Episode 142 – AutoStore with Jon Schechter
In this episode, I spoke with Jon Schechter who is a Business Development Manager at AutoStore. We just recently spoke with Andrew Benzinger from AutoStore as well about micro-fulfillment on Episode 139 but Jon and I have a completely different discussion. We dive into the concept of fleet-based robots, the new trend of software-based material handling systems, and the differences between our industry in Germany and America.
- One of my favorite things from this episode is hearing the story of how AutoStore was created. The solution was created because an electronics distributor who was servicing Scandinavia was quickly running out of room in their distribution center and was trying to figure out how to solve this issue without expanding or getting an additional location. From this issue, they created AutoStore and were able to redefine their space by bringing this solution to life. At first, they just used it for themselves, and as their customers started to see the solution they wanted to install it in their facility as well. A true example of fix what bugs you.
- We discuss fleet-based robots which is a system that allows all robots to coordinate so that the inventory is in the right place at the right time. The best way to describe this system is the example that Jon gives where, in a typical warehouse setup, you have conveyors where orders have been released in batches and cannot be moved without human intervention. He discusses how a priority order can get lost or needs lots of attention to get it to the front of the line in a non-fleet based setup whereas, with a fleet based setup, the robots can coordinate with each other so that robots carrying priority orders can move to the front of the line and the others know to move back in line. This allows you to be more effective and have your operation run more efficiently while delivering better customer satisfaction.
- Jon and I get into a great discussion around software in the warehouse. As I’m sure you know, bringing in new software or upgrading software into your operation can be a scary thing. Many times these projects do not go according to plan or there are a lot of hiccups along the way. I know that I have seen it myself but Jon has some great words of wisdom for these projects that he heard from his former boss. He says that the first day of the software implementation will be the worst and it will only get better from there. This is a great perspective because it is very true. The initial stress of what issues may be happening is not worth it because the issues will work out and overall your operation will be better for the implementation.
Listen to the episode below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.