that additional capacity without needing to expand the building footprint or move to a different facility.

In a recent video produced by the Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems Industry Group of MHI, several end users share the motivations behind their decisions to invest in this technology. They also explain the benefits they’ve received from doing so. These include the ability to conserve space, improve throughput, move materials with accuracy, and easy training of workers to use the equipment, as ASRS technologies often include prompt-based user interfaces that guide pickers to perform tasks correctly and confirm their completion.

Enhanced inventory control is another benefit cited by one ASRS user in the video, who notes: “Since we moved into our new facility, the way that we store inventory has basically completely changed. We’re able to locate and we know exactly how many of each item are on each shelf and in each compartment that we have.”

The same user discusses the expanded capacity provided by the ASRS in his facility, explaining: “We were able to store 5,000 SKUs in our old warehouse, and now we’re able to double that and we’ve got almost 10,000 SKUs.”

As for return on investment (ROI), another ASRS owner says: “When we were looking at making this investment, we figured out our costs and machines, and also what some of the efficiencies were going to be that we were going to gain by having this type of equipment. The return has been a positive, and we’re very pleased that we made the decision.”

Looking for more information about how an ASRS can benefit your operations? Watch the new video and connect with the members of the Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems Industry Group.