Retail e-commerce sales have reached new heights this year. In May 2021, the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced that U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2021 were at $215.0 billion. This figure represents an increase of 7.7 percent over the fourth quarter of 2020, and a whopping 39.1 percent more than the first quarter of 2020!
Although this growth was not shocking, the increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated these trends significantly, causing distributors to find ways to take advantage of the higher e-commerce activity. Making the situation even more complicated is a worker shortage that shows no signs of subsiding anytime soon.
While the growth of e-commerce continues to increase the demand for warehouse and distribution workers, fewer qualified candidates are available. Industry attrition, high turnover rates, and the COVID-19 pandemic are just some of the contributing factors, making it difficult for business owners to find skilled workers and forklift operators. As a result, they are turning to automated storage and retrieval systems for a solution.
Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS) Meet the Challenges of e-Commerce
Since hiring more workers to meet the increasing demands of e-commerce is not a practical solution, the labor-saving benefits of automated storage and retrieval systems are an excellent option. With ASRS, a single worker can manage the picking duties of several employees using a manual system.
Unlike old-style manual picking systems that require workers to spend excessive amounts of time walking and searching for an item, automated systems deliver it directly to the operator’s workstation. This highly efficient “goods-to-person” process eliminates much of the walking and searching that reduced throughput.
Higher e-Commerce Demands Higher Warehouse Capacities
ASRS solutions can optimize storage space vertically while reducing the need for expensive real estate. Unlike traditional racking that is limited by the height of the forklift and the width of the aisle, ASRS vertical systems reduce the footprint and dramatically increase product storage density to meet the growing demands of e-commerce.
New Picking Strategies Help Increase the Efficiency of e-Commerce Order Fulfillment
Kardex Storage Systems has established itself as a reliable intralogistics partner to the e-commerce industry by reducing fulfillment times with a rapid and accurate picking process. Here are two of our recent innovations to improve order fulfillment:
This is a flexible and straightforward solution to manage changing demand. It allows companies to scale labor and workflows with pick-to-light technology - adding or removing labor to adjust throughput as demand fluctuates. In color picking, picking carts move through work zones as operators follow the colors to pick the correct items for the matching order.
This was created to speed up picking by accelerating the simultaneous processing of batches. It reduces walking while minimizing picking errors, all the while optimizing storage space. The simple and efficient system uses put frames, pick-to-light technology, and pick carts with an automated storage and retrieval solution and inventory management software to increase throughput significantly.
Become a Significant e-Commerce Player with an ASRS Solution
Make Kardex Storage Systems your strategic partner in solving your material storage challenges. One or more of our solutions will help you save floor space and increase productivity among your workers. Contact us to discover how!