Posts By Kelli S. Zellner

Things to consider when sourcing materials handling equipment

Innovative materials handling technologies like those provided by KIVA are in high demand in today’s modern warehousing facilities. Companies seeking to boost efficiency while shedding labor costs are faced with the challenge of sorting through multiple options for proper materials handling equipment. To avoid trying to sustain an inefficient process through automation, learning how to choose an appropriate solutions provider is crucial – as selecting a solutions provider with a proven track record is essential. Materials handling technologies like those provided by KIVA provide a structured data based system without having to sell unnecessary add-ons or exaggeratedly complex equipment.

Selecting only what is needed

Advanced technology can be very alluring. However, when choosing a materials handling solution, it is important to limit yourself to a system that suits the nature and size of your business. In essence, it would be inappropriate for a facility managing low volumes to spend lots of money procuring the latest shuttle technology when clearly; its operations would be incapable of utilizing the system’s capabilities to the fullest. Avoid getting disillusioned by technology’s novelty, and ensure you are getting value for your money by choosing a technology that perfectly suits your facility.

Choosing a system that is dynamic

Evolving market conditions have led companies to inculcate multi-faceted systems for their facilities. To accommodate different flows, they could install different kinds of conveyors, carousels and pick modules within the same facility. Another area for consideration when choosing materials handling equipment is the need to create a balance between peak and average performance.

Drawbacks to decision making

There are 2 major drawbacks in materials handling technology decision-making.

i. Under-automating – This could be seen as a means of curtailing capital expenditure, hence not utilizing the range of available solutions.

ii. Over-automating – This could involve forcing a particular piece of machinery to work in a solution.

Companies can make proper decisions about materials handling automation by focusing on the perfect order, and homing in on available data. Instead of opting to construct around any fancy piece of technology, it would be better to choose a specific materials handling equipment to suit the nature of your business, and the structure of your facility.


Pick-by-Light Systems

Fast and Reliable
In any warehouse, having a fast, efficient order picking process in place is crucial. Being able to select and dispatch orders quickly and accurately is important.

Pick-by-Light systems can help as they remove the need for paper or any additional device. In any warehouse operation, it provides a fast, paperless way for not only speeding up order picking it can also reduce errors in the process. It removes the need for having to use picklists to fulfil orders and reduces the errors that come with such lists.

Application – storage system
Linked to the warehouse management system, Pick-by-Light works by ensuring that each item compartment has an electronic display installed. When every there is an order to be filled, the display visibly lights up with the number of items needed. Rather than having to rely on a picklist, orders are shown in situ clearly showing the order picker the compartment that they need to remove items from.

After picking the goods required to fulfil the order, they can press an acknowledgement button that changes the display. This updates in real-time the warehouse management systems handling the order process.

As the system relies on the use of displays, it is much more efficient especially when it comes to order pickers. If the warehouse has a high turnover of staff, then it can reduce the time it takes to learn how to use it. Alternatively it can mean the need for fewer staff where a warehouse has a large number of pickers.

Such a system brings with it several key advantages.

  • Faster picking speeds as search times are minimised.
  • Reduced picking errors.
  • Links the system into other warehouse systems.
  • Reduces the time it takes to train order pickers.

Where Next
With systems already available on the market they have a proven record in helping improve warehouse operations, both in processing orders and using order pickers. When linked to other warehouse systems it makes it possible to ensure that the right goods are available at the right time.