Conveyor and sortation systems have been around for decades but with the passage of time the market has drastically changed, and technology has kept up with it. What may have been a perfect fit for your operation ten or twenty years ago may not be what is needed now. Third party logistic companies and even manufacturers need to adjust for the times and potentially upgrade or re-design current installations to meet the challenges of the present day.
Shifts in labor force and availability requiring automation
Warehouse capacity issues forcing more compact delivery and sorting systems
Downtime and maintenance costs due to aging infrastructure
Marketplace shifts requiring tracking and shipping of less than a pallet worth of products from layers to cases
E-commerce driven on demand shipment of products with custom built pallet loads
All the challenges listed above should give you a pause and evaluate your current conveyor and sortation system. Are your conveyors aging requiring more and more maintenance? Is down time costing you efficiency and money? If you have older conveyors, they may be not energy efficient and harder to replace. Consider replacing older conveyor with newer technology like MDR that requires less maintenance and energy while also being significantly quieter.
E-Commerce is driving third party logistic companies and manufacturers to reconsider how they ship product out the door. Companies that are used to shipping pallet loads dock to dock may have customers demanding layer or even case specific pallets. To meet these demands you may want to consider layer picking applications with different sorting systems for case breakdown. Many of these solutions can be integrated with robotic automation solutions as well.
With today's demands your sortation rates may have escalated where your current design no longer can keep up, or it is not capable of sorting with the refinement you need. More spurs or new sortation areas may be required to meet demand. New sorting methods coupled with new software can be utilized to make sure you can meet the demands of your clients and customers that also allow your associates to work smarter and not harder. This will ultimately lead to more efficiency and throughput through your operation.
On the other side, with more product being ordered online, warehouse space is becoming more and more of a premium. Older designed systems can potentially be redesigned to be more compact with carousels and higher efficient picking solutions. Automation can be used to reduce the floor space needed for manual sorting operations and workflows leaving room for more warehouse racking and manufacturing.
Consideration for products not in cases is something that may be a challenge. Tray sorting and belt conveyance can allow for a facility to successfully scan and sort products that are either light weight or have odd shapes whether it is for returns or part picking for outgoing orders. New systems can be designed to ergonomically allow associates to receive products or process returns easier and faster without having to worry about product on a belt or in a tote.
If any of the challenges listed above sound familiar, then ELT Systems Group can assist you with finding a solution for success.
Contact the systems group today or Jason Dodge directly for further information and to get started on your project today.
Automation Manager | Systems Division
Eastern Lift Truck Co., Inc.
Cell: (609) 605-1043