"I think the most important thing for people to remember is that absolutely nothing is cookie cutter when it comes to materials handling," says Yacka. "If you want a high productivity operation, you have to tailor the design of the facility to the needs of the operation."
"It's pretty commonplace to see several, mini 'warehouses' within a warehouse," says Yacka. "And they are all optimized to maximize the throughput and reduce the cost of handling that particular SKU."
Yacka calls this process "segmenting the operation." "What facility operators should strive to do is segment the work and design systems that can handle different buckets of the overall operation."
"The Internet has created an expectation of fast service," says Yacka. "Customers are demanding to receive goods faster, so that orders must now be picked the same day and shipped overnight.
Gross' Yacka says that he is seeing more mixing and matching of traditional and automated storage systems within a single facility.
In the future, Yacka says that companies should expect to see more and different system configurations and equipment options "What particular design will work best for a given application will come down to what the basic objectives are," says Yacka.
"They are not so much looking for the latest bells and whistles as they are really looking to build solid functionality into their systems - whether it be the warehouse layout or the equipment itself," says Yacka
. "They want to make sure that they can get the product out the door quickly, accurately, and efficiently first."
"By setting up DC operations in this way," says Yacka, "Warehouse management is ensuring that each order is handled in the quickest, most economical manner." Yacka adds that it's a concept that top traditional DCs pioneered, and that E-Commerce DCs have been quick to embrace.
"From an equipment perspective, you're not going to see a whole lot that is different in a world-class E-Commerce facility versus a world-class traditional DC," says Yacka. "They are all applying basic, proven materials handling equipment and systems to their particular business environments."