Product recognition technology from Knapp has helped Europe’s largest independent home entertainment specialist, S Gold & Sons, to improve the availability of goods for picking.
Walthamstow-based Golds supplies DVDs, videos, CDs, computer games and related merchandise to the UK’s major retailers. Critical to success in this market is speed of delivery from the warehouse to the customer, and goods ordered by 5pm are delivered to the UK mainland the next day. The company took delivery of a semi-automated order picking system from Knapp back in 2003 which was upgraded last year with the installation of an automated product recognition system and pre-sorter for all incoming goods.
The incoming products are placed on a step-feed device, which allows each product its own space on a high-speed conveyor belt. Each item has its barcode read and the system recognises which of the 17 storage and picking areas the product is destined for. The sorter then ejects the item from the moving belt into a tote at the appropriate station. When the totes are full, the barcode of the sort station and the full tote are read and married by RF gun. The handling system software then informs Golds’ business system that these goods are available for sale and same day shipping.
The benefits of the upgrade are plain to see. Mike Gibson, Golds’ senior warehouse manager, says: “The system has certainly saved labour in the goods-in area but, more importantly, it has significantly increased accuracy and shortened the time between goods arriving at the warehouse and being available for sale.”
Knapp business development director David James says: “This technology is very smart, so the accuracy is superb. The solution is suited to small, fast-moving products, making it ideal in the entertainment media market and also in the pharmaceutical sector. As with the system supplied to Golds, the pre-sortation solution is economical even for relatively small handling systems.”