Reducing order fulfillment time and logistics is a competitive advantage Amazon and Zappos have mastered. Improvements in order fulfillment will continue to change the future of distribution. While there is no one size fits all order picking solution, we have highlighted 6 ways to help accelerate order fulfillment.
Pick-to-light is ideal for high picking speed, low error rate order fulfillment. This technology allows order pickers to reduce the thought process require for picking and improve accuracy. Light displays direct the operators to specific stock locations.
Pick-to-voice provides voice instructions to operators through headphones and a microphone. This technology can direct interface with most Warehouse Management Systems and provides up to 99.9% picking accuracy. Pick-To-Voice is a great candidate in large scale order fulfillment applications. Freeing operators from needing to reference paper or computer monitors provides a significant improvement in picking productivity.
Carton Flow systems incorporate a gravity feed rear-load design. Materials are loaded from the rear and picked from the front. Items directly behind the pick are indexed forward. The main advantage of carton flow is storage density and automatic replenishment. Merchandise also can be better organized in a carton flow setup.
Vertical Lift Modules (VLM)
Vertical Lift Modules can reduce order picking times by 30% to 50%. VLMs are a condensed automated storage system that stores product on trays which are delivered to the picker. Compared to traditional static shelving for storage, VLMs allow for a greatly reduced footprint in the building. VLMs also provide a reduction in manpower needed to pick materials. Instead of having to walk around an entire shelving system to locate products, a VLM will automatically sequence the picks required for order fulfillment.
Zero Pressure Accumulation Conveyor improves material flow and reduces product damage. For applications where items are picked then staged for further QC, packing or shipment, accumulation conveyor can help in improve the queue. Boxes/totes are segregated into zones typically separated by photo eyes. Materials are indexed forward, and can further be routed to a specific lane based on barcode/RFID information programmed into the system.
Twinlode enables a forklift to load or unload two pallets at a time allowing for doubling productivity. Dual pallet handling can reducing labor by up to 50%, and increase pallet positions up to 35%. This solution is popular in the beverage industry. It also has merit in food manufacturing and cold storage applications.
Material Handling & Storage, Inc. was incorporated in 1992. MHS specializes in the design, integration and installation of storage systems, industrial automation, pallet rack and conveyor. Our focus is on improving cube utilization and increasing productivity within manufacturing, warehousing and distribution centers. We have operations in Northern California and Phoenix, Arizona. Our portfolio of projects are throughout the United States.