When people think of Christmas, they probably have an image of Santa Claus in his sleigh being pulled through the air by his reindeers and distributing presents. It would be more realistic, however, to picture Santa in the driver’s seat of a delivery truck belonging to a parcel service, taking all the presents that have been ordered online to their recipients. And instead of dropping the presents down the chimney, he prefers to use a modern, fully automated storage lift to ensure that they are delivered on time.
Christmas and e-commerce have formed a highly successful partnership for a number of years. Online businesses record their biggest sales in the period between mid-November and December 24, just like the rest of the retail sector. Yet in contrast to the stagnant sales in conventional stores, e-commerce continues to boom unabated. In the run-up to Christmas 2016, for example, Germans spent around 16 billion euros with online retailers, with the percentage of total sales rising from 18.9 (2015) to 21.0 percent. This means that more than one in five euros is now being spent online. And in view of all the parcel delivery trucks on the road, the image of Santa Claus behind the wheel of such a vehicle is not so far-fetched.
It goes without saying that all the presents must be optimally stored beforehand so that they can be quickly and safely prepared for shipping by Santa’s countless little helpers once they have been ordered. This is where modern storage systems come into play, which can also handle the explosion in orders during the peak demand period before Christmas. After all, nothing is more distressing or annoys customers more than when the parcels turn up too late or with the incorrect contents.
Large order quantities can also be processed with automated storage systems
Whether an online retailer with many years of experience or a young e-commerce start-up, the advantages of dynamic storage units really become evident when it comes to effectively managing larger order volumes:
By picking up to 500 order lines per unit and hour, the big helpers are ideal for quickly processing orders so that they can be shipped on the same day. In the age of next-day or even same-day delivery, it is hard to stress how valuable this factor is in the tough struggle against competitors, who are only ever one click away.
Highly precise picking is incredibly important for ensuring that the right present arrives at the right address. Here, the automated systems help with the retrieval process at the workstation, where the requested items are precisely identified by an LED pointer with the aid of the optional pick-by-light assistant. With accuracy of almost one hundred percent, picking errors are now a thing of the past, pleasing both the recipients of the presents and the returns department.
Highly dense and flexible storage of goods – and not just at Christmas
With all the growth witnessed in the area of e-commerce, it is hardly surprising that product ranges are also growing. Storage space is becoming ever scarcer and therefore more valuable, which is why the highly dense storage systems have a clear advantage over conventional shelving here. Eighty percent and more of a warehouse’s space can easily be saved by switching to modern units, which means that 400 m2 of storage space can be created on a footprint measuring just 20 m2. In addition to space-saving storage of the goods in height-adjustable trays, this is made possible by adapting the units to make full use of the room height. This flexibility is due to the modular design of the systems, making it possible to create solutions tailored to the individual requirements of the retailers. This results in a great deal of storage space on a smaller footprint that makes optimal use of the available space. Since the storage units are also scalable, further units can simply be added at a later date if the product portfolio continues to grow. In the fast-paced world of online retailing in particular, the flexibility of the solution is precisely what makes it so appealing.
Even when the turned-up heating is attractive with its comforting warmth during the cold Christmas period, the energy doesn’t have to be blown straight out of the window. This is another good reason to take a closer look at automated storage lifts or carousel storage units. After all, they help to cut power consumption by up to two thirds – even during peak demand – thanks to their distinctive energy efficiency by design, which means that they not only do something good for the environment, but also save money.
As in many business sectors, e-commerce companies in Germany are also affected by the country’s prevailing skills shortage. It is therefore a good thing that automated storage systems significantly reduce the amount of employees needed in the warehouse. Long travel times are no longer necessary thanks to the goods-to-person principle and the items can be picked by just one person at the workstation. In addition, the employees are healthier and more satisfied due to the fact that the goods are ergonomically retrieved at waist height, cutting the physical demands to which they are subjected by bending and stretching. And besides a lower sickness absence rate, what could be better than having employees who do their jobs with smiles on their faces – and not just during the Christmas period?
Finally, efficient warehouse management software ensures that orders are picked in a way that saves time and optimizes the distance traveled. It also helps to ensure that goods are picked much faster and more accurately so that productivity can be significantly increased. With such help, Santa and Co. in the software-assisted and automated warehouse can make sure that the right presents get to the happy recipients at the right time. Father Christmas fits into the scene perfectly here in the yellow, white, or red courier jacket of his parcel delivery company when he rings the doorbell laden with all the lovely presents.