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Reducing Deployment Times and Lowering Costs with Standardized Systems

There’s no substitute for experience when it comes to material handling automation. Not only does it minimize unexpected issues during the implementation process, it reduces the risk that an automation system won’t meet your expectations for performance and return on investment.

But experience has another benefit that often gets overlooked: with each implementation of an automated system, new capabilities are addressed.

Early users of a particular solution often have special requirements that aren’t included in the standard system. With AutoStore, which has a limited number of configuration variables, these special requirements are accommodated through software customization.

For each new implementation, the customer is assumed to have unique requirements and the process of developing specifications to address those requirements, customizing the software to accommodate them and testing the customizations is built into the process. This provides AutoStore users the ultimate in flexibility to tailor the system to their requirements but extends the implementation timeline and adds costs.

This is where specific experience with a particular technology translates into tangible value for new users. Forward-looking technology providers, such as Swisslog, use the customization process to identify new features that have broad applicability. In the case of AutoStore, these customizations are then integrated into the AutoStore Director software within SynQ as standard features, allowing new users to benefit from previous customizations.

Generally, the more systems you implement, the more robust your software becomes until, at some point, customization of every system becomes unnecessary and an entirely new benefit of experience becomes available: standardized systems that, by integrating multiple features from previous customizations, are able to meet the requirements of many users.

An example of this evolution can be seen in web site development. An easy-to-use, visually appealing web site has become a vital communication tool for virtually every business. But these sites can be surprisingly time-consuming and expensive to develop when built from scratch. It’s an investment many businesses struggle with. They know they need a web site to reach their customers, and that the quality of the site is a direct reflection on their business, but building it from scratch is beyond their reach.

As the web evolved and more sites were developed, companies such as Wix and Squarespace have emerged to meet the needs of those organizations with standardized designs and capabilities. They offer robust functionality but not the complete flexibility of a custom-built site. As a result, businesses that use these platforms can develop web sites much faster and less expensively than was previously possible. They are not for everybody—large, complex organizations still require a custom site—but they have opened up the web to a wide range of businesses that otherwise couldn’t afford to have a presence.

The same thing is now happening with AutoStore. At Swisslog, we’ve implemented more than 160 AutoStore systems, many of which required customizations that were integrated into the SynQ AutoStore Director, giving it extremely robust functionality. As a result, it’s no longer necessary to customize software for every AutoStore user.

With this robust, standard functionality, we can offer standard AutoStore systems, or AutoStore on Demand, that cuts implementation time and software costs by as much as half. Typical AutoStore implementations take roughly a year from contract signing to go-live. With AutoStore on Demand you can go live in as little as six months and save money in the process.

Because AutoStore is modular and scalable, a standard solution doesn’t mean one-size-fits-all. You can choose a configuration—number of bins, robots and ports—based on your inventory and throughput requirements. And, you can always expand the system in the future, adding more storage modules, robots or ports. You can even move to robotic picking with the addition of ItemPiQ robots controlled by the same software that runs AutoStore.

With an AutoStore-on-Demand solution from Swisslog you get a shorter implementation timeline while benefitting from unique-to-Swisslog features, such as the Enterprise Touch operator interface that enhances operator productivity and allows the operator to reconfigure bins on the fly.

If you’ve been considering automation but are worried about the complexity and the time to implement, standard AutoStore-on-Demand systems from the world’s most experienced AutoStore integrator can deliver the benefits you’re looking for in the simplest and fastest way possible. To learn more about AutoStore on Demand, contact us today.