Getting the warehouse "closer" to the end user is important in supply chains today, says Brian Keiger, director of business development and marketing with Stow Robotics.
In a post-pandemic world, inconvenience continues, with certain items remaining in short supply on grocery shelves, at pharmacies and other retail outlets. Supply chain synchronization bridges the gap between supply chain operations and the consumer, and can fix that. Or, as Keiger sees it, it’s how to stop breakdowns and disruptions and get “closer” to the consumer.
Keiger recognizes that the labor shortage continues to bedevil supply chain operations and needs to be addressed. However, he sees space and storage capacity as a major bottleneck in smoothing the flow of goods from warehouse or DC to end user.
“As we try to build up more inventory so that we have shorter timelines to the store, we need more storage space,” he says. “And the best way, and the least costly way to do that, is simply to go vertical. Storage, delivery and the handling of goods inside the warehouse are big things that we're trying to address right now. Transporting those goods to and from your different processes without creating islands of automation is critical. And the software becomes very important when you're looking for a seamless workflow, everything working together in harmony.”
The key, Keiger says, is to get as much storage as possible in a location without jeopardizing throughput or the integrity of the product. That means building up. “When you look for really high storage, compact density with throughput that's going to meet demands, be reliable and fast to deploy, that's when you're starting to see more of these compact shuttle technologies.”
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