What is a goods-to-person (G2P) distribution center or warehouse?
In a goods-to-person distribution center or warehouse, operators are stationed at workstations and the items needed to fulfill orders are brought to them by automated equipment. In a goods-to-person environment, that automated system knows exactly what products the operators need to fulfill orders, and it brings those items directly to them.
This goods-to-person process is the opposite of the more traditional person-to-goods process, where operators have to walk (or ride some kind of vehicle) throughout the warehouse to find the products needed to fulfill an order generally in racking, shelving, flow rack, etc. A goods-to-person environment eliminates travel time for operators, which in turn reduces labor costs, improves efficiencies, mitigates risks, and increases job satisfaction.
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What type of technology is used to create a goods-to-person environment?
A variety of automated storage solutions are available to create a goods-to-person warehouse and distribution center environment. Vertical carousels, horizontal carousels, and vertical lift modules (VLMs) are among the most common.
Typically, two or more of these systems need to be integrated to satisfy all of a warehouse’s storage and inventory management needs, and often, the systems need to be combined with traditional conveyor system or other more sophisticated technologies, such as autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). All of these automated components are coordinated by an integrated WMS / WCS solution.
Warehouse management software (WMS) must be able to handle a variety of different goods-to-person technologies
Most distribution centers and warehouses need a combination of automated storage solutions to operate at peak efficiency. That means any software solution under consideration must be able to handle a variety of different goods-to-person functions, including not only the tracking of orders, but also the automated presentation and conveyance of the products needed to fulfill those orders.
Look for a warehouse management system (WMS) provider or warehouse control system (WCS) provider that has a proven track record of delivering that kind of comprehensive solution. Ask lots of questions and talk to their references. Best-in-class software companies want to solve business challenges and they will look at warehouse operations holistically. They understand that optimizing performance involves integrating all of the different hardware and software components.
It is also critical to size the solution correctly. After all, the WMS must be able to manage, store, and convey the volume of goods required—and not just for today, but also for down the road, when the business grows.