Shakespere said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Problem is, whether it’s called “single pick”, or “broken case pick”, or “repack”, not even Shakespere would call anything resembling less-than-case picking a “rose”! He may suggest a thorn…?

In short, broken case picking is all of the following:

  • It’s a poor use of warehouse space…
  • It’s labor intensive…
  • Order accuracy is dependent upon a non-highly compensated associate…

It’s well established that “to increase productivity, one must reduce the number of touches”.

That old adage is now officially proven false…because PiecePick® actually INCREASES the number of touches and at the same time, INCREASES productivity.

The secret is in the definition of the word “touch”. Specifically, how much time is involved in each touch? And how much product is actually picked once the operator is in front of the pick slot? A touch, for example, that requires an operator to move horizontally and/or vertically for several seconds before making a pick of one or two units will have a much lower pick rate than someone who moves only two or three steps and picks 10 or more units.

PiecePick® focuses on touches that require one or two seconds of movement between picks as well as larger pick quantities, sometimes twenty to thirty times more quantity per stop.

Studies suggest the following results:

  • Double the amount of product stored in the same amount of space, or the same product in half the space.
  • Two-thirds the labor.
  • 100% verifiable accuracy.
  • A fraction of the capital investment typically required for pick modules with case-flow lanes and “miles of conveyor”. (Please Note: Some companies actually boast about the miles of conveyor in their warehouse. It amazes us…has no one explained how expensive conveyor is per linear foot?)

For those who wish to read more, let’s begin with a simple description of the typical broken case pick system:

  1. Receiving is where it all begins – so let’s begin there by describing the most typical method. Less-than-case items are typically (not always) received in less-than-full pallet quantities. Perhaps a tier or two of the same item, and often a case or two delivered by a re-seller’s truck with multiple SKU on the same pallet.
  2. Next is the put-away function. When inventory is moved from receiving to put-away, it is typically moved to reserve. When the pick slot is nearing empty, a replenishment function is requested and inventory is moved from reserve to the pick slot. If the pick slot won’t accommodate the inventory on the pallet, the pallet is returned to reserve – to be called upon again later.
  3. Picking is next. The most typical method is single order picking to totes transported by either a mobile cart or gravity conveyor. One order selector picks one (or if they’re really good, perhaps two), order for each trip around the pick path. The selector may have pick-to-light for assistance, or voice pick, or no assistance at all. Predominantly, the orders are picked one per person per trip.
  4. Totes are released from the pick area in one of two ways, a.) as they’re filled, requiring a sorter, or b.) they’re kept together and released when the order is completed.
  5. The final step is truck loading, where totes are either palletized with full case items and loaded by pallet, or the truck is floor loaded with a combination of cases and totes.

PiecePick® is a completely different paradigm set.

  1. PiecePick® allows receiving to bring inventory into the warehouse without repalletizing it. Specifically, receivers aren’t required to separate different SKU onto different pallets. The received pallet can be delivered to put-away as it is received. Labor required for re-palletizing at receiving is no longer needed.
  2. PiecePick® eliminates the replenishment function. Once a product is put into storage, it isn’t touched again until it’s picked. The replenishment function is gone, finished, caput, finis. Labor required for replenishment is no longer needed.
  3. PiecePick® assigns selectors to pick bulk quantities of inventory for multiple orders at a time. Instead of traveling the pick path once for each order picked, the pick path is traveled only once for multiple orders – perhaps 50 or 150 orders picked at the same time.
  4. Inventory is touched an additional time for this step because the inventory is now sorted into the shipping containers (i.e. tote or corrugated). To optimize productivity and insure accuracy, PiecePick® utilizes pick-to-light technology, robust controls, and integration of conveyor controls with network software that interfaces with the host computer in real time.
  5. When a tote is full, it is either pushed onto a take away conveyor and sorted, or it’s retained in queue with the other totes/boxes for the same order until time to be released to shipping and truck loading.

Call 864-616-6457 to receive a priority access password to view the videos.

For more information, click here.

 

Studies have proven that “pre-stamping” cigarette inventory (stamping at receiving beforeput away) is the most labor productive method for stamping cigarettes. The bad news is that it requires the highest inventory cost.

The same studies prove that “post-stamping” cigarette inventory (stamping after an order is picked) is the highest labor cost method because it delivers the lowest labor productivity rate for stamping cigarettes. The good news is that it yields the lowest inventory cost.

The question distributors have wrestled with for years is, “Should we ‘pre-stamp’ or ‘post stamp’?”

SmokePick® makes that question irrelevant.

 

Why?

Because SmokePick® achieves the labor productivity rate similar to a “pre-stamp” application AND an inventory cost that is similar to a “post-stamp” application. In addition, SmokePick® delivers an accuracy rate that is superior to either “pre-stamp” or “post-stamp” applications, exceeding 99.99% and typically 100%. If there is an error, the system will know exactly who committed the error and when.

Historically, “pre-stamp” applications have required fewer stamping machines than “post-stamp” applications because of the higher stamp rate at which “pre-stamp” applications achieve. SmokePick enjoys a similar stamp rate to “pre-stamp”, so fewer stamp machines and fewer stamp machine operators are required.

One last SmokePick® advantage…because inventories are reduced and because there’s only one unstamped pick slot per SKU, SmokePick® utilizes less warehouse floor space. (The reduction is a direct correlation with the number of pre-stamped inventories that currently exist.)

In summary, SmokePick® is the best-of-breed solution for lean distribution of cigarette products. Through the use of high-speed sortation, put-to-light technology, robust controls, and integration of all facets of the cigarette product life cycle, SmokePick® enables high product velocity and throughput with amazingly low labor requirements.

Call 864-616-6457 for priority password access to view the product videos.

For more information, click here.

Warehouse companies who distribute product from freezers combat conditions unlike those in any other department.

  • Initially, warehouse freezer space is more expensive to build; and then it’s more expensive to service than any other grocery department.
  • Over the past 20 years, SKU growth as a percentage of total SKU is higher in the freezer than in any other department. Many, if not most of the SKU represent slow, and at best, medium sales volumes. Each requires a pick slot, each requires reserve storage, each increases the travel distance required to put-away product, each increases the travel distance required to pick an order.
  • Workers are subject to frigid conditions, ranging from -8 to as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Special compensation and additional “warm up” breaks all add to the labor cost for freezer operations.
  • Product picked and shipped in error is expensive to return and recycle to another customer. More typically, discounts are given to encourage the retailer to keep the product.

For those companies who break cases in the freezer in order to ship single picked items, the order fulfillment process is compounded that much more.

When faced with an abundance of SKU, each requiring a pick slot, the single most significant challenge for freezer distributors is the height of the worker – they can only reach as high as the length of their arms. Once the height factor is used up, to accommodate the challenges, the traditional solution is to make pick slots smaller, either vertically or horizontally. Problems escalate once this decision is made. For example, received product is re-palletized to fit a smaller pick slot; and workers are forced to climb below beams to reach product.

IcePick®, Velociti Alliance’s solution for freezer operations, typically doubles the product stored in freezers, reduces labor by 30% to 50%, eliminates errors and the cost associated with errors, and increases the number of pick slots by 40% or more.

For more information, click here.

 

We’ve just launched the beta of Velociti’s new web site!  Coming soon: online support requests and tracking, product updates, and more!

We thought it would be great, but now we know for sure!  Day one.  New system.  Nervous operators moving slowly.  …and they still finished their workload ahead of schedule!  CasePick® effectively harnesses the power of batch selection and sorting to reduce labor cost.  Accuracy?  Day one was flawless!  Take a look at CasePick®, it’ll add profit to your bottom line!