“Do more with less” is an old business saying. It’s a mantra we embrace at AutoStore. Why? Because we have a tool designed to make it possible to “do more with less.” It’s the Router software driving hundreds of AutoStore systems throughout the world.
Introduced in 2020, Router is now considered a “game changer” by AutoStore customers who’ve come to realize that by using the software they can get much more performance out of the physical assets they’ve acquired.
Before Router, the only way to make operations faster was to add more Robots, Grids, Ports, and Bins.
But Router changed all that.
Now, those same customers are maximizing their AutoStore investment, not through buying more physical equipment, but by installing Router.
What these owners found was this: “The more I can get close to the maximum capacity of what my system investments can achieve, the more throughput I can realize. The way to do this is better software rather than making more investments in assets.”
What’s the “secret sauce” to Router?
It’s an innovation providing real value. It isn’t just something cool. You can witness Router’s value, first-hand, by visiting places like PUMA’s U.S. distribution center in Indiana. Look around this warehouse and you’ll see operators are more productive than they were before Router. They need to wait less for deliveries, so they can produce more with less time.
Router is based on several proprietary algorithms constantly evaluating and reevaluating travel efficiency. Every second, every route for every Robot is being recalculated to make sure each is taking the most optimal path to their target destinations.
Early iterations used more static routing to move Robots back and forth. The code was effective but needed time to mature.
Since that initial launch, we’ve reshaped Router’s architecture so today’s users are seeing incremental speed improvements on every code release.
There’s much more computation going on in the 2022 version of Router than in previous iterations, and if we need to make system adjustments for any client we can do it almost dynamically. The software creates instant optimization.
To further optimize and improve service, we’re continuously getting feedback from all our sites. Using this data, we can analyze corner cases we might not have seen throughout development. Once we solve those cases, the fix is pushed out through the cloud and made available to every Router user.
" ... Router is based on several proprietary algorithms that are constantly evaluating and reevaluating travel efficiency. Every second, every route for every Robot is being recalculated to make sure each is taking the most optimal path to their target destinations."
A side-benefit of running so efficiently is the Robots drive less, which is significant. Our equipment already has an excellent record of mean time between failure (MTBF), but because Robots running on Router effectively drive less distance and make less turns, maintenance costs are actually reduced even further.
Another major impact from Router is it has allowed for cube storage use cases in places we never imagined when I started working for AutoStore over 10 years ago. For example, now we can get much more out of a Robot and attain higher picking rates for smaller systems, like micro-fulfillment centers, where it’s all about throughput and rotation of inventory.
But the platform is now enabling many customers to meet their goals when before they didn’t have many options.
At the same time, Router is making it easier for us to tackle very large distribution centers, like PUMA. In these types of locations, if you aren’t able to optimize the routing you won’t be able to deliver the throughput or lead times required to meet customer fulfillment promises.
What do these AutoStore users, big and small, have in common? At the end of the day, like any well-run businesses, they all want a way to “do more with less.”
Router is the “game changer” making this possible.
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