Half The World Away – Automated Storage and Social Distancing
Improve your productivity and employee safety with an ASRS system
In this new age of Covid-19, facilities all across the globe are working within ever-changing restrictions and prioritizing employee protection while keeping operations moving forward. Social distancing is a key component of this within any building, and those tasked with monitoring and implementing distancing within a workforce must create new ways to combat the spread. This challenge is tough to work within even the smallest of offices, let alone a large warehouse or distribution center. Reducing employee contact while maintaining thriving production is not easy, and requires continued vigilance and creativity.
When considering options for increased or maintained social distancing, utilizing an automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) is a great option to help prepare your facility for the coming waves and for the automated future that lies on the horizon.
Just How Does ASRS Support Social Distancing?
As with most automation upgrades that can be added to a facility, an ASRS system offers many solutions designed to increase productivity and accuracy. But just what does this system offer specifically for distance-related measures?
Effective work zones
Creating socially distanced work zones is a vital need for all facilities. You don’t really want your workers to be moving past each other up and down aisles or within a zone, as each interaction could be a chance for spread or infection. Using an ASRS can reduce these interactions by placing each employee in an assigned area, therefore reducing interaction. You can designate an area (or zone) for the entire shift and at a safe distance to adhere to Covid guidelines.
Not only do these new zones offer social distancing and less interaction, but within an ASRS system they offer the potential of better accuracy, less time wasted and easier storage and retrieval (I mean, it is built into the name). These advantages set your operations up for present safety and future growth!
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Just based on its principal operation, an ASRS system means less is more. You see, the use of automated storage and retrieval allows for fewer workers involved in these important processes, eliminating a need for more space to spread workers apart. The main operator at an ASRS system is allowed to stay in one area for picking, which reduces time spent moving in and around aisles in the never-ending quest for goods and parts. Instead, they can access these items with just the touch of a button.
This lack of need for moving around in a socially distanced environment is highly beneficial from a production and safety standpoint. Not only are items found faster and more efficiently, but your safety gained is not only less contact with others (avoiding the potential spread of a virus) but also less contact in aisles with forklifts. You could even use the new time gained by employees as reasons for new tasks assigned in other areas or for cleaning (a newfound skill in this new age).
Increased space for activities
You want to use as much of your facility as possible, and by adding an ASRS you can have more freedom to do just that. Implementing an automated solution immediately reduces the amount of square footage required to store items within static shelving and pallet rack in two ways: by utilizing previously unused overhead space, and by compressing items stored within the technology for greater storage capacity. This is because the volumetric efficiency within an automated technology such as ASRS is much higher than traditional storage solutions.
Right now you have to adhere to guidelines on the manufacturing or warehouse floor, and operations that are squeezed for space before Covid have to find creative ways to follow these rules. This could be by abandoning workstations or pick locations simply to keep that distance alive for protection. But with an ASRS system, you can recover a good portion of your precious space and even add to it. This essentially enables operations to take space from an existing area and reallocate it to another area to accommodate social distancing. This could be the solution to finding the physical space for social distancing in manufacturing cells or in a distribution shipping area.
An ASRS system is just one of the many options you have when considering adding automated solutions to your warehouse. In this new age of Covid, implementing such solutions can not only help maintain the health and security of your workforce but also add to your increased throughput and bottom line. Preparation and adaptation are always key, and during this pandemic, it’s becoming even more important as we look toward the future.
Read more: Upgrading automation in the age of Covid
- Distancing on the warehouse floor
- Locker cleanliness
- Covid-19 resources
- The true cost of pallet storage