Warehouse EEE? Energy, Efficiency, Effectiveness

Global Warming is high on the agenda of issues that have to be addressed, as conservation of energy is paramount if we are going to survive as a race. 

The world looks at utilising alternative methods of generating power by harnessing energy from natural sources, i.e. *wave, wind, solar and hydroelectric as alternative methods to fossil fuels as the main energy source. 

Businesses, under pressure to operate energy efficiently, and encouraged to have a green policy in place; have to report their energy usage consumption annually. 

Effective management of energy usage gives companies the power to reduce waste and cut costs, leading to increased profitability.

“Globalization, increasing environmental compliance requirements, and supply chain cost pressures are rapidly driving the need for improved sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs” 

http://www.aberdeen.com/Aberdeen-Library/4836/RA-green-supply-chain.aspx...

Warehouse operations are a prime example where energy (and therefore money) can be saved. Although this does require some analysis internally on the way the warehouse is currently set up.

Not only are there things like lighting and heating sources to consider, there is also the way that the warehouse currently operates, how it is laid out, the routes around the warehouse, stock movements and what systems are in place if any, as all have a bearing on energy usage and greener operability.  It is highly recommended that a warehouse operations analysis is carried out, either by internal staff or an appointed agent. 

Proteus Software and TouchStar Technologies get together to provide Green warehouse solutions.

Two of the most innovative and experienced providers, Proteus Software and TouchStar Technologies work in partnership to provide cost effective, energy efficient solutions.  The partnership was formed to help the industry understand more about the technology, and how it can help improve performance. 

The companies offers a new opportunity to examine existing practices and will, if required, evaluate the existing system and processes and deliver a full report on the potential to improve efficiency, expected to be between 15%-25%. 

Flexible Energy Saving WMS from Proteus

Proteus Software has been helping supply chain businesses achieve greater efficiency and productivity since 1987. Their customers are high volume distributors who supply to high street multiples and demanding end customers. 

The company specialise in providing warehouse management systems that optimise warehouse and supply chain processes. The goal is to improve warehouse performance in order to maximise throughput in the warehouse; achieving cost savings for their customers that impacts their bottom line.

Proteus provides innovative Warehouse Management Solutions, which can be delivered either on premise (utilising an in house server), or as a hosted solution (served via a browser), incurring no capital outlay.  Systems are available as simple Paper based solutions, RF Directed, Voice enabled, and RFID ready. 

The WMS can operate in any one of the above formats or in a combination of all of them. As a leading WMS provider, Proteus is committed to delivering systems that are fit for purpose, energy efficient and cost effective.  

Efficiency Gains

A core function of Proteus WMS is Warehouse Map - Mapping routes around the warehouse for putaway, picking and for replenishment of stock saves energy, truck fuel, and time (and therefore money). Because of the reduced number of stops made by the forklifts, the warehouse operates greener due to reductions in fuel and the emissions into the atmosphere.

Another core function is Task Interleaving - Putaways and picks can be can be carried out simultaneously by the same operative, saving time and energy.  

Proteus WMS also can be used for Consolidation – Mixed items can be picked to the same pallet or mixed suppliers items can be shipped on the same pallet. Another cost saving and efficiency gain.  

Feedback from a Proteus Customer states, “Our picking accuracy now runs at close to 100%. Since the system was implemented our picking productivity has nearly doubled, bringing very significant cost savings to the business. Improved accuracy of stock levels and locations, and easy identification of hotspots of fast moving products, have been major factors in the improvement.” He adds, “It’s great to be able to manage the warehouse from my computer screen. I can see exactly who is doing what. Visits to the office with queries are virtually eliminated.’’

Selecting the right Mobile Computing toolset from TouchStar

TouchStar Technologies Ltd has been supplying rugged Mobile Computing solutions to the logistics sector for over three decades. The latest generation in TouchStar handheld and vehicle mount technology provides lighter and more ergonomically designed mobile computers. Fast, reliable and powerful, these devices provide superior data collection, from scanning to voice to RFID and when combined with real-time communication and dynamic functionality, this technology provides startling productivity, efficiency and energy gains. 

