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Shoptalk: EDC Pick Module Expansion

New pick module allows faster, more accurate shipping

Systems Inquiry

In our latest Shoptalk installment, employee-owner Amanda of our Systems Integration Group discusses how EDC upgraded and expanded its pick module operations.

Solutions that led to higher demand

As we previously discussed in an earlier Shoptalk, Educational Development Corporation (EDC) was experiencing tremendous growth starting in 2015. This growth was causing an order backlog which put a lot of pressure on their existing order fulfillment operation. Their strategy (created with the help of Cisco-Eagle) was to build a larger, more automated facility, adding a new warehouse management system, light-directed picking, intelligent conveyor transfers and high-density carton storage.

These modifications worked! EDC reduced its order backlog to near zero while shipping faster (with more accuracy). But in 2020, the company experienced higher demand for their children’s books due to the pandemic and natural growth. They needed to find another solution to fit their expanding fulfillment operations beyond their existing equipment.

EDC’s upgrades that tackle now and the future

pick to light module at Educational Development Corporation distribution center

As Amanda explains, EDC worked with Cisco-Eagle on a solution to their growth demands by using adjacent warehouse space to build a 2-level pick module. This solution not only offered new additional technologies for EDC to utilize but also would work with their existing pick-to-light operations. This concept maximized space, increased throughput and improved safety.

Order induction

The new conveyor lines that were installed provided multiple entry points, multi-zone skipping and recirculation options for missed picks. These new additions make the system more versatile by reducing dwell time on the conveyor line, and by allowing for recirculation into a picking zone if that zone is too full.

Another addition was LP Convey technology, which allows for zoning on conveyor lines with scanners. By combining this with their existing Lightning Pick system, EDC improved order correctness and speed.

Transport and picking

conveyor transporting totes

Once items are picked, the next upgrade was how they flow through the EDC system. As totes make their way down the conveyor, they’re scanned at each picking area to determine whether they need to enter the area for picks. An area usually contains 6-8 picking zones, and each line has 3 main areas.

The tote then continues its travels. Once in an appropriate area, totes are scanned at each zone. If picks are needed, the tote enters the zone and is scanned for fulfillment. After all picks are made in that zone, pickers then place the tote back on the line to be scanned at the next zone. When an order is complete, the totes are scanned at exit points at which they will be diverted to packaging.

Read more: The anatomy of a pick module 

Packing and shipping

Warehouse conveyor with totes of books diverting toward shipping area.

Once orders enter the packing area, they queue on zero-pressure accumulation conveyor to wait for an available station. Wanting no packer to become overwhelmed, the system sorts orders based on labor load. If a packer gets behind, the system has plenty of buffer space to allow order picking to continue uninterrupted.

Upon reaching the loading dock, boxes will transfer from powered chutes onto flexible conveyors, which feed awaiting trailers. The flexible conveyors adjust easily to fill trailers with packages.

Read more: How to make packing more efficient 

About Shoptalk

Every full-time employee at Cisco-Eagle owns shares in the company, and we empower our employee-owners to provide exceptional service. Our Shoptalk series uses informational posts, videos, and other content to help you identify, specify and implement the right equipment for your operation.

More Shoptalk videos

download the Cisco-Eagle guide to order picking operations.

Download the Cisco-Eagle guide to order picking

When it comes to picking orders, you have many options: equipment types, methods, technologies and more. Download our guide to order picking to read tips and articles from our expert employee-owners. You’ll find practical examples of ways to cope with ergonomics, slow movers, various picking systems and much more.

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