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Order Picking, Accuracy and ROI for Industrial Automation

September 5, 2023

order picking line in action, with hand scanner.

You could write a short novel–maybe a long one–about ROI for industrial automation projects.

If you’ve engaged in large-scale distribution or manufacturing automation projects, you probably have a good start on that very thing. ROI is a complicated endeavor with moving parts and shifting priorities. Because investments are always competing with other concepts, it often comes down to this: what’s most important to your company, your business environment and your industry.

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Shoptalk: EDC Pick Module Expansion

March 14, 2023

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

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How to Handle and Remove Corrugated Box Waste in Distribution Applications

December 6, 2022

Overhead conveyor system removing cardboard waste.

Without efficient waste handling flow, systems bog down as people work to clear trash from their work areas. It’s a distraction that significantly impacts productivity and safety, so removing trash from a large scale picking or packing system can be problematic. Pick systems tend to generate empty cartons, and dealing with that waste material can be costly and time consuming if not planned in advance. Devising the right waste (or empty carton) strategy cannot be minimized during the system design process.

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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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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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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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Download Our Guide To Carton Flow

May 28, 2020

carton flow rack in facility
When conducting storage and picking operations the use of carton flow rack not only saves space and makes picking faster, but it also reduces wasted motion. People don’t need to walk as much between pick positions, so they spend more time doing productive work like picking and packing.

There are many options and configurations for carton flow, and to help you navigate those choices, we’ve published a guide to carton flow rack.

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First-In, First-Out Storage Considerations

May 5, 2020

pallet flow system in a distribution center

Above: a distribution center pallet flow application enforces FIFO picking protocol

In the age of eCommerce, fast shipping and obsolescence, first-in/first-out (FIFO) storage strategies are critical tools. Some products fit the mold (food, perishables, some electronics, medicines and many other retail goods), while other types of inventory are more about storage density and efficiency. The question is, what type of storage strategy works best for you? And what types of storage systems should you use?

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Small Order – Big Problem

August 20, 2019

e-commerce warehouse

E-commerce sales continue to account for the majority of the retail sales, but it is not getting any easier on the distribution/fulfillment center operations managers. There continues to be an increase in the number of SKUs and orders with one to three lines. In addition, with growing supply chain lead-time concerns, impacted by Tariff changes, inventory levels are rising! This makes the job even harder for operations managers.

The 2019 Holidays are fast approaching and this only means more on-line order volumes and marketing pushes with even more new SKUs. Not to mention ‘Cyber Monday’ and other key seasonal dates spiking volumes considerably. Add to this the continuing retail trend for multi-channel fulfillment, such as allowing customers to order an item online or inside a store, and having it delivered from the distribution center to the store for the customer to pick-up.

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