In today’s world, where people are relying more on online shopping and less on brick-and-mortar distribution chains, 3PLs and manufacturers need to adapt to new material handling strategies which allows them to be more flexible, efficient and productive. Technology is quickly evolving; becoming more reliable and cost effective. ELT Systems Group can help you navigate what’s out there and find a solution that best fits your facility and application to increase throughput, efficiency, and give you a great return on investment.
“Working smarter not harder”
Robotics and other automated solutions aren’t designed to replace human beings; they allow them to be more efficient and increase productivity. Instead of someone manually building pallets all day, that person can be doing quality checks, reviewing orders, or picking and putting products by implementing a robotic palletizer. Instead of having reach truck drivers drive miles a day transporting pallets across a facility, they can have pallets brought to them and allow robotic solutions to do all the long horizontal transport. The results are more pallets moved per hour.
There are a lot of efficiency losses in the different workflows in any warehouse or production facility. Long pallet transport traffic, workers coming out of the picking areas, or inefficient conveyor runs that were designed decades ago for a different environment. ELT Systems Group can help you find where those inefficiencies are and work with you to discover solutions that will increase throughput and make your workforce’s job easier.
Efficiency, Throughput and Accuracy
Whenever you speak about automation and robotics, you will always have to couch your discussion around three key words: efficiency, throughput, and accuracy. Efficiency means working smarter and not harder. The second and third key words are throughput and accuracy, which are both tied closely together. The goal of any automated project is to make sure it not only works the first 10 times, but the next 1,000,000 times. Repeatability is something that we look for when engaging a client on automation. Is this something that is done everyday, every hour, or every minute?
With accuracy comes throughput. When the workforce is working smarter and more efficient, with some of their monotonous work being automated, they can now do the work that robots can’t and do it faster and more often. Faster and more often leads you to moving more products out the door.
For example, if your facility operates 20 hours a day, seven days a week with a shift of 10 drivers, and you can increase their throughput by just two pallets per hour, that’s over one million more additional pallets moved annually. Even if your peak operational hours are only eight hours a day, that’s still an increase of over 200,000 more pallets moved per year.
Warehouse and other material handling jobs aren’t easy and they have historically been difficult to keep fully staffed. How many warehouse managers out there are continuously looking for fork lift drivers? Robotic and other automated solutions can help eliminate a lot of operational difficulties as well. The previous example was assuming you had a fully staffed team operating at peak efficiency. But what if you’re continuously operating at 70% capacity because you can’t find enough drivers? Automated and robotic solutions will help you reach that peak operational metric.
If you’re working smarter, you’re doing more.
Take any pick and put operation where people are doing order picking, whether in an e-commerce environment or parts picking in a manufacturing facility. There are two primary inefficiencies where technology can assist pickers to work smarter: order transport and processing pick orders.
The first is order transport. If a picker is driving or pushing a cart with fulfilled order or loading a train of carts pulled by a tugger, then there is a lot of unnecessary travel from storage to the shipping or production. That horizontal transport can be optimized with a robotic solution to carry products to where they need to go and maybe even gain floor space by removing complicated conveyor systems. This keeps the picker in the aisles fulfilling more orders.
The second is processing pick orders with either a tablet or other device where orders are relayed through voice or text. You can utilize pick to light systems that eliminates the requirement to read or listen to instructions. This increases throughput and accuracy because pickers are given visual queues to what parts need to be picked. This also eliminates any concerns about language barriers.
Both of these solutions create a better work environment for the pickers where they aren’t walking miles a day back and forth across the facility. This may also help with turnover rates within an operational team.
Don’t forget about fleet management.
When you work with ELT Systems Group, you are not only getting our Systems Division expertise, you are getting decades of fork truck experience and service with Eastern Lift Truck. Both divisions can give you a full facility solution within one company.
The ELT Systems Group Solution
One important aspect of automation is that projects usually are implemented over years in multiple phases. Pick ELT Systems Group to work with you over the long haul to make sure all the different technologies solutions are integrated with a single vision.
As your partner in automation, ELT Systems Group can help you and your company navigate new technology and find solutions within your facility that will potentially improve operations. ELT Systems Group will act as a consultant to find those solutions, a application engineer to design the system for you, a project manager to manage implementation and a partner for life as you implement new automated solutions over time.
If you’re interested in learning more about different solution in general or talk about your own facility, please reach out to us any time.