Business Notes – Issue 37, 2017
When AutomationDirect began, we were told our business plan wouldn’t work. Instead of creating just another industrial control supplier, we proudly said, “We WON’T do things like that anymore.” And, with thousands of products, and award-winning technical support, we have no intention of stopping anytime soon.
Warehouse Expansions Increase Order Throughput And Inventory Capacity
AutomationDirect’s ability to offer low prices on quality industrial control products is based on a direct sales model supported by highly efficient teams and processes. By keeping overhead low, we can pass the savings on to our customers. AutomationDirect recently completed the first phase of a major warehouse expansion that has already increased order picking throughput without the need for additional staff. An automated shuttle system delivers parts on demand to pick stations where staff quickly remove the parts from the storage containers and load order boxes with retrieved parts. The same shuttle robots automatically return the part containers to their storage locations. The new system uses much less space than the more traditional flow rack system where pickers move up and down aisles retrieving parts manually, meaning we can add many new products to our mix within the existing footprint. This system streamlines restocking operations as well. These improvements allow us to continue to fulfill all customer orders for same-day shipping at peak order times even as we accommodate substantial growth.
Additional bulk storage capacity is also being added adjacent to the existing warehouse. Designed to be an automated storage and retrieval system when fully operational, it will increase receiving capacity and speed by a factor of 10 or more. The new structure has already created a stir among nearby residents who have a view of our lighted logo in the evenings!
Office and Lab Expansions Improve Efficiency and Collaboration
The success of the business model does keep our teams growing, and with it the need for new facilities. The Engineering building completed in 2015 houses software developers, product managers and product engineers. Our developers engineered and continue to improve the Productivity series PLC programming software. Our product managers and engineers search out and work with suppliers to continue expanding our product offerings. The testing and inspection labs ensure all products meet our high quality standards.
Next on the agenda is a new facility to house primarily marketing as well as other teams. With staff currently scattered throughout various buildings, the new space will bring the team together to facilitate collaboration and interaction. It will also update and expand the photography studios, video production suites, electronics lab and storage for educational donations. We expect to break ground spring of 2017 with projected completion in mid-2018.
AutomationDirect in the Press
Every year, several industry magazines present awards to outstanding companies who provide innovative technological advances, and/or exceptional customer service.
AutomationDirect has once again been honored by some of those publishers.
January 2017 marked the sixth consecutive year that Automation World readers have voted for their “FIRST TEAM” suppliers in PMMI Media Group’s 2016 Leadership in Automation program. Jim Chrzan, Publisher of Automation World, says “Our First Team Honorees represent not only best-in-class product innovation but also superior customer service.” In two categories, HMI Hardware and PLCs/PACs, AutomationDirect was awarded “First Team” status. Read more →
Control Engineering magazine’s annual Engineers’ Choice award highlights some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by CE’s readers and online subscribers. Respondents are asked to select products based on technological advancement, service to the industry and market impact. AutomationDirect’s C-more Micro EA-ECOM received an honorable mention award. Read more →
Finalists have now been announced for the 2017 NED Innovation Award. Each December, editors and advisors of Penton Media’s New Equipment Digest (NED) survey the 2,000+ new products published during the previous 12 months to find the most disruptive examples of product innovation they have seen. This year, our Wera Joker Ratcheting Combination Wrench has been named as a finalist, making a perfect addition to this mix. Read more →