Tag Archive for: facility design

Increased Volume of E-Commerce Orders

According to Digital Commerce 360, e-commerce, as a portion of total retail sales, rose 44% in 2020, triple the rate increase of sales over the prior year. While the result has been increased convenience for consumers, warehouses, fulfillment centers, and distribution centers are looking to overcome challenges associated with that dramatic shift in consumer behavior.

Some are looking at building new facilities dedicated to fulfilling these types of orders. Others are looking to design and technology solutions that can help them meet the unique demands of their current facilities. Either way, they are seeking to resolve fulfillment challenges that are resulting from the rise of e-commerce.

With massive change in consumer behavior underway – and more change to come down the road – let us take a closer look at each of the significant pain points caused by the rapid increase of e-commerce on the supply chain.

The most accessible place to start in examining common challenges to facilitate more e-commerce orders is in the facility’s design. Warehouses are reaching storage capacity for their original intended design and function. After all, many warehouses were built to sustain and maximize full pallet orders. Now, there is a requirement to facilitate a more significant share of e-commerce orders, which means they need to react to higher order volume and store a wider variety of SKUs.

There are also inherent design hurdles to overcome regarding where – and how – the products are stored and retrieved. For instance, the warehouse goes from storing pallets and cases in static racking, where employees are driving powered equipment to travel to a location, pick a pallet or case, take it to a shipping area, and send it out the door. Now, they need to make individual products accessible, typically available at the floor level, and make it easy for someone to pick either a unit or multiple SKUs for an order.

They need to mold their processes to move from case-or-pallet picking to include the each picking required by e-commerce. In that transition, they are learning that it is very different to pick individual products.

With each picking, the process for fulfillment is nearly double the number of steps compared to case-or-pallet selection. Forklift retrieval for full pallet or case picking, where a high volume of a single product can be moved and shipped – process warehouses have made efficient for decades.

For a higher percentage of orders, workers must now pick, consolidate, pack, and then ship orders, all while customers are demanding their products be delivered more quickly than ever. Now operations will need to establish a consolidation process, packing process, and shipping process.

After all, e-commerce orders are requiring these businesses to double their processes. Are those processes optimized? How are they integrated with the full pallet orders? What tools are available to help with the transition?

Those are all reasons why the operational cost of fulfilling a single order for e-commerce is higher than that of a pallet or case order. Distribution centers and warehouses are already under increased wage pressure, and now they need to integrate these new, increased operational expenses that chip away at their bottom line.

In addition, the costs for labor rising are not only the costs for labor, but the availability of reliable labor is a real challenge that warehouses, fulfillment centers, and distribution centers are all facing. Whether it is due to the COVID-19 pandemic or other external forces, absenteeism is growing in this sector.

Combine all the above, then also factor that we are amid a labor shortage in the supply chain industry, which in part arose due to a sharp rise in demand for trained workers, among other external factors.

What Challenges Are You Experiencing?

What other challenges are you experiencing as a result of the rise of e-commerce? There are emerging trends that dynamic operations respond to, but we understand that each fulfillment center has its unique challenges, and we are here to help.

To adjust to the challenges caused by a rising share of e-commerce orders, a similarly increasing share of distribution and fulfillment centers are investigating adding automation, technology, and dense storage solutions. Autonomous mobile robots, automated packing solutions, and goods-to-person picking solutions all have applications to combat the challenges caused by the higher order volume and can be implemented without requiring an investment in costly infrastructure. These solutions also help relieve high labor costs and labor reliance while helping drive throughput and speed in the fulfillment process.

Whether you are experiencing labor challenges, seeking alternatives to manual fulfillment, or investigating long-term ROI strategies, give us a call. We have multiple partners who can provide solutions to these challenges in introduce increased labor efficiency into your operations. Our team has years of experience designing an ideal solution based on your data and our years of expertise.

warehouse-design-solutions

Congratulations! You’re in charge of setting up a warehouse! You have to secure an optimal layout so your operation can run smoothly and safely.  So, what do you do? Warehouse design solutions help ease you into the right solution to run your facility as efficiently as possible.

