By 2021, more than 2.1 billion shoppers are expected to purchase goods and services online1. And by 2023 eCommerce is expected to double in worth to over $6.5 trillion1. For companies with traditional material handling and packaging processes, an increase in demand can cause major headaches and can lead to serious problems in their distribution centers. Here are some material handling and packaging products that can help eCommerce companies keep up with skyrocketing demands.
Sortation and Activated Roller Belt Conveyor
In the eCommerce industry, speed is the name of the game. Companies in the eCommerce industry are seeing the negative side of what they call the ‘Amazon Effect’. The ‘Amazon Effect’ refers to the ever-shortening delivery expectations thanks to Amazon’s pushes for 1 to 2 day shipping2. Companies that don’t speed up their systems risk losing customers and potentially be left behind as other companies excel. Sortation and activated roller belt conveyor are two ways to boost speed in your warehouse. These special sortation conveyors present companies the opportunity to ‘Zone Skip’ goods to their final locations2. Zone skipping refers to a company’s ability to send products directly to their final destination without having to stop at other zones in the warehouse.
Sortation and activated roller belt conveyor improves their delivery times dramatically, so much so that some companies justify their investment on delivery time alone. Another advantage of sortation conveyors is its ability to ramp up to meet demand. Unlike a regular conveyor, sortation conveyor is flexible enough to increase throughput when demand is high and decrease it when demand is low. The eCommerce market is relatively cyclical so having a conveyor that can change with the level of demand can prove to be very useful. Recently RMH Systems teamed up with an eCommerce giant to implement a system that can sort thousands of SKUs at 100 SKUs per minute, you can find out more about our sortation capabilities here.
Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems
While speed is important in eCommerce, so, too, is accuracy. By implementing a storage and retrieval system companies can increase their accuracy levels to 99.99%+3 by automating processes that relied heavily on human labor. Automated storage and retrieval systems help eCommerce companies manage their inventory by offering real-time inventory control, helping them make smart and cost-efficient inventory decisions. A dental supply company reached out to RMH Systems to implement four automated storage and retrieval systems in one plant garnering 12,000 orders daily at 99.99% accuracy.
A goods-to-person setup has a number of ancillary benefits beyond efficiency including safety, ergonomics, and employee satisfaction. Automated storage and retrieval systems deliver items directly to the system’s operators at a convenient height eliminating time lost walking, searching, lifting, bending, and twisting. Additionally, implementing a vertical ASRS system creates space in the warehouse where square footage comes at a premium. These automated storage and retrieval systems can save up to 85%3 of the space that would be taken up by a traditional storage system. Learn more about RMH Systems’ automated storage and retrieval offerings here.
Label Application and Tracking
Product tracking is becoming more and more important to eCommerce companies as demand continues to grow. Label tracking can help companies manage stock levels, automate their inventory tracking, and automatically update inventory counts4. Additionally, this traceability helps eCommerce companies minimize errors during