The Design Phase of Your Material Handling Project
When you see the “RightFit” solution will you know it? We believe it will move you… And your organization forward.
By this point in the Design Build Process we have learned about our client’s operations in the Discovery Phase and developed a deeper understanding of their needs and challenges by interrogating the data in the Analysis Phase. In the next Phase, Design, we will use the understanding gained through the previous phases to shape a customized solution that will best address unique goals and objectives of your business.
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No two designs will ever look the same because no two clients operate their business the same way or face the same challenges. Focusing on the uniqueness of each client’s operations, the Design for each must be shaped to achieve the desired objectives while meeting the parameters of ROI (Return on Investment), business growth, or other overarching business requirements.
A first Design is never the final Design, as each System Design will go through multiple revisions through its evolution and with each step move closer to being the “RightFit” solution.
Pitfall #1: Failing to have a complete understanding of the answers to the questions in the Discovery Phase and the data in the Analysis Phase will lead to an ill applied design.
Validation and mutual buy-in is the key to alignment across all the project’s stakeholders. Taking the time at the completion of the Analysis Phase to summarize key design criteria and confirm that the understanding of the data is accurate, results in a stable foundation that a successful project can be built upon. It is upon these metrics of demand, capacity, and process that the system can be a “RightFit” solution and the proper concept be developed.
Developing an operational concept that is efficient both from an operational and a capital investment standpoint is a balance which is equal parts art and science. Establishing the proper balance of both in the Design Phase is critical to meeting or exceeding the required ROI for the system. It is important before visualizing or designing a concept that all financial considerations are understood.
Pitfall #2: Beware of systems that can be over built with warehouse automation that is not the “RightFit” for your operations
The best solutions are the simplest they can be. Complexity for the sake of complexity benefits nothing except the ego of the creator. Over complicating or over designing a solution is contrary to the best motives of the client. Working with a design partner that is committed to spending a client’s money as if it is their own results in a higher level of certainty that the project be a success.
Pitfall #3: Not being objective and allowing impure motives to drive the design vs. being guided by doing what is truly best for the client.
In the material handling industry, experts are looking to sell what is trending in the industry, ie Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS), Shuttle Systems, Robotic Palletizing, etc. These warehouse automation technologies have their place within specific operations, but will not be a fit for every application. Therefore, you should look to choose a design partner that has taken the time to listen and learn how your business operates before suggesting a particular technology. When the time comes to choosing a design that works for your business, you can then be assured it is centered around your needs and not simply what a solution provider is looking to sell.
An Integrator is not limited by a one solution fits all approach, or even by a fixed number of solutions. Our team will design the most streamlined, cost-saving, efficient operating solution for a client, based on the specific goals outlined in the Discovery and Analysis Phases. Our design engineering and concepting teams are not beholden to applying a limited range of solutions such as the pressure at some manufacturers who focus on a limited range of technologies or a software company whose focus is to over rely on algorithms to efficiently move product.
Working with a material handling equipment provider that has a vast knowledge to design the system that fits your business model is imperative. It is important to know the company that you will be working with and have trust in the capabilities they can provide. Employ the best team that can provide you with the right blend of hard and soft technologies and have the expertise to apply them to the design that suits your needs.