Archives for October 2015

When testing conveyor gets too realistic

The WalkTesting on conveyor system installations doesn’t always have to a boring, uneventful affair. At viastore, we take testing a system to make sure its operational very seriously, but we still like to have a little fun.

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Steps into Goods-to-Person Order Picking Systems

Picture1In the typical conventional warehouse, only about 40% of each order picker’s time is spent actually picking products to fill orders; the other 60% is taken up with walking to, between and from picks. That means these same associates are only engaged in revenue-generating activity about 40% of the time. That’s one reason more companies are taking a closer look at goods-to-person (also sometimes called goods-to-man) order fulfillment solutions.

As a basic rule-of-thumb, the ideal application for automating your warehouse with a goods-to-person system is one with a high number of SKUs and an increase in demand for just-in-time ordering—such as e-commerce. As with all automation implementations, there is a range of complexity levels associated with different goods-to-person technology installations. These levels, or steps, are built upon scalable warehouse automation technologies, allowing each to be integrated into an operation progressively, as a business—and its order fulfillment needs—grows. [Read more…]

Back to the Future Day…for Automation

BttFHappy Back to the Future Day. If you don’t know what this means, is was on this day 30 years ago in the ‘Back to the Future’ movie trilogy, where Marty and Doc Brown traveled 30 years into the future to…today. While they saw what the future looked like around Hill Valley, they didn’t happen to visit a distribution center. [Read more…]

High-Speed Sortation Meets E-Commerce Demands

Sliding shoe sortation

This year, online retail sales in the United States will reach $334 billion, roughly 10% of all domestic retail sales, according to Forrester Research. The analysts there go on to predict that over the next five years, e-commerce will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10%. That translates into online sales of $480 billion by 2020.

That also translates into a lot more and smaller, one- and two-line orders than most retailers have historically handled. Gone are the days of the warehouse that solely replenished brick-and-mortar retail store shelves and rack displays. Omni-channel, or fulfillment of multiple kinds of orders (pallets routed to the retail store, cases to wholesale accounts and small parcel online orders shipped to individuals) from a single warehouse or distribution center (DC), is the new normal for today’s retailers.

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Dynamic Slotting, Automated Replenishment of Pick Modules Boost Throughput

Warning_signWarning: This is not your standard article on slotting.

Sure, when you hear “slotting,” you might think “torture.” Even Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling magazine, likens slotting to an unkept New Year’s resolution in this article, saying: “It’s a great idea on paper, but few warehouse managers actually follow through on that resolution in a disciplined way.” That’s because conventional slotting can be time- and labor-intensive, as well as tedious.

Simplified, conventional warehouse slotting in a manual operation involves an analysis of stock picking unit (SKU) data, usually from the past 12 months, to determine where inventory should be stored in the facility. SKUs are ranked based on their pick frequency (velocity), quantity, sizes, weights, and family relationships (toothpaste and toothbrushes are frequently ordered together, for example).

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Three Ways Automated Pallet Storage Solves Throughput Issues in Frozen Product Storage Areas

2014_viastore_Case Study_Myronivsky Hliboproduct_Picture_3aWith the global frozen food market predicted to grow to $307.3 billion (U.S. dollars) by 2020, warehouses currently using manual processes in their frozen product storage areas might consider material handling automation. That’s because automated pallet storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) can improve throughput of slow- to medium-moving frozen products by enhancing handling practices in three ways. [Read more…]