Archive for the ‘Industrial Storage Equipment’ Category

Advantages of Using Vertical Lifts in Your Supply Chain

The concept of LEAN is simple: eliminate waste. And if you can eliminate waste in your supply chain, it will improve every other area in your facility. Vertical lifts are designed to automate storage and retrieval of all types of parts, tools, supplies, and inventory. This automation leads to many advantages. Check out the slide show below to see what you can gain from using vertical lifts in your supply chain.

Contact Us for More Information on Vertical Lifts

Southwest Solutions Group® offers design, installation, relocation, and maintenance services for vertical lifts. Contact us today to learn how automating storage and retrieval in your facility will reduce waste in your supply chain.


How to Reduce Mispicks & Improve Accuracy

Pick-to-Light -blog-2-image-1In part 1 of this post, we talked about what even just a 1% mispick rate is really costing you (a possible $1,560,000 per year in lost revenue). Here we will provide some helpful information, technology, and strategies you can use to eliminate human error and reduce the number of mispicks in your picking process as much as possible.

Previously, we mentioned the use of light-directed solutions and automated storage and retrieval systems to boost picking accuracy. The automated systems equipped with pick-to-light technology negate human error by helping operators with four basic functions:

  1. Picking a specific or active item.
  2. Putting the item in an active order or specific location.
  3. Communicating the quantity or description of the item.
  4. Completing the pick and moving to the next one.

Pick-to-light technology has evolved into complete message centers that can communicate multiple variables to the operator: the precise location within the carrier of the item to be picked, where it can then pinpoint the exact location and direct picking or storage of the item, and indicate the required quantity of the item being picked. Less picking mistakes mean happier customers.

Types of Picking Technologies

This technology can help boost your picking accuracy up to 99.9%. The following includes the types of light-directed technologies that can be added to automated storage and retrieval systems:

Transaction Information Centers are for vertical carousels and vertical lift modules (VLMs). This is a dynamic pick-to-light system that displays item identification in 1/10 inch increments, descriptions, quantities, and other messages to help an operator pick the correct item and amount for order fulfillment.

Light pointers are used with VLMs and deploy an LED or laser light that is mounted on a slider. The sliders move horizontally on a guiding system within the opening of the VLM. The light pointer, which is software-driven, swivels to project a light beam into point to the position of the item to be picked within the storage tray. The light identifies the precise location of the item to be picked or restocked.

picking lightsPosition indicator light bars are incorporated into the access openings of VLMs and vertical carousels. The LED lights illuminate in alignment with the position of the required item within the storage tray to be picked.

Light towers can be integrated with horizontal carousels to house picking display models on extruded upright towers. The displays indicate to the operator the carousel, shelf level, tray location, and quantity to pick. A single software-driven light tower can serve two horizontal carousels within a picking pod.

Put/batch lights can be used with both horizontal and vertical carousels as well as VLMs to direct an operator to put or store items in a specific location when restocking items. They can also be used for order consolidation, batch picking, and batch sorting at workstations.

In addition, AS/RS systems can also be incorporated with radio-frequency (RF) scanners for quick barcode verification of picked items, voice-directed picking modules that verbally direct operators to the pick in a head-set, or scales that automatically verify the correct number of small parts based on their weight.

Increasing picking accuracy by just one percent can lead to dramatic improvements in your operations. Not only will it result less picking mistakes, but it will also lead to exceptional cost savings per year and even per day, and increase customer satisfaction. For a production line at 250 lines per hour averaging 3 SKUs per order during an eight hour shift, a 0.1% mispick rate from a 1% rate reduces revenue lost per year from $1,560,000 to $1,404,000—a 90% yield in cost savings. For even greater accuracy, inventory management software with AS/RS systems is an efficient and easy way to keep track of your inventory and monitor stock levels in real time.

Contact Us for More Information About Reducing Mispicks

Convinced that you need to start reducing your mispick rate? Southwest Solutions Group can help. Our dedicated and experienced team can help you get the technology and techniques you need so your company can save money, enhance productivity, and increase your valued customers’ satisfaction. To prove our dedication to you, we will even provide you with a free consultation. To learn more, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.


Warehouse Management Software for Optimizing & Streamlining Production

Optimize Your Warehouse Storage with Warehouse Management Software

warehouse-management-softwareAutomated storage systems have been designed to meet the storage needs of a wide variety of operations. When combined with warehouse management software (WMS), streamlining production in your warehouse becomes even easier, more efficient, and can save you thousands of dollars per year on storage and ergonomics.

Streamlining Production Levels with WMS Integration

In order to ensure optimized production levels most effectively, measures must be taken to properly integrate your WMS into new or existing software. Ideally, you will be able to integrate with little downtime and more cost-effectively than traditional, software-less warehouse management. Warehouse management software not only reduces time spent managing your warehouse, but it also reduces human error and provides automatic configuration for tasks such as inventory management and tracking, batch picking, shipping labeling, receiving, material handling, storing materials in the least amount of space possible, and more.

Factors to consider before WMS integration

Before choosing a WMS system for your warehouse, you should first consider whether you want a specific best-of-brand package to integrate into your existing system or to implement a new overall system. WMS-ERP integrated systems are recommended since the software can integrate seamlessly with other existing system activities and processes. An integrated system also helps avoid the difficulties and costs associated with implementing standalone warehouse management software into an existing system.

