Mixed SKU order picking has become the bane of every ware-house owner’s existence, yet it is the most critical task in the distribution center (DC). As SKU proliferation soars and package types multiply, the order complexity of today’s store pallet has increased significantly. The number of different SKUs with their varied packaging is growing continually and becoming increasingly difficult to handle.
Couple that with the rising demand to deliver these mixed pallets in more store-friendly formats to a diverse and expanding range of store configurations and increased labor costs and suddenly you have a real problem.
How can DCs keep up with today’s increasing demand and changing order complexity without investing a great deal of money in either more labor or a lot of automation?
At ProMat 2015 in RSW booth #4441, the answer is revealed: An underrated aspect of manual order picking processes is the stacking of mixed packages on pallets and roll containers. It is estimated that approximately 80 % of order pickers must regularly re-stack packages because the pallet is unstable or could potentially become unstable. With the SAT (Stack Assist Tool & smart orderpick instructions) any cargo carrier can not only be more stable, but can be more efficiently stacked. Decrease of damage during transportation and have a better optimized truckload.
The RSW Intelligent Palletizing Software (IPS) program calculates the optimal stacking pattern based on the pick list and the pick route. The stacking pattern is then translated into stacking instructions for the order picker and presented step-by-step via a laserpointer. Even the route can be optimized according each order structure to safe time and costs during orderpick activities.
Use of the SAT (Stack Assist Tool) leads to a minimum of 30-50% increase in the productivity of orderpickers. Stack Assist Tool ensures a fluent process where orderpickers build stable stacks in one flow, even the route can be optimized based on customers wish or customer preferred stacking restrictions.
In addition, using the Stack Assist Tool results in higher loadfactors and less transportation costs. A more efficiently stacked pallet means a better use of available space, and that can lead to a decrease of several pallets at the end of the day. This is followed by a decrease in transportationcosts, and several customers being able to be served by one truck.
A recent evaluation of a logistics provider proved that 10 SAT trucks could produce in the same time the same volume as 13 conventional orderpick trucks without the SAT technology. This resulted in not only a significant cost savings, but also but also more stable and higher pallets and optimized truckloads. The new SAT technology provides a much denser pallet providing the customer a more store-friendly pallet.
The SAT concept is easily the most innovative breakthrough in orderpicking & manual mixed palletizing over the last decade and will truly revolutionize the way warehouses approach orderpicking, sequencing and delivery to stores. As the need to deliver orders in more store-friendly formats to a diverse and expanding range of store configurations continues to grow, the burden will fall on logistics leaders to find and implement flexible, optimized, and accurate systems to adapt and grow with the consumer demands and behavior. The SAT solution from RSW is a quantum leap in that direction and is setting a new benchmark for improving the efficiency of DC operations.
RSW BV, a Dutch-based company, is part of the Wadinko group, The Netherlands, a leading supplier of flexible automation systems for the logistics, automotive, energy and industrial solutions sectors with more than 3000 employees worldwide. The company is a world leader in automated mixed palletizing systems and logistics for warehouses and distribution centers. Its fields of competence include end-of-line mixed case palletizing, depalletizing, , software development, engineering and consulting services in connection with overall warehouse and distribution center storage and order fulfillment systems.