Keep your Order Picking in Step with your Customers Needs

People’s ordering habits are changing radically in line with new social trends and the area of distribution logistics is increasingly focusing on three cost factors: materials, people and error rates –

Order-picking experts Kardex Remstar delivers some new strategies and various scenarios when looking at automation and the latest technologies and solutions.

In the past many companies focused their attention on the efficiency of business areas such as procurement, production, and sales, but companies only bring about modest improvements here, even after huge financial outlay.  For another thing, until recently, distribution logistics were still associated with the outdated image of busy employees running back and forth between static shelving in spare part and supply warehouses. However, this view has altered radically in recent years along with ordering habits.

Until about ten years ago, customers ordered an average of around ten articles per order. Although the number of orders has increased with the growth in online trade and the rise in diversified production of things such as cars and spare parts, the number of articles per order has dropped to just two. This means that the picking process – the task of putting together an order made up of articles from the overall product range – is much more complex. In other words, the pickers have to process five times as many orders to pick the same number of articles as before.

This would mean that picking would need five times as many employees to achieve the same level of performance.  But, there is a very high cost factor involved, even if using unskilled workers.  Until recently, hardly anyone asked themselves how much picking an article actually costs, yet now companies want to know precisely what it costs. Based on such calculations, they opt for manpower costing of around £33,000 per picker, per year for efficient order-picking technologies and solutions. They also do both depending on the order volume to be handled.

Order picking significantly influences the efficiency of distribution logistics. There are however, factors that need to be considered.  Efficient order picking is dependent on picking time per order per line. This of course is made up of the basic time, search time, retrieval time, dead time, and distribution time and should be kept as short as possible. If we compare the picking time needed per order for static and automated storage systems, the search time offers the greatest potential for saving time.  With static shelving the picker runs all over the place and travels long and sometimes unnecessary distances in order to get to the right storage space. Automated storage systems reduce the distance traveled by the picker to a minimum. The time saved means that they are able to pick more orders, which ultimately leads to an overall increase in performance.

The LR 35 Virtual Buffer Module is the perfect storage and picking solution for handling single-part or small-volume orders – providing fast and accurate access together with secure storage. The LR 35 can speed up performance, enabling up to 500 order lines per picking station an hour, and is suited for picking small parts from bins, cardboard boxes, and trays in small and medium-sized warehouses. The unit design consists of a shelf system with automatic bin handling, picking stations, and its own logistics software.”

The LR 35 uses its own replenishing solution and each station can be fitted with several access openings in different designs. At the heart of each station is the turntable, tilted at an angle of 20 degrees, it has been ergonomically designed. While the operator picks one order, the LR 35 prepares the next bin and places it on the rear shelf of the turntable. As soon as the picking process is complete the turntable turns through 180 degrees and the next bin is ready for picking. This permanent access to goods keeps waiting times to a minimum and goods can be stored in standard mini-load systems compatible bins. Each load carrier can hold up to 35kg.

Author:  Tom Findlay, Sales Director, Kardex UK,

Kardex Remstar press contact

Debra Wilkins • Kardex systems UK

North Suite, First Floor, Stag House, Old London Road• Hertford, SG13 7LA

Telephone: +44-01992 557237 •

E-mail: [email protected]