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Auto Part Fulfillment: Integrating Distribution Center Automation

Auto Part Fulfillment: Integrating Distribution Center AutomationHave you ever worked on a jigsaw puzzle and been absolutely convinced that a piece should fit somewhere, but it just didn’t go?  The colors matched, the shape of the piece looked perfect for that spot, but for whatever reason, it just wasn’t meant to go where you thought it would.  Trying to force it, or “make it work” means that the puzzle will never be complete.  Systems integration inside your warehouse for materials handling automation is the same way.  With so many components that require a variety of input and communication to work effectively and accurately, it’s crucial to trust the experts when implementing automation.  Here are 4 tips when it comes to integrating materials handling automation within your warehouse.

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Ensure Platform Compatibility

As your operations grow or change, adding, replacing or upgrading components may be necessary.  It is vital for the effectiveness and accuracy of your operation that any automation addresses a “pain point” in your facility, improves accuracy, increases throughput and/or reduces headcount.  Otherwise, the automation is just another physical piece of capital expenditure that is nice to have but does not add true value within your existing infrastructure.

Establish Order Picking Methodology

In a high velocity sector like automotive parts, establishing your SKU velocity, order profile and pick front physical layout is a must.  These types of analysis and decisions can make or break an auto parts fulfilment operation. 

Design with Space in Mind

The picking and storage layout will have an immediate positive or negative impact on your labor costs, unit throughput and square feet occupied.  Invest the time to analyze the order profiles and item level activity to properly configure pick fronts and storage locations to maximize the efficiency and density of your layout.  

Maintain Flexibility

Design and implement automation in a way that provides the opportunity to adapt and grow.  Whether you add new equipment or struggle with dependable labor, your initial design should provide for the future changes which inevitably will come.

These are just a few things to consider as you expand, upgrade, or implement technology solutions within your automotive parts fulfillment center.  Barrett Distribution Centers is a third party logistics provider that has experience and knowledge in the automotive parts sector.  Barrett creates customized supply chain solutions with a focus on people, process and technology.

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Topics: Automotive Parts