Distribution center operations are constantly evolving as innovative technologies arise and client demands continue to climb and change direction. Holding the balance in this dynamic ecosystem is as challenging as ever. Many organizations are staying in lock-step with the latest trends to stay competitive in today’s distribution environment. Automation, a technology that continues to gain momentum and is becoming more readily adopted each year, is one that comes to mind for many looking to improve their operations. These advanced systems (which include robots, conveyors and high-density storage systems) can be a great fit, though the installation times and costs may be high. The necessary expenditures to implement hardware automation may not be in line with an organization’s goals, but the application of automation can be implemented without pricey equipment and lengthy return on investment (ROI).
Soft Automation offers the ability to hone an operation’s best practices in order to create and execute a stream-lined system ensuring standards are met and repeated across the distribution network. With low up-front costs, this standardization of routine processes works to improve operational performance, with prompt ROI. Many complex processes are well suited for soft automation and the addition of advanced mathematics and optimization techniques adds significant value; warehouse slotting falls within this category.