Benefits of Warehouse management software integration

There are many benefits of integrating warehouse management software into ERP to optimize production levels that goes beyond ease of integration, including:optimize-production-levels

  • Improved supply chain visibility
  • Unified data structures and consistent user interfaces that help greatly reduce the amount of time spent training employees
  • Improved automated functionality that allows employees to maximize productive time
  • Gradual transition to WMS for traditional warehouse systems
  • Incremental shutdown capabilities to protect data
  • Automated inventory tracking and monitoring
  • Integrated technology and software for AS/RS storage systems

Contact Us About Warehouse Management Software

Navigating the many different types of warehouse management software can be intimidating. Southwest Solutions Group® provides design, consultation, and implementation services to a wide variety of business sectors, including retail, manufacturing, industrial, and warehouse operations. Whether you’re looking to update or replace your current WMS system or manage additional warehouses, SSG can help you find the right software depending on your specific needs and get you on your way to enhancing your production levels and increase your ROI. For more information or to speak with a warehouse management specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.


How to Apply LEAN Practices in Your Warehousing Facility

Apply LEAN Practices in Your Warehousing FacilityLEAN practices are all about reducing waste; however in the past, LEAN practices typically only applied to the production and manufacturing of standardized products. Warehousing and distribution, on the other hand, are service industries that are very far from standardized because the customer is able to choose from thousands of items. With this view, how can the same LEAN practices used in manufacturing apply to your warehousing facility?

8 Types of Waste Found in Warehousing & Distribution

When you look at the waste found in manufacturing, you will see similar types of waste in warehousing and distribution. According to the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW), “Since warehousing is nothing more than managing space and time, reducing waste starts with identifying the poor use of both.” In NAW’s book Lean Warehousing they describe 8 types of waste found in warehousing,

  1. Overproduction in manufacturing results in wasted materials. In warehousing, an excess of inventory has the same result.
  2. Waiting is a waste of time. This is as true in warehouse operations as it is in production.
  3. Unnecessary movement of cargo is a major source of waste in materials handling.
  4. Over processing is a waste in production – in warehousing it is over checking.
  5. Poor inventory control represents waste, particularly when stock-outs are frequent.
  6. Movement is a waste when it involves hunting for tools, or stored items that cannot be located.
  7. Defective parts waste production; in warehousing, errors result in waste.
  8. Unused employee creativity represents a waste of human resources.

Once you have identified the causes of waste in your facility, you can move forward and apply LEAN practices.

Equipment to Help Facilitate LEAN Practices for Warehousing

Goods-to-Person Storage and Retrieval Equipment for WarehousingManaging space, time, and inventory to reduce waste is a large task. That’s why investing in the right equipment solutions will help you facilitate LEAN practices. Depending on your particular needs, there are a variety of equipment solutions including,

  • Vertical lift modules (VLM): The vertical lift modules store small, medium, and large parts in the least amount of floor space possible.
  • Vertical Carousels: The vertical carousels maximize the storage of small parts in bins.
  • Horizontal carousels: The horizontal carousels increase picking efficiency by allowing for batch picking.

Each of these machines operates on the goods-to-person principle: delivering stored items directly to the user. This eliminates the time workers spend searching for items. In addition, the VLM and vertical carousels have an ergonomically positioned work counter that helps to reduce injuries related to bending, twisting, and reaching for stored items.

Other equipment designed to maximize the use of space in your warehouse includes,

  • Compact pallet racks: The compact pallet racks condense the floor space required for storage by 50% while maintaining accessibility.
  • Mezzanines: The mezzanines use vertical space to add another level of floor space to your warehouse.
  • Specialty vertical carousels: The specialty vertical carousels store items like rolls of textiles, tires, hanging garments, wire spools, and print cylinders.Contact Us for Help with LEAN Practices

Contact the Storage Experts at Southwest Solutions Group for Help

Applying LEAN practices and investing in the right equipment starts with first identifying the areas of your warehouse that are creating the most waste. Southwest Solutions Group’s material handling experts can help. We offer a variety of equipment solutions that will help your warehouse and distribution center become more efficient and sustainable. Contact us by phone at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message.


Use Vertical Pallet Shuttles to Reduce Work-Related Injuries

How Much Money is Your Business Spending on Work-Related Injuries?

The costs related to on-the-job injuries, productivity loss, and worker’s compensation have risen over $33 billion since 1992, reaching up to $250 billion in 2012. Just one glance at these statistics shows that worker safety needs to become a much bigger priority, especially in industries that deal with storing and handling heavy machinery.

Vertical Pallet Shuttles Automate Manual Storage & Retrieval ProcessesVertical Pallet Shuttles Video

Using vertical pallet shuttles to store and retrieve heavy machinery and other large loads – motors, valves, dies, etc – creates a safer work environment, which in turn, reduces on-the-job injuries and increases productivity. The vertical pallet shuttles handle heavy material automatically to minimize the amount of time employees spend manually transporting objects, which poses a risk both to themselves and to the product. In addition to improving worker and product safety, vertical pallet shuttles offer incredible space-savings by maximizing unused air space.

Why You Should Use Kardex Vertical Pallet Shuttles

Kardex Remstar provides shuttles, lifts, and pallet racks for storing heavy machinery and large products. For example, the Kardex Shuttle XP 1000 is a compact, automated vertical shuttle that provides increased efficiency while saving up to 80% of the floor space usually required with traditional storage shelving or racks.

The shuttle is even compatible with cranes, forklifts, and pallet trucks, allowing workers to move and store low to medium height heavy products in the pallet racks on the shuttle quickly and with ease. This eliminates much of the lifting, twisting, bending, and other repetitive motions that lead to injury or product damage. With automated vertical pallet shuttles, workers can spend more time on batch picking and processing and less time on heavy lifting and walking.

Where Can You Find Kardex Vertical Pallet Shuttles?

Southwest Solutions Group® provides design, installation, and consultation services for businesses that are looking to reduce work-related injuries with vertical pallet shuttles. To learn more or to speak with an industrial material handling systems specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.

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