“TouchStar’s real time mobile computing solutions provide a robust and powerful tool to streamline existing warehouse processes and the efficient movement of goods through the operation. As an integral part in the execution of the Proteus Warehouse Management System, the technology executes existing warehouse processes accurately ensuring 100% stock visibility” explains Karen Taylor, Marketing Executive, TouchStar Technologies. 

Once implemented, TouchStar also provide a number of flexible and all-encompassing support packages that guarantee continuous support throughout the system lifecycle through to future upgrades. UK based support services combine trend analysis and preventative maintenance checks to significantly increase terminal reliability and reduce cost of ownership. UK Based telephone support often allows terminal faults to be diagnosed and resolved over the phone – considerably decreasing operational downtime and the logistics/manpower required to physically return the device for repair.  

Proteus and TouchStar offer a Solution as a Service approach 

The collaborative partnership has been formed to offer clients a Solution as a Service, where the technology i.e. the software, the system, the equipment and it’s method of delivery are all determined by the warehouse operation’s needs. 

What is evident is that the combined technologies deliver significant business benefits, often as a result of the increased productivity and accuracy. Man power energy is one of the biggest warehouse costs that can be reduced as part of an initiative to optimise the warehouse operations, as one TouchStar customer explained, “We used to use pen and paper for our quarterly stock check and it would take 20 people two whole days. With barcodes and scanners, it now takes five people a couple of hours. That alone saves us around one employee a year.” 

 How does Touchstar equate this into energy savings? Karen says,” The technologies when combined, not only streamline’s existing processes but also the use and efficiency of complementary warehouse automation tools such as conveyors, fork lift trucks and racking locations. The optimisation of warehouse tools not only reduces manpower energy, but also the fuel and power required to drive these tools – another significant cost incurred by the organisation.

Karen continues, “A high level of technical expertise born from over 30 years in the design and supply of mobile computing solution enable TouchStar to understand strategic and operational objectives helping identify potential areas of areas for implementation and the associated operational and cost benefits. In-house Industrial, Electronic and Application design capabilities can be utilised to develop bespoke functionality that can further streamline operations”. 

Linda Rodway, Market Development Manager, Proteus Software agrees, “Our prospective clients will benefit from a total systems solution that offers value for money with less overall implementation time because all of the solution’s elements will interface with ease. Clients gain further advantage from having a single point of contact, empowering them because of the partnerships’ collective knowledge and years of experience in providing systems for any industry sector.” 

Further Green Savings 

There are further opportunities to make energy savings as TouchStar also offers solutions for vehicle tracking and telematics within its portfolio. 

“These technologies extend the potential for carbon reduction and ‘green savings’ beyond the warehouse, into the wider distribution element of the supply chain. Genuine and significant carbon reduction improvements can be achieved via reduction in vehicle mileage and improvements in driving technique, leading to significant fuel savings.” Karen concludes.

For further information on the benefits of the Proteus Software/Touchstar Technologies combined solutions contact:

Linda Rodway Proteus Software

Tel: +44 (0) 121 717 7474 

Karen Taylor TouchStar Technologies 

Tel: +44 (0) 1274 741860

*Wikipedia - Alternative Energies

Solar Power 

Harnessing the power of the sun happens in a few ways: PV (Photovoltaic) and CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) being the main two.  The first uses cells that convert light from the sun’ s rays  directly into energy, while the latter directs light ,via mirrors and a series of tracking systems , straight into energy cells that store the energy for later use.  

Wind power 

Wind power has always been used as a method of generating power since ancient times, for example generating enough power to sail ships around the world. But until recently harnessing energy from wind was unheard of. With invention of the tall graceful wind turbines and the subsequent Wind Farms, wind has become one of the foremost sources of an alternative power supply.

Wave Power

Energy from Waves (or the motion of the water) creates energy that can be harnessed by a number of differing devices that lie across waves.  The amount of energy captured depends on the length of the device, the length and height of the wave, the amount of wind available to produce the wave.  Energy is collected, and put to good use immediately.  

Hydropower       

Hydropower captures energy from falling or flowing water and turns it into electricity, creating the term Hydroelectricity

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