Complete Guide to Goods-to-Person Automation - Exotec

Complete Guide to Goods-to-Person Automation

August 29, 2023

In the rapidly evolving world of logistics and supply chain management, goods-to-person (GTP) automation has emerged as a transformative solution. This technology brings items directly to operators, reducing manual labor, increasing efficiency, and significantly improving order accuracy.

The Journey of Warehouse Automation: From Manual Labor to High-Tech Efficiency

Warehouse operations remain rooted in their rich history. Even today, around 80% of warehouses rely on manual processes. Workers walk up and down aisles, picking items from shelves to fulfill orders. This method, while straightforward, can be labor-intensive and time-consuming. It also allows for potential human error, sometimes leading to incorrect orders and dissatisfied customers. However, the landscape is changing fast. Warehouse automation is being adopted at an unprecedented pace by the world’s leading brands. It’s becoming clear that to stay competitive, embracing this technological shift is the future for businesses everywhere.

As businesses grew and customer demands increased, the above-mentioned traditional methods began to show their limitations. The need for faster, more accurate order fulfillment led to the first wave of warehouse automation. Several decades ago, conveyor belts and sortation systems were introduced to speed up the process and reduce the physical strain on workers. However, these systems were often inflexible and expensive to install and maintain.

The advent of digital technology brought the next evolution in warehouse automation. Computer systems and software were developed to manage inventory and guide picking operations. But even with these advancements, many tasks still required manual labor.

Enter Goods-to-Person (GTP) automation, the latest revolution in warehouse operations. GTP automation takes the concept of automation a step further by bringing items directly to operators for picking. This is achieved through a combination of automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), robotics, and advanced software. 

With GTP automation, warehouses can achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency and accuracy. It also offers scalability, allowing operations to easily expand or contract based on demand. This evolution from manual picking to GTP automation represents a significant leap forward in warehouse operations, offering businesses a powerful tool to meet the challenges of today’s fast-paced, demand-driven market.

Goods-to-person order fulfillment in a warehouse

Demystifying Goods-to-Person Automation: A Deep Dive into the Future of Warehousing

Goods-to-Person (GTP) automation is a revolutionary approach to warehouse operations that flips the traditional picking process on its head. Instead of workers going to the goods, the goods come to the workers. But how exactly does this innovative system work?

At the heart of GTP automation are automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) and smart robots. These robots are designed to navigate vast warehouse spaces, retrieving items from storage and bringing them directly to a stationary human operator for picking.

The robots are guided by advanced software systems that coordinate their movements. When an order comes in, the software identifies the location of each item in the warehouse. It then dispatches robots to retrieve the items and bring them to the picking station. The software ensures that the robots take the most efficient route, prioritizing urgent orders and minimizing retrieval time.

But GTP automation is not just about robots. It’s also about smart storage. In a GTP system, items are stored in high-density, three-dimensional storage racks. This approach maximizes storage space and, in the case of highly efficient systems, enables quick access to any item regardless of its placement within the system.

The picking station is another critical component of GTP automation. Here, the human operator picks the items brought by the robots, following instructions provided by a user-friendly interface. These interfaces utilize technologies such as pick-to-light, put-to-light, and scanners to ensure order accuracy.

In essence, GTP automation is a symphony of technology and human expertise. It combines the speed and efficiency of robots with the accuracy and adaptability of human operators. The result is a warehouse operation that is faster, more accurate, and more efficient than ever before without sacrificing reliability.

Benefits of Goods-to-Person Automation

Goods-to-Person (GTP) automation is more than just a technological advancement—it’s a strategic game-changer with a host of benefits that can transform your warehouse operations. Let’s delve into the key advantages that GTP automation brings to the table.

1. Increased Efficiency: GTP automation significantly boosts warehouse efficiency. By bringing goods directly to the operators, it eliminates the time-consuming process of manual picking. This means orders can be fulfilled faster, allowing you to meet customer demands more effectively.

2. Reduced Labor Costs: With robots doing the heavy lifting, the need for manual labor is greatly reduced. This not only lowers labor costs but also allows your staff to focus on more complex, value-added tasks. It’s a win-win situation for both productivity and employee satisfaction.

3. Improved Accuracy: GTP automation minimizes the risk of human error in picking operations. The system’s advanced software ensures that the right items are always brought to the right place at the right time. This leads to more accurate order fulfillment and happier customers.

