October 12, 2022

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems: Complete Guide

Automatic storage and retrieval systems, or AS/RS, have always been considered the technology for more giant warehouses and fulfillment systems. However, automated storage and retrieval systems are no longer out of the reach of small order fulfillment centers and retail warehouses. 

The systems have evolved and come up with versatile size, flexibility, cost, and speed options. Therefore, the adoption of AS/RS technology has recently increased profoundly. The following post offers a detailed overview of an AS/RS system, alongside its benefits and types. In addition, the post can also help you make the right choice of AS/RS technology and ensure desired value improvements.         

What Are Automated Storage And Retrieval Systems?

Automatic storage and retrieval systems are warehouse solutions designed particularly for buffering, storing, and retrieving products according to demand. The technology could differ considerably, with multiple variants and distinct features. Generally, the ASRS systems integrate with warehouse management software, warehouse execution software, and other crucial controls. You can imagine them as computer-aided or robot-aided systems for the retrieval of items alongside ensuring their storage of items in different locations. The method generally features predefined areas for finding the suitable route for procuring the items. 

Related: How To Calculate Warehouse Storage Capacity?

Benefits Of Using An Automated Storage And Retrieval System

Improve efficiency: Automated storage and retrieval system have been designed to move stock quickly and accurately. This helps to free up time for your employees to focus on other tasks. 

Reduce costs: AS/RS can help reduce labor costs, inventory carrying costs, and damage to goods. 

Increase space utilization: An automated storage and retrieval system can help you make the most of your available space. You can store more items in a smaller area using a computerized system. 

Improve safety: Automated systems can help improve your warehouse's safety by reducing the need for employees to work in high places or handle heavy items. 

Enhanced customer service: Quicker order fulfillment times can improve customer satisfaction. 

Related: 6 Different Types of Pallet Racks for Warehouse Storage

Different Types Of Automated Storage And Retrieval Systems

Another significant highlight in the introduction to ASRS systems is the variants. The categories of shared automatic storage and retrieval systems include Unit-Load AS/RS and Mini-Load AS/RS cranes. Unit-load AS/RS systems have two types: movable aisle and fixed aisle cranes. 

In addition, the ASRS automated storage retrieval system categories also feature four other groups such as,

  • Carousel-based AS/RS
  • Shuttle and Bot-based AS/RS
  • Micro-Load AS/RS or Stocker
  • Vertical Lift Module or VLM AS/RS

Several different types of automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) can be used in warehouses and other storage facilities. The kind of system best for a particular business will depend on several factors, including the size of the facility, the types of items being stored, and the level of automation required.

Shuttle-based AS/RS systems use automated vehicles to move items between storage locations. These systems are well suited for extensive facilities with high volumes of traffic. 

Bot-based AS/RS systems use robots to move items between storage locations. These systems are more flexible than shuttle-based systems and can be used in smaller facilities.

Micro-load AS/RS or stocker systems store and retrieve small items. These systems are typically used in manufacturing or assembly operations where space is limited. 

Vertical lift modules or VLM AS/RS systems store and retrieve heavy or bulky items. These systems are often used in distribution centers or other operations where things need to be moved quickly and efficiently.

How To Choose The Right Automated Storage And Retrieval System For Your Business

Businesses need practical and resourceful warehouse space usage while ensuring labor efficiency and maximum use of assets. Therefore, choosing suitable automated pallet racking systems is vital to provide the best results. Here are some essential pointers you should remember when selecting an automatic storage and retrieval system.

Reliability of Software

You must note that ASRS systems feature four components: storage rack, storage and retrieval equipment, input/output system, and computer management system. Make sure that the AS/RS system features well-designed and intuitive software for easy scheduling of storage and retrieval tasks.

Height and Weight Capacity

The following important factor for choosing ASRS technologies would be the capacity for weight and height. How many sizes can the system reach, and how much weight can it support? Depending on your requirements, you need to look for different alternatives that can fit your bill.

Speed and Customer Service

The final pointers for selecting automated storage and retrieval systems would be speed and customer service. It should have the potential to adapt to peak demand periods while ensuring responsive and reliable customer service. 

With the help of these factors, you can land up with the ideal ASRS system for your business. Invest your time in research and make sure you pick the best solution for your warehouse operations right now. 


An automated storage and retrieval system may be the perfect solution for your business if you're looking for a way to optimize efficiency and save time and money. This guide overviews what these systems are, the different types available, and the benefits they offer. So whether you're just starting or looking for an upgrade, read on to find out if an automated storage and retrieval system is proper for you! Already have a system in place? Contact us today to learn about our new all-in-one 3PL management tool that can help make your operations run smoother than ever before.

Recommended: 6 Main Types of Warehouse Storage Systems

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