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With slow growth predicted for many industries in 2013, organizations are taking a minute to review their current material-handling strategies and operations, asking themselves, “How do we do more with less?” A little more of “this” and a little less of “that” can be the perfect recipe to maximize material-handling efficiencies, leading to reduced operational costs and higher productivity rates. Here are 13 tips to help get the most out of your material-handling operations in 2013:
- More Parts in Less Space: There aren’t many organizations building new facilities these days -- the trend is to do more with the existing space. Organizations trying to use every inch of space often consider vertical carousels and vertical lift modules (VLMs) because of the high storage density they provide, often saving up to 85 percent floor space.
- More Productivity and Efficiency With Less Manpower: If there are multiple workers crisscrossing the warehouse to pick parts, there might be an opportunity to increase productivity. If goods are delivered directly to the worker, more orders can be processed in less time, allowing organizations to fill more orders using less labor.
- More Accuracy With Fewer Errors: People aren’t perfect; however, pick to light technology can improve pick accuracy by up to 99.9 percent. Pick lights direct an operator to the exact location to pick from and displays the quantity to pick, taking the guesswork out of the picking process.
- More Picking and Less Walking: Analyze the amount of time a worker spends walking and searching through shelving for parts. This is wasted time that should be spent doing a more valuable task such as bagging and tagging. Implementing a dynamic picking system that delivers parts to the worker virtually eliminates walking and searching time, leaving more time for picking.
- More Orders Out the Door in Less Time: Processing orders in batches decreases picking time and increases productivity. When picking one order at a time, a worker visits popular SKU locations multiple times to fill several orders, traveling to and from the location each time. When batch picking, the worker visits the location one time and picks a quantity large enough to fill multiple orders, saving time.
- More Automation With Less Manual Work: Printing and carrying a pick list around the facility, throughout the picking process, is a nuisance. With RF scanners, pick to light technology and dynamic picking solutions, paper picking is becoming a process of the past. Inventory management software such as FastPic5 from FastPic Systems, a company of the Kardex AG of Zurich, Switzerland Group, can manage all transactions digitally, integrate with pick to light and provide inventory management reporting.
- More Security With Less Product Shrink: Products stored on shelving and rack are at high risk for loss and theft. Vertical carousels and VLMs come equipped with doors to keep stored goods organized and secure. In addition, FastPic5 inventory management software can monitor transactions and provide detailed reports by user.
- More Safety With Less Product Damage: With traditional shelving and racks, goods are also exposed to natural elements and are at risk for damage. Using vertical carousels and VLMs, goods are stored inside the unit on individual shelves, trays or bins, reducing the risk of product damage.
- More Revenue-generating Activities in Less Storage Space: Integrating dynamic picking systems can yield up to 85 percent floor space savings. Reclaimed floor space can be put to better use by expanding revenue-generating activities such as additional manufacturing or adding quality control.
- More Organization With Less Guesswork: It’s difficult and time-consuming to figure out where to store each and every part to optimize space and maximize performance. FastPic5 inventory management software manages the space, directing the operator where to put the part for maximum storage density and organization.
- More Green With Less Energy: In an effort to go green, organizations are looking to use space that already exists instead of building from the ground up. Vertical carousels and VLMs allow organizations to save up to 85 percent floor space, providing a smaller area f heat and light, reducing energy and maintenance costs.
- More Ergonomics With Less Risk of Injury: Vertical carousels and VLMs eliminate the walking, bending, reaching and stooping commonly associated with shelving. Working on the “goods to person” principle, parts are delivered to an operator at an ergonomic height to reduce workers’ compensation issues and keep workers safe.
- More Success With Less Stress: With 2013 underway, it’s the perfect time to review material-handling strategies and operations. Vertical carousels and VLMs can offer faster, accurate, cost-effective picking, providing more success and less stress this year.
Christina Dube is marketing communications manager for Kardex Remstar LLC. She can be reached at 207-591-3168 or [email protected]. A company of the Kardex Group, Westbrook, Maine-based Kardex Remstar is a provider of automated storage and retrieval systems for manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, offices and institutions.