4. Scalability: One of the greatest advantages of GTP automation is its scalability. Whether you’re dealing with seasonal peaks or long-term business growth, GTP systems can easily be scaled up or down to match your needs. This flexibility ensures that you’re always ready to meet demand, no matter how much it fluctuates.

5. Enhanced Worker Safety and Satisfaction: By reducing the need for manual lifting and long periods of walking, GTP automation creates a safer and more comfortable working environment. This can lead to higher job satisfaction, lower turnover rates, and a more motivated workforce.

6. Space Optimization: GTP systems make the most of your warehouse space. By storing items in a high-density, three-dimensional storage racks, they allow for more efficient use of space than traditional storage methods.

GTP automation offers a powerful solution for modern warehouse operations. It combines efficiency, cost-effectiveness, accuracy, and scalability into a single, high-performing package. 

Exotec’s Approach to Goods-to-Person Automation

At Exotec, we are leading the industry with our innovative approach to GTP automation. Our systems are robust, modular, and designed for plug-and-play simplicity. We take the time to understand your unique needs, ensuring a quick and painless installation process and a long-term partnership that exceeds expectations.

Exotec: Your Trusted Partner in Revolutionizing Warehouse Operations

In the world of Goods-to-Person (GTP) automation, Exotec stands out as a leader and innovator. But what makes us the ideal partner for your warehouse automation needs? Let’s delve into the unique strengths that set Exotec apart.

1. Trustworthy and Reliable: At Exotec, we don’t just provide a service—we build partnerships. We are committed to being a reliable ally in your journey towards warehouse automation. Our performance is contractually guaranteed, and we pride ourselves on our transparency.

2. Customer-Centric Approach: We believe that every client is unique, and we take the time to understand your specific needs and challenges. This results in a quick and painless installation process and ultimately a long-term partnership to ensure your system exceeds expectations.

3. Innovative Technology: Our team is at the forefront of GTP automation technology. We have developed robust, modular systems that are designed for plug-and-play simplicity. Our agile robots and advanced software enable us to deliver a solution that is efficient, scalable, and future-proof.

4. Proven Success: Our credibility is demonstrated by our track record. Repeat customers account for 60% of our revenue—a testament to the effectiveness of our solutions and the satisfaction of our clients. We have helped businesses around the world transform their warehouse operations and achieve their goals.

5. Long-Term Partnership: When you choose Exotec, you’re not just getting a GTP automation system—you’re gaining a long-term partner. We are committed to supporting you every step of the way, from installation to ongoing maintenance and beyond. We believe in building lasting relationships with our clients, and we are dedicated to ensuring your success.

Choosing Exotec means choosing a partner who is committed to your success, understands your unique needs, and delivers innovative, reliable solutions. With Exotec, you can confidently step into the future of warehouse operations.

Goods-to-person order fulfillment at Ariat

Success Stories: Witness the Transformation with Exotec’s GTP Automation

One of our success stories involves Ariat, a leading provider of Western and English style riding boots, apparel, workwear, and accessories. Ariat faced challenges due to rapid sales growth, increasing customer expectations, and an ever-growing product catalog. They needed a flexible fulfillment solution that could efficiently accommodate their large and ever-changing SKU count and improve their warehouse employees’ work experience.

Exotec provided a solution that transitioned 80% of Ariat’s picking labor to more productive, value-added tasks. Our system was installed on schedule in just 11 months, despite pandemic logistics challenges, with no impact on ongoing operations. The system was later expanded from 57 to 86 robots in a matter of minutes. As a result, Ariat was able to efficiently navigate seasonal peaks, fulfilling tens of thousands of SKUs on a daily basis, and enhance customer loyalty by expanding B2B offerings to include next-day shipping and later order cut-off times.

Embrace the Future of Warehouse Operations with GTP Automation

GTP automation is a game-changer in the world of warehouse operations and order fulfillment. By bringing goods directly to operators, it significantly increases efficiency, reduces labor costs, and improves order accuracy. At Exotec, we are committed to delivering innovative GTP automation solutions that meet your unique needs and exceed your expectations.

Take the Leap: Revolutionize Your Warehouse with Exotec Today

Ready to transform your warehouse operations with GTP automation? Contact us today to see how we can take your order preparation to the next level.

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