Information management: Light-directed put stations optimize split case fulfillment
October 02, 2013 - MMH Editorial
Next, an apparel retailer, sought to increase pick rates and decrease the amount of worker travel in the warehouse. By deploying a goods-to-person order fulfillment solution, the company has achieved a dramatic increase in distribution productivity and capacity.
The facility now features 20 light-directed stations that each hold up to 24 order totes destined for one of approximately 500 retail outlets. At each high-rate put station, a single operator is directed by put-to-light displays to fill a series of orders, fed by a seamless, sequenced supply of product from storage. Product is automatically delivered to the station’s central picking point from the automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS). When an order tote is full, the display instructs the operator to push it onto a take-away conveyor for transfer to shipping.
The high rate put stations eliminate the need for workers to travel to each pick face in a warehouse. Instead, operators are fed with a continual supply of products, and the ergonomic design of the stations ensures that high productivity is combined with minimal physical demands on operators. The operators now achieve pick rates of up to 1,000 items per hour depending on the order profile.
An additional benefit of supplying stock to pickers is that errors are substantially reduced, improving accuracy and customer service levels. The high rate order fulfillment system has delivered a 300% increase in order picking rates, along with far greater peak capacity to meet changing business requirements.
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