The internet has changed the way we shop. Possible items for purchase can now be searched for and found along a myriad of matrices. Once the order is made, customers expect timely delivery. E-commerce companies are quickly realising that they need to employ the same methods in their storage and distribution too. For optimal scalability and flexibility, the leaders use three-dimensional storage because there really is nothing to compare.
The Future of Shopping
It’s not too long ago that companies were using thick catalogues to sell to their customers. Customers ordered by telephone or even by post, and this meant they accepted their order would arrive in a week or more. This gave distributors a buffer zone in which to work. However, with next-day or even same-day delivery expectations rising, inefficiencies in storage and distribution can no long be disguised.
The Shuttle System
One solution was seen in the emergence of shuttle systems. This system allowed individual autonomous shuttles to travel around a warehouse and to carry the specified bins back to the order-picking station for operators to select the required number of units. However, this system is very much a ground-level or one-dimensional solution.
Then there was the two-dimensional shuttle system: these machines can move horizontally and vertically. But again, they are limited to one aisle of the warehouse. It was soon recognised that an intelligent system was needed – one with the capability to complete every customer order using a single machine.
A three-dimensional system allows shuttles to travel across all aisles and levels and access all bin racks. Similar to the aisle shuttles, with the help of lifts these shuttles can move fully and freely around the storage area of the distribution area. In essence, one individual shuttle could serve the entire centre if the volume of sales required only one.
This means additional key advantages of the 3D system include the ability to scale up or down storage and order-processing volumes independently and according to need. With merchants such as www.rackzone.ie supplying all the other components, it’s easier than ever to manage your distribution needs and costs efficiently.
While change is always a challenge, for most distributors the solution is clear. Flexibility is the key to success in the distribution-centre environment of the future.