When the aim is to optimize lead times and costs, conventional warehouses can never be the best answer.

Management models evolved in another era and with different needs are unsuited to today’s production processes and cannot guarantee a competitive response to market dynamics.

Let’s take a look at the main limitations of conventional warehouse management systems.

Stack warehouse

Stack warehouses are only recommended when the variety of articles managed and item handling are both minimal.
This factor means that the system is not suitable for products subject to obsolescence, which might risk deterioration in the less accessible parts of the warehouse.
What’s more, goods have to be contained in regularly sized, rigid boxes or on pallets, making it impossible to use all the storage height available, for safety reasons.

Shelving warehouse

Compared to other systems, shelving warehouses do not allow optimization of the space in the store, because they require access corridors and aisles to be included in the layout for maneuvering and movement.
Although picking times are shorter than with stack warehouses, they are still not good, and therefore this storage system is not suitable for high handling rates.

Drive-In and Drive-Through warehouse

Drive-in or drive-through warehouses have considerable volumetric efficiency and storage density, and allow FIFO and/or LIFO management.
This system’s drawbacks lie in the limitations with regard to load unit size and the limited number of articles which can be stored, both essential factors for the efficiency of this type of system.

Cantilever warehouse

Cantilever warehouses are able to store load units of different shapes and sizes, but they are only competitive for heavy, particularly long items such as pipes, bars, boards, etc.
The volume to area ratio is low and an aisle is required for access to the shelves.

Compactable warehouse

A compactable warehouse allows the space occupied by the aisles to be reduced, providing a good volume to area ratio.
The main drawbacks concern the poor flexibility and selectivity, factors which must be carefully considered during both design and storage, so that load units can be positioned and stored as appropriate to future picking.

Racks and boxes for small parts

The main drawback of the conventional method for storing small parts using boxes or racks is the human factor.
Hand picking and code management can only be efficient for a small number of articles.

Automation science has provided a solution to every one of the defects of conventional systems listed in this article. Today, we have the option of both fixed (automatic warehouses with stacker crane) and modular (vertical automatic warehouses) automated management systems, able to respond efficiently to modern warehouse storing and handling needs.

Find out about the main automated management models.

7+1 Deadly Sins of the Warehouse

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