Storage Management Systems (Automated and Semi-Automated)

It’s Time to Automate your Pallet Storage System


Warehouses, distribution centres and manufacturing plants share a common need. They all need to store items in bulk. Recently, many businesses in these categories have suffered severe setbacks as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns. Interestingly, those warehouses that had installed automated storage management systems and factories where much of the work was performed by robotic equipment, proved to be better adapted to the dramatic change in their circumstances. Not only did most of them manage to weather the storm but some have even been able to take advantage of their more labour-intensive competitors, gaining market share and increasing their turnover.


If this disastrous event has taught businesses one thing, it is the importance of being adaptable. Much can be learned from those e-commerce and online retailers who have thrived while many of their bricks and mortar counterparts were forced to close their doors. Like the online sales process, an automated storage solution has the potential to protect a facility from losses arising from such threats that may arise in the future.


Ideally, a warehouse, retail centre or factory should be able to store large numbers of stock-keeping units (SKU) in a manner that occupies as little space as possible. The system should also enable rapid and accurate retrieval by the minimum number of personnel. While static systems have improved and extended vertical stacking has led to better use of space, the related picking and logistical processes are still relatively slow and labour-intensive. An automated or even semi-automated storage system will not only solve the labour problems and increase the throughput, but the transition will also reduce your operating costs as well as increasing your turnover and, by extension, your profits. So, if you should decide that it’s time to automate, what are your options?


Let us assume that the bulk of the items you normally handle are palletised. By introducing a Pallet Mole®, you will both create additional space, reduce the demand on your operators as well as product damage. In its simplest form, the  Pallet Mole®, can be operated using a remote control or smartphone to provide a semi-automated storage system. What once served purely as access aisles for staff and forklifts can now be utilised as extra storage space that will allow you to expand your inventory.


Alternatively, you might wish to take the conversion process a step further. The latest innovation in fully automated pallet storage systems, the brainchild of Storage Management Systems (SMS), is the Omni-Mole® AS/RS. This system consists of bi-directional pallet shuttles, namely Omni-Moles, vertical transfer units (VTU’s) to automatically transfer loads and Omni-Mole units between levels and WES.


This system could eliminate much of your labour needs, whereby the system is controlled by the Warehouse Execution System (WES), comprising of an inventory management system (Track-IT®), the warehouse control system (Control-IT®) and a routing management system (Map-IT®)


This system not only automate pallet storage and retrieval,but can also conduct daily stocktakes, generate detailed reports, and advise when preventative maintenance is due.


Based on technology, developed and approved over 20 years, these systems are flexible, scalable and reliable.


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