Do Not Be Fooled By the Misconceptions about ASRS

Jun. 16, 2022

From the outside, automation may seem costly, risky and susceptible to unplanned downtime compared to existing shelving and racking. However, automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) tend to be cost justified in about 18 months with minimal downtime if properly maintained.

Let's investigate these common misconceptions further to help you determine if implementing ASRS is right for your operation.


Myth 1: ASRS is too expensive

There are many factors that affect the cost of ASRS, such as unit size, environment (climate controlled or clean room), stored product, and machine controls. Yes, there are fully integrated ASRS mini-load systems that can manage thousands of SKUs, and these systems will bring you over $5 million or more.

Think of ASRS as an investment, not a cost. Choosing the "cheaper" option will usually cost you more in the long run, so choose a reliable and reputable vendor.   

Do Not Be Fooled By the Misconceptions about ASRS

Myth 2: Unplanned Downtime

Besides cost, reliability is a major concern for those considering purchasing ASRS. Unplanned downtime can lead to significant reductions in productivity and throughput levels. However, these concerns appear to be unfounded when considering the purchase of an ASRS. The most reliable studies to date show that the average uptime of ASRS is in the 97-99% range, and 100% of ASRS owners would recommend it to a potential buyer with reliability issues.   

That said, to minimize unplanned downtime, ASRS manufacturers strongly recommend regular preventive maintenance. When these automated systems are properly maintained, they can be reliable for more than 20 years.


Myth 3: Our software won't integrate

If your needs are simple, most ASRSs can provide basic inventory management through on-board controls. More advanced inventory management features, such as inventory tracking, FIFO/LIFO picking, or batch picking, require inventory management software.

Most importantly, most inventory management software solutions can interact directly with your existing WMS or ERP system. Make sure you choose a system that can do just that.  

Do Not Be Fooled By the Misconceptions about ASRS

Myth 4: We are not proficient enough to use

ASRS solutions are scalable and perfect for small to medium sized businesses. Your needs may be smaller, but the ROI is the same. In one study, almost 96% of SMBs met or exceeded their expected ROI with ASRS. Size alone doesn't seem to have any impact on viability. Whether you are looking to save space or increase productivity, ASRS can be scaled down to meet your needs.


Myth 5: My throughput is too low

You don't have to automate your order picking operations to justify the cost. If your business doesn't select 10,000 order lines per hour, that's okay. There are other applications that use ASRS that may be faster. Have you considered storing special items in ASRS to save floor space? Perhaps these specialty items can only be accessed once a month for a particular job. Keep in mind that ASRS can save up to 85% of your footprint, which you can then use for other revenue-generating activities. While automation can increase throughput, it is only one of the many benefits of ASRS.

If your warehouse needs any help, please feel free to contact us, we will help you to install the ASRS.

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