The race to win the home shopping, e-fulfilment market is on, according to Steve Richmond, general manager for the systems and projects division of Jungheinrich. “Companies with standard warehouse installations are left wondering why they don’t work as consumers demand next-day delivery of single item orders. As distribution volumes fall but order frequencies increase, the ability to flex picking cycles and prioritise urgent orders is critical to winning on-line customers.”
Traditional bulk stores are giving way to greater numbers of picking faces, increased picking efficiencies, with pick to light, pick to voice and integrated WMS systems supporting wireless based controls, RDT, barcode readers and RFID.
Richmond reckons that the ability to quickly adapt to changing market needs will be even more important as the planning horizon for many operations reduces to months rather than years.
“Warehouse labour is an expensive and often scarce commodity. Automation for those parts of the process that will not change makes good sense.” Jungheinrich is designing and installing an increasing number of mini-load systems to increase pick rates without increasing the cost per pick, freeing up labour for operations where selectivity is more important.
Richard Brandstetter, who is responsible for development of systems and projects business, says: “The growth of internet shopping and the demand for ever more efficient picking systems, requires operator cabins with more space and better ergonomics for picking higher volumes. The use of intelligent interfaces allows for the adaptation of customised picking attachments to pick lots of small articles sin one application and single large items like furniture in the next. The increasing use of wireless terminals, scanners and RFID readers allows the truck to be used in a more intelligent logistics role.”
“Jungheinrich expect growth in demand for both semi-automated and fully automated systems. Projects will include fully automated picking areas for boxes, totes and cartons, operating alongside semi-automated systems and manual storage for pallets and stillages.