« Warehouse Automation: Don't Launch the Ship in a Hurricane! | Main | Warehouse Automation: Value the Gray Hairs! »

Warehouse Automation: The Value of PHASED Implementation

By Ian Hobkirk | 10/08/2019 | 11:27 AM

Most companies that have attempted to implement automated material handling equipment have discovered that these projects can be particularly vulnerable to Murphy’s Law, the principal that, “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” This blog is seventh in an ongoing series on “Beating Murphy’s Law in Warehouse Automation Projects.”

Blog 7 DCDepending on the nature of the design, it may be possible to implement project in phases, rather than all at once. This is especially true if
the project involves relocation to a new distribution center. If there is more space available than is necessary on day-one, it may be possible to relocate the operation to the new building and initially begin filling orders using manual processes. Then, once the company has settled into the new site and new employees have been trained and are proficient, the more automated phases of the technology can be installed. Another way to deploy in phases involves installing all of the new technology but using more basic pick methodologies at first until the technology stabilizes and workers get familiar with new processes. For example, workers might initially only pick one order at a time before later transitioning into a more complex cluster picking process.

In either example, while some of the full benefits of the new technology may be slightly delayed, the risk of the organization choking on too much change, too fast, is greatly reduced.



By submitting your comments, you agree to our Terms of Service.

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Ian Hobkirk

Ian Hobkirk

Ian Hobkirk is the founder and Managing Director of Commonwealth Supply Chain Advisors. Over his 20-year career, he has helped hundreds of companies reduce their distribution labor costs, improve space utilization, and meet their customer service objectives. He has formed supply chain consulting organizations for two different systems integration firms, and managed the supply chain execution practice at The AberdeenGroup, a leading technology analyst firm.


Popular Tags

Recent Comments

Subscribe to DC Velocity

Subscribe to DC Velocity Start your FREE subscription to DC Velocity!

Subscribe to DC Velocity
Go digital