Do You Need Warehouse Design?

While it is possible to get the information you need without a design drawing, there are substantial benefits from utilizing a professional facility drawing.

Our experienced team can draw a facility layout and spot potential problems and pain points before you have them, making the situation easier to remedy. These drawings allow us to make suggestions for different warehouse and racking solutions that were not thought of before. This process makes it easier to save money and get your facility built for the future.

Design layout drawings also make it easier to show all of your options clearly and concisely. Layout drawings will give you the information needed to make a well-informed decision on your warehouse setup. Another great benefit of warehouse design is the ease of quoting. With a drawing made before the quoting process, we can get you exactly the equipment and setup that will work best for your solution and take out all the guesswork.

Our team will take on the challenge of the design phase of your operation. All we need from you is the necessary information, and we do the rest! With our expertise, we can draft a layout that will optimize operational efficiency and maximize space utilization.

Learn more about our layout and design services here!

We are here to help prepare you for anything in your facility. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you plan and optimize your facility!

Broken Case Picking

Broken case picking is becoming more prevalent in almost all industries, creating operational challenges for many companies. When assisting with the design of your broken case picking solution, we ensure that we create the most efficient and cost-effective solution for your facility.

Our solutions development team will utilize our vast experience to help you optimize your operation and find the right equipment, automation or technology solutions to provide you with the lowest total cost per unit throughput solution.

Broken Case Picking Design Criteria

When going through a new facility design, or an existing facility optimization, we have a set of criteria that we utilize to determine the right solution to meet your specific needs.

Our team will gain a thorough understanding of the operational challenges that you are currently experiencing, such as labor, competition, market challenges and more. We then look at the overall volume levels that you are seeing in daily activity; such as the number of orders, the number of line items, and the number of units picked, packed and shipped on a typical day.

After understanding the volume of your operation, we also take a look at the order profiles. We look at the number of line items on a typical order, and the number of units per line item. The order profiles help us to determine the most efficient picking methodologies to apply to your operational solution. We break down your demand to the SKU level to identify ideal storage mediums and utilize ABC stratification to create a slotting plan that will maximize pick efficiency.

Maximizing space utilization and operational efficiency are of paramount importance. That’s why we want to partner with you to ensure your facility is running as profitably as possible.

To learn the rest about our broken case pick criteria, or to learn more about our process, click here! Let us be the ones to enhance your broken case picking operation!

Temperature Controlled Storage

Temperature-controlled storage is a subject that is getting significant attention lately, and for a good reason. It is integral to the storage and supply of climate-sensitive items such as food, pharmaceuticals, and similar items. If these items rest for too long in the wrong climate – without temperature-controlled storage – they could be damaged or ruined. Of course, that loss of inventory the last thing anyone wants for their business.

The growing popularity of e-commerce, also known as the “Amazon Effect,” brings with it the need for more temperature-controlled storage space in warehouses and distribution centers across the globe. Citing a 2019 report published by Los Angeles industrial retail giant CBRE, experts anticipating an expected expansion of more than 30 million square feet of cold storage by 2024. The demand for these types of facilities is “niche, but one that is really going to take off,” according to the CRBE.

Temperature controlled space can be costly to construct and operate. Common challenges also include creating a design that is optimal for employee working conditions, safety, and maximizing storage capacity within the cubic space available.

When going this route for your company, you will want a partner that can give you the exact solution that meets your needs. By working with our expert design team, you can rest easy knowing you will get optimal utilization out of your facility. Our priority is to make sure that not only are your needs met but that your project is also completed on time and on budget.

Available Solutions for Temperature Controlled Storage

Is a temperature-controlled facility the next step for your business? Click here to learn more about how we can help you with your specialized storage needs!