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The Anatomy of a Pick Module

April 12, 2022

Pick module with carton flow on two levels in an apparel distribution center.

Pick modules support a range of warehouse activities, but their primary role is to increase the speed and space efficiency of order fulfillment operations. Configured with racks (which are usually the support structure), conveyors, flow storage, shelves and modular storage, they let you design the storage, fulfillment and picking strategy that fits your needs. Some pick modules are simple — really, just a shelf-supported mezzanine. Others combine automation and WMS systems for full systems integration.

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Posted in Automation, Mezzanines, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Organization| No Comments »

New Rules for Industrial Automation ROI

January 4, 2022

Automated guided vehicles can run independently to deliver picking and storage options to warehouse employees.
In October 2019, I wrote this article on ROI factors for automation projects. That was just over two years ago, but the world is–to understate the case–a different place now. We endured a relentless Covid-19 pandemic that still persists. The “great resignation” has accelerated. Ecommerce demand was already ascendant, but is on an even faster track. The labor pool got shallower and continues to contract. What should we consider when we look at these projects in 2022 and beyond?

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Posted in Automation, Manufacturing, Order Picking & Fulfillment, ROI| No Comments »

When is an ASRS System a Good Fit?

November 18, 2021

Muratec unit load pallet handling ASRS system in action.

Automated storage and retrieval systems are becoming more commonly deployed in today’s modern distribution, manufacturing and warehousing facilities because they make more sense than ever in an age of escalating demand and declining labor availability. Is space tight? What are the error rates throughout fulfillment? What kind of space issues do you see moving forward? What are the safety and ergonomic concerns?

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Posted in Automation, E-Commerce, Order Picking & Fulfillment, ROI| No Comments »

Specifying High-Performance Parcel Handling Conveyor Solutions

September 2, 2021

parcel conveyor system in a warehouse fulfillment operation.

The pressure on companies of all types to continuously ship faster and more efficiently has grown, particularly in the age of increased e-commerce, an extremely tight labor market and Covid-19 restrictions. Increased demand also affects retail distribution as companies work to develop effective delivery channels outside traditional ship-to-store.

The core mission of these operations is parcel shipping–an old art with new twists.

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Order Picking & Fulfillment| No Comments »

Ways to Pick Full Cases Faster, More Accurately and More Ergonomically

July 16, 2021

full case picking from carton flow rack

Case picking is common in most e-commerce, retail and wholesale distribution operations, so it’s important to understand the best ways to pick cartons from start to finish through a process. Most warehouse operations will need at least some case-picking capacity. Beverage and grocery distributors almost always need a large full case picking function. Since order picking commands a high percentage of distribution center labor costs, finding ways to make it more efficient is critical.

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Download Our Guide To Order Picking

May 13, 2021

order picker in search
When searching for the right order picking equipment to meet your facility’s methods and operations, the amount of variety available can be overwhelming. To help with this, Cisco-Eagle has created a new guide to order picking equipment and methods to help you find the picking sweet spot.

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Posted in Order Picking & Fulfillment, Warehousing| No Comments »

How to Make Packing More Efficient

April 6, 2021

Automated packing area for an ecommerce distribution center, pick-to-totes operation.

Above: in this automated e-commerce distribution center, picks are packed into cartons from totes on the conveyor line. Because conveyors deliver the totes directly to workers, and the work is executed at ergonomic heights, the process is fast and efficient.

Order fulfillment is only as fast as its slowest function, and packing–often the last stop before shipping–can be a bottleneck. We’ve analyzed many operations that underestimated the needs of the packing department from the start, while others realized over time that new requirements, new SKUs and order volumes that were fine at go-live eventually bogged the packing function. It’s not unusual for picking processes to react faster and better to these conditions than the packing area.

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Posted in Automation, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Third Party Logistics, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

A Guide to Workstation Reach Zones

March 23, 2021

assembly line with integrated conveyors and workstations.

You should always analyze the economy of movement for repetitive tasks like assembly, packing, picking and repair. Imagine reaching to the same shelf, for the same carton, to pull the same part. How many times a shift does someone make that reach? How many working days a year? How many years? Shaving time and effort off a simple repetitive motion can shave time off your process and improve ergonomics over the years.

To do that, look at how many times–and places–your people reach for things on a daily basis.

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Posted in Lean, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Safety & Ergonomics, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

Putaway is Critical for Distribution Success

December 1, 2020

Putaway aisle in a distribution center, with flow storage and bulk storage accessibility.

Above: workers in a distribution center putaway aisle with flow and bulk storage accessibility. Picking aisles are left clear as the system is replenished. Photo credit: Unex Manufacturing.

Putaway, which is the methods and processes that occur between receiving inventory and that inventory resting in storage positions in a warehouse, may have more impact on the performance of order fulfillment or warehousing operation than most anything else.

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Posted in Automation, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Third Party Logistics, Warehousing| No Comments »

How Simulation Adds Value to Material Handling Systems Specification

November 3, 2020

screenshot from material handling automation program

As we’ve discussed automating anything as complex as a large scale material handling process has risks, but there are ways understand the outcome better in advance and reduce any risks. It’s always good to have more data, and simulation plays into that scenario by giving you a view of what key systems, technology and process will interact in your system, with your loads.

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