Traditionally, the term retail referred to the transaction of business in a brick-and-mortar store. Retail fulfillment was designed to replenish merchandise to these stores periodically. This is still true today; however, as more enterprises also embrace e-commerce, the role of retail fulfillment has changed. Omni-channel fulfillment is becoming more common, and the design of the fulfillment centers must be robust enough to handle processing at both the individual unit level as well as the case level. We also consider other complexities, such as SKU proliferation and fluctuating demand requirements. AHS’s six-step DesignBuild process uses data analytics to profile the multiple channels of the business and develop an optimized solution that fulfills all the needs of the company.
Manual Process for Retail
A manual process is recommended with businesses just entering the marketplace, daily activity levels are low, acquiring capital dollars is difficult, picking is mainly at the bulk level, or there is uncertainty regarding future activity levels.
- Carton Flow Rack
- Autonomous Mobile Robots
Semi-Automated Process for Retail
A semi-automated process is the next step in the progression from a manual process. As daily activity levels increase, more efficient methods are required to handle the increased throughput and service level requirements. The transition from manual to semi-automated involves the introduction of conveyors, packaging equipment, and a more advanced warehouse control system.
- Robots/Autonomous Mobile Robots
- Pick/Put to Light
- Pick Modules
Automated Process for Retail
Automated processes are employed in fulfillment centers that have high daily volume demands consistently. They utilize many of the components of a semi-automated system but replace labor-intensive operations (such as picking) with highly efficient machines. Using goods-to-person technologies such as shuttles and autonomous robots; reduces order cycle times even further than a semi-automated solution but at a higher capital cost.
Automated Storage Retrieval
Loaders and Unloaders