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.
Depending on the need(s), one or more of these technologies may be used in a retail solution.
Learn more about the technologies utilized and our partners involved during the entire process from conception to completion.
Automated Storage Retrieval
An Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) is a combination of equipment and controls that handle, store and retrieve materials as needed with precision, accuracy, and speed.
Cobots are precise and increasingly flexible with advanced sensor technology, AI, Lidar/Radar, GPS, and connectivity. They are specifically designed to interact with humans without the use of additional safety equipment and components.
Often referred to as scan and sort, an efficient automated sortation method that is designed to break larger quantities of goods into individual customer orders, using light devices to direct operators to ‘put’ items in the correct bin.
Loaders and Unloaders
Trailer loading and unloading can be simplified using extendable / retractable conveyors. These conveyors can range from inexpensive gravity conveyor up to traversable powered conveyors. The use of conveyors improves the speed and ergonomics of the trailer load / unload process.
Racking is generally regarded as wider, deeper, and higher than shelving and is the preferred method for storing large quantities of stock.
These systems and conveyors are designed and manufactured for use in specialized facilities that conduct unique processes. Some examples include spiral, telescopic, flexible, and drive-out conveyors.