A good order picking system is key to ensuring the smooth flow in and out of goods, even when having staff on the ground is compromised due to sickness and there is a need to stockpile products.

This article was first published in the May 1st 2020 issue of Warehouse & Logistics News, subscribe to the magazine by clicking here.
WMS automates the putaway process and helps identify the best ‘location’ to store goods; it uses data from the day’s orders to generate electronic pick lists’ based on product locations; it manages stock rotations based on a product’s shelf life; it removes piles of paperwork by automating processes, helping to maintain efficiency and identify any issues within the warehouse; and it gives you access to a plethora of reports and trend analysis.

Alex Mills, Sales and Marketing Director at WMS provider ProSKU, comments: “Businesses need to maintain a balance between stock availability, which is usually a good thing, and carrying too much inventory, which is generally not.” Getting this right is a headache for any business but it can be doubly problematic for a smaller enterprise, and without effective stock control, time consuming and expensive. The new generation of cloud-based WMS can offer fast, inexpensive implementation and fixed monthly pricing to create a real step-change alternative. When a WMS is integrated with the supplier’s website or e-commerce applications the information can be presented in real time to potential online customers. The system can also ensure that stock is available and ready to sell. If stock levels fall below predetermined levels, it can flag an alert or trigger an order for replacement stock.

A 3D camera and SensorApp solution from SICK has enabled rapid, damage-free guidance of automated and driver-assisted high-bay forklifts into pallet pockets, as well as the precise and efficient pick-up of dollies by automated guided vehicles (AGVs). “SICK has developed these new SensorApps to offer a highly reliable, robust new method of guidance which promises to make materials handling and logistics operations faster and more productive,” explains Neil Sandhu, SICK’s UK Product Manager for Imaging, Measurement and Ranging.

While we are all absorbed by Covid-19, investing in updating your order picking system might seem the furthest thought from your mind. But now is the ideal time, as downtime is the best time to get your warehouse in order to manage the brave new world.

George Simpson, Features Editor

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