Manufacturing AUTOMATION

13 ways to improve material handling in 2013

January 25, 2013
By Kardex Remstar

Faced with an uncertain economy in 2013, organizations are taking a minute to review their current material handling strategies and operations, asking themselves  “how do we do more with less?”

A little more of “this” and a little less of “that” can be the perfect recipe to maximize material handling efficiencies; leading to reduced operational costs and higher productivity rates.  Here are 13 tips to help get the most out of your material handling operations in 2013.

#1: More Parts in Less Space: There aren’t many organizations building new facilities these days- the trend is to do more with the existing space. Organizations trying to utilize every inch of space often consider vertical carousels and vertical lift modules (VLMs) because of the high storage density they provide- often saving up to 85 per cent floor space.

#2: More Productivity & Efficiency with Less Manpower: If there are multiple workers crisscrossing the facility to pick parts, there might be an opportunity to increase productivity. By delivering goods directly to the worker, more orders can be processed in less time; allowing organizations to fill more orders using less labour.


#3: More Accuracy with Less Errors: People are not perfect, however pick to light technology can improve pick accuracy up to 99.9 per cent. Pick lights direct an operator to the exact location to pick from and displays the quantity to pick, taking the guesswork out of the picking process.

#4: More Picking and Less Walking: Analyze the amount of time a worker spends walking and searching through shelving for parts. This is wasted time that should be spent doing a more valuable task, such as bagging and tagging. Implementing a dynamic picking system that delivers parts to the worker virtually eliminates walking and searching time, leaving more time for picking.  

#5: More Orders Out the Door in Less Time: Processing orders in batches decreases picking time and increases productivity. When picking one order at a time a worker visits popular SKU locations multiple times to fill several orders, traveling to and from the location each time. When batch picking the worker visits the location one time and picks a quantity large enough to fill multiple orders, saving time.

#6: More Automation with Less Manual Work: Printing and carrying a pick list around the facility throughout the picking process is a nuisance. With RF scanners, pick to light technology, and dynamic picking solutions, paper picking is becoming a process of the past. Inventory management software can manage all transactions digitally, integrate with pick to light and provide inventory management reporting.

#7: More Security with Less Product Shrink: Products stored on shelving and rack are at high risk for loss and theft. Vertical carousels and VLMs come equipped with doors to keep stored goods organized and secure. In addition, inventory management software can monitor transactions and provide detailed reports by user.

#8: More Safety with Less Product Damage: With traditional shelving and rack, goods are also exposed to the natural elements and are at risk for damage. Using vertical carousels and VLMs, goods are stored inside the unit on individual shelves, trays or bins, reducing the risk of product damage.

#9: More Revenue Generating Activities in Less Storage Space: Integrating dynamic picking systems can yield up to 85 per cent floor space savings. Reclaimed floor space can be put to better use by expanding revenue generating activities, such as additional manufacturing or adding quality control.

#10: More Organization with Less Guess Work: It’s difficult and time consuming to figure out where to store each and every part to optimize space and maximize performance. FastPic5 inventory management software manages the space, directing the operator where to put the part for maximum storage density and organization.

#11: More Green with Less Energy: In an effort improve environmental efficiency organizations are looking to use space that already exists instead of building from the ground up. Vertical carousels and VLMs allow organizations to save up to 85 per cent floor space providing a smaller area heat and light; reducing energy and maintenance costs.

#13: More Ergonomics with Less Risk of Injury: Vertical carousels and VLMs eliminate walking, bending, reaching and stooping commonly associated with shelving.   Working on the “Goods to Person” principle, parts are delivered to an operator at an ergonomic height to reduce workers compensation issues and keep workers safe.

#13: More Success with Less Stress: With 2013 underway, it’s the perfect time to review material handling strategies and operations.  Vertical carousels and VLMs can offer faster, accurate, cost effective picking providing more success in 2013 with less stress!

Kardex Remstar, LLC, a company of the Kardex Group is a provider of automated storage and retrieval systems for manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, offices and institutions. For information, visit

Print this page


Story continue below