The AS/RS eliminated the excess air exchange in and out of the freezer, making it more efficient and reducing energy costs. JTM also lost all of the cost associated with the maintenance of fork lifts, and the labor and travel time associated with physically operating them. Now, JTM’s order pickers are more efficient and more productive, they simply push a button and out comes the SKUs they need, and they just pick right to the order pallet.
“My refrigeration engineer shakes his head every time we look at the freezer,” explains Maas. “It uses one-third of the refrigeration we felt it was going to need based on our prior experience with non-AS/RS freezers that would hold 10,000 pallets, and based on everything we knew prior. We originally built in two compressors, but only one of them ever comes on because the other is not needed.”
JTM built the freezer big enough so it could rent out the additional space until it needed it, so, the company does third-party retail logistics work out of its freezer. It has all of its product, as well as other company’s product in its freezer. It made it more affordable for a small company like JTM to take advantage of this level of automation.
Another benefit of the AS/RS is the security of the product in the freezer. “Our level of security is incredible,” says Maas. “Since no one goes in the freezer, the products are more secure from pilferage and tampering.”