Tips to Maximize Your AS/RS Investment | FORTNA

Tips to Maximize Your
AS/RS Investment

Expedite ROI and amplify benefits of automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) with consistency planning before implementation.

by TJ Franco

According to a recent study, 86% of decision-makers prioritize total cost of ownership and return on investment (ROI) as the top drivers for automation solution selections (up 14% from last year)1.

Amid disruption, labor shortages, the rising costs of warehouse space and customer demands continuing to grow, supply chain leaders are looking to automation solutions to alleviate distribution pain points. Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) are a great fit to maximize space utilization and reduce reliance on labor, while increasing speed, accuracy and efficiency. To attain the most value from an AS/RS and expedite ROI, there are a few measures companies should perform before implementation.


Consistency Planning Amplifies Automation Benefits

Understanding automation constraints and ideal conditions to run at peak performance helps ensure operations will get the most benefit from the technology. AS/RS thrives on consistency and similarity. Fixed bin sizes and capacity limits support the consistency the system needs to operate effectively; these fixed variables are also constraints to consider prior to implementation. Before jumping into solution execution, assess inventory consistency to boost performance and increase system utilization.

Boost Performance
Similar carton profiles provide the ability to design a more optimized solution that will operate faster and more effectively, delivering increased value. Assess current inventory dimensions and weights. Are there possibilities to optimize buying patterns for more consistent inbound order quantities, case sizes or packaging types across the SKU mix? Making small adjustments can boost performance significantly.

Increase Utilization
Inbound packaging consistency contributes to increased utilization of AS/RS. Taking the step to analyze inventory opens up a broader array of SKUs to qualify for high-density storage. Take some time to test product placement within the bins. See if the product quantities and package types typically bought fit well. Likely, there are opportunities to adjust order quantities or packaging types to capitalize on bin capacity. Matching the best-fit product quantities to bin size reduces the potential of underutilized or extra bins.

Communicate Value
Most companies work with multiple product channels including factories, designated buyers and procurement. Each distinct channel provides products in varied quantities and packaging types. Opening lines of communication to facilitate effective order quantities and packaging across channels can directly impact automation efficiency gains and costs.

Processes that can be pushed upstream are less expensive and more efficient. Break down the silos and connect with product sources. Communicate the value of increasing the rate of ROI for an automation capital investment and how inventory consistency plays a significant role. Attain pure savings with direct discussions, planning and small, internal requests.


Build a Business Case for Higher Levels of Automation

Performing an inventory assessment and making adjustments to drive optimized SKU profiles enables more effective automation designs. By creating inbound product consistency, the percentage of AS/RS-qualified SKUs has the potential to increase by 10-30% depending on the operation. With the increase in utilization, the rate of ROI can grow dramatically. Factor in increased speed, efficiency and accuracy, and automation justification becomes a simple equation.

Now is the time to explore AS/RS solutions. Begin your distribution transformation to improve efficiencies, prepare for the growth of tomorrow and drive profitability.


FORTNA supports a diverse portfolio of automation technologies across an array of industries worldwide. With a unique approach to solutions, equipment and software, FORTNA experts design solutions that maximize flexibility with smooth transition plans to achieve optimized performance levels without business disruption. Need to build an automation business case? Partner with FORTNA experts to create an ideal concept design and appropriately quantify ROI to support next steps.

Take the first step and schedule a meeting today.

About the Author


TJ Franco

Account Executive

TJ is a seasoned supply chain professional with over 15 years of experience in roles varying from production and sourcing, to importing and omnichannel distribution. TJ is a CSSC Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt and a member of CSCMP and the Procurement Foundry.