THE demands on distribution, storage and materials handling systems today have resulted in vastly increased demands on the efficient use of space, stock turnaround, order fulfillment and error-free delivery to customers.
Orders are placed and fulfilled electronically, instantly. What used to be an acceptable margin of error is no longer acceptable in today's highly competitive marketplace.
Customers are not just expecting error-free, on time delivery, they are demanding it.
On time delivery and efficient, totally integrated storage and materials handling systems are as critical to business success, as sales, marketing and the product itself.
Seamus Redmond, systems director with Dexion (Australia) , said product receipt and storage were essential components in every warehouse and distribution centre system, but it was the speed and accuracy of order fulfillment that was the true test of an order fulfillment system, its capacity and efficiency.
He said the speed and accuracy of order fulfillment could have the greatest impact on the entire operations and often profitability of a company.
"With an efficient order fulfillment system in place, a company can reduce stock holdings and order turn-around times, decrease staffing levels, reduce customer complaints and, perhaps most noticeable of all, not only reduce disputed short deliveries, but all but eliminate them.
"Dexion customises order fulfillment systems that integrate sophisticated materials storage, handling and distribution products to achieve goals. There is no such thing as a standard system.
"Whether it is modifications to an existing distribution centre or a completely new installation, both current and future requirements need to be taken into consideration to ensure the system design has the flexibility to evolve and meet all foreseeable needs.
"Today's distribution centre is not a big shed full of racks and conveyors. It is a dynamic, highly technical system with a number of specialised departments that operate with precision and harmony.”
Dexion's storage options range from gravity flow systems that deliver automatic stock rotation and minimise forklift travel to purpose built drive in racking systems, and powered compactus systems that combine the storage capacity of block stacking with the accessibility of single pallet storage systems.
They also include high rise systems serviced by automated cranes, and storage systems with narrow aisles - or no aisles at all, as with the new MOVO system (mobile storage racks).
In addition, Dexion has vertical and horizontal carousels, that bring products to the picker rather than the picker moving to the product, as well as raised storage areas that double the effective use of warehouse space.
Multi-tier shelving and racking, live carton modules, package conveyors and unit load sortation further expand Dexion's capability.