Frequently Asked Questions | FORTNA

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a listing of frequently asked questions about FORTNA solutions, software and services. We try to anticipate any challenges you might face and answer them below. If none of these answer your question, contact a FORTNA expert today.

How do you optimize distribution operations?

Optimization begins with an operational assessment which results in a report of suggested upgrades to processes, technology and equipment. An assessment can reveal current barriers and opportunities for warehouse improvements.

What are the categories of distribution automation?

Automated equipment and processes, warehouse management software, inventory control, order fulfillment, shipping and robotics.

How does automation reduce labor?

Automation of repetitive and physically demanding tasks can increase productivity and allow for better allocation of labor resources.

How is a distribution network designed?

A distribution network is designed to take current business metrics, growth projections and customer expectations and create a network of distribution centers that can serve their customers today and in the future.

How can fulfillment strategy reduce costs in distribution?

Optimizing fulfillment processes can increase productivity, reduce order fulfillment time and raise order accuracy rates.

Why is e-Commerce fulfillment important?

e-Commerce order rates continue to grow every year along with customers wanting faster shipping and lower shipping rates. An optimized fulfillment operation can help a company remain competitive and not risk losing customers.

How do you evaluate fulfillment efficiency?

The best way to evaluate fulfillment efficiency is with an operational assessment. An assessment can reveal barriers and opportunities within a warehouse operation.

How can data science be utilized in warehouse assessments?

Analyzing current operational metrics with advanced mathematics and algorithms can reveal current obstacles and opportunities for growth and improvement.

How long does an assessment take?

Assessments can be as short as a couple of days or span a few weeks. Factors to take into account: The number of assessors on site, the number of systems being assessed and how large of a system and amount of equipment and automation.

What is an operational design for the warehouse?

An operational design is a plan for a warehouse that takes automation, processes and inventory control into account and optimizes them for maximum throughput and productivity.

How important is operational warehouse design?

Operational warehouse design can take all of your business requirements into account and design a distribution center that allows for productivity and growth.

What factors does a warehouse designer need to consider?

Business requirements are the most important factors to consider in warehouse design. Understanding business and customer needs and expectations will allow for a design that will serve a business’ needs now and into the future.

Do I need an operational design for automation?

An operational design is a crucial component when introducing automation and automated processes to an operation as it will ensure a higher level of ROI and operational success.

How do I make my automation work together?

An operational design can successfully connect automated equipment and staff creating an optimize process and higher levels of productivity and ROI.

How can automation improve warehouse operations?

Traditionally, automation has been utilized to do repetitive and physically demanding tasks. However, automation is now being used to optimize processes and raise productivity.

What is the first step in the WMS implementation process?

The first step in implementing a warehouse management system (WMS) is to partner with a supply chain partner or consultant that can analyze your current operation, tech stack and available WMS to help choose the right software for your operation.

What is the difference between WES and a WMS?

Where a WMS is a system to run day-to-day operations of a warehouse, a WES (warehouse execution system) can have many of the same functions of a WMS, but it offers connections and management of higher levels of automation that includes robotics, picking and real-time data.

What is a unique approach to sourcing and procurement?

A unique approach is that the supply chain partner does not favor a certain brand or type of equipment or automation over one another.

What is lifecycle services in the warehouse?

Lifecycle services in the warehouse is a term that includes maintenance, upgrades and spare parts for an operation to avoid downtime.

How do I find a recommended spare parts list (RSPL)?

Normally, the RSPL can be found in the manuals from the original builder of the distribution center; however, a supply chain partner like FORTNA can generate an RSPL for a customer.

What is an RSPL?

An RSPL is a recommended spare parts list for a warehouse or distribution center.

What is a distribution center health check or assessment?

A system health check is an inspection of a distribution center’s operation and equipment, looking for mechanical, electrical and control issues that could cause trouble soon or in the future.

What is resident maintenance?

Resident maintenance is a program where a 3rd party hires, trains and is responsible for technicians to work at distribution centers either supplementing or acting as the maintenance team.

What is slotting software?

Slotting software inputs an operation’s inventory data, and after defining a business’ fulfillment goals and product characteristics will slot products into optimized locations for picking.

What is an AS/RS?

AS/RS stands for automated storage and retrieval system. It is an automated picking system that stores and then delivers ordered products to a person that then places it into a box for shipping.

What is cross-docking?

Cross-docking is the practice of unloading products from an inbound shipment and loading them directly to an outbound vehicle.

Can you automate cross-docking?

Yes, you can automate the cross-docking process; the most popular includes the use of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).

What is the last mile depot?

The last mile depot is known as the last facility a package visits before it is delivered to a customer.

Can I automate the last mile depot?

Yes, typically a manual process, operations are automating their last mile depots with sorters and conveyors to increase throughput and order fulfillment.

Is it possible to extend or expand an AutoStore system?

Yes, AutoStore systems are designed to scale in storage capacity and throughput.

Can I use my existing WES, ERP and other software with AutoStore?

It depends. Most major WES and WMS software will integrate with other ERPs. Supply chain partners like FORTNA can help with integration to an ERP and to AutoStore.

Are there specific warehouse requirements to use AutoStore?

Storage and throughput requirements are the two main drivers for an AutoStore solution. Working with a supply chain partner like FORTNA can help design the best-fit AutoStore solution.