Automated warehouse picking vs. Traditional warehouse picking
Traditional warehouse storage systems – with items scattered across a vast array of shelves – not only take up space but are inefficient and stressful for operators. That’s why automated warehouse solutions, such as Modula’s vertical lift modules (VLMs), are replacing manual material handling in advanced facilities around the world.
As the video suggests, picking rates increase dramatically when switching to an automated material handling system such as a Modula VLM. Rather than following a picker-to-parts principle, an automated warehouse such as one of our Lift models follows a parts-to-picker principle. Rather than the worker spending time walking between aisles, climbing ladders and retrieving the needed part, the worker stays in one place as the VLM brings parts to the worker.
Not surprisingly, productivity jumps are significant. Increases from 50 parts picked per hour to 250 or 300 parts are common. That’s because the operator can quickly retrieve an item with the help of laser pointers pinpointing the part’s location on a tray and then quickly retrieve the next item in a list the operator has typed into the VLM’s convenient touchscreen.
The benefit to workers is significant as well. Injuries caused by the stress and strain of retrieving items all day and reaching to high shelves to grab heavy items are eliminated. (Picking errors drop to virtually zero as well.) With an automated warehouse, operators enjoy a better environment and staff turnover is reduced.
These improvements are particularly important now that the speed of commerce has greatly accelerated. It may have been a perfectly adequate solution to have workers retrieve large boxes and ship them to retailers in previous years. But now with ecommerce becoming so important, shipment quantities are smaller and more frequent – directly to individual consumers. No wonder that modern operations have embraced automated storage solutions such as Modula’s VLMs.