How storage systems improve process efficiencies

Supplier: Kardex VCA Pty Ltd By: Arthur Chan
15 April, 2012

To many businesses, storage systems are a second line consideration and not seen as a part of the business that has the potential to raise efficiencies or productivity. However, upon closer inspection, it becomes clear why this view may be limited.

The reality here is that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to storage and retrieval systems, and it may surprise businesses how they could benefit from it.

Julie Sage, Managing Director of Kardex VCA, a company that provides automated vertical storage and retrieval systems (AVSRS), says that storage systems can be used to much greater effect.

"The purpose of a small footprint AVSRS should not just be limited to space consolidation, although this is one obvious aspect. More importantly, the appropriate storage system can achieve great process efficiencies and staff productivity," Ms Sage said.

Kardex VCA’s speciality is its automated storage system comprising vertical carousels and Shuttle® Vertical Lifts. These systems can provide up to a ten-fold reduction of storage footprint requirements for small to medium size inventory items in combination with high staff utilisation and accurate fast picks.

Ms Sage said the applications of vertical storage and retrieval systems are wide and varied and cut across all industries.

"The application of these systems range from retail trade, distribution warehouses, manufacturing work in progress and buffer storage, maintenance parts stores to tool storage," Ms Sage said.

"Kardex VCA has equipment installed in over 400 sites across Australia and New Zealand and our clients extend across virtually every industry category from heavy industry through to healthcare and services."

To maximise the value of the AVSRS, the system needs to be integrated with the client's warehouse management system (WMS). Only by doing this successfully will they achieve more than just space efficiencies.

"It's important to emphasise the integration of the AVSRS with the client’s WMS for optimal system throughput. In fact, Kardex VCA has not sold a stand-alone system into a distribution application for more than 15 years," Ms Sage explained.

Different industries and different clients will each have unique storage and retrieval needs, however, the basic elements of inventory management remain consistent.

"Essentially, you need to be able to store inventory in such a way that you can locate it when needed. This is critical where inventory is not always visible to the eye." Ms Sage said.

In order to ensure a comprehensive solution is offered to a client, Kardex VCA works with clients to scope their needs to determine what will give them best solution.

"It can be difficult to arrive at a consensus as to the client’s operational requirements, so we try to take a range of staff on multiple site visits to demonstrate the types of systems we offer " Ms Sage said.

"If they are using a WMS that we already have experience of, we try to link them with existing users so they understand what results they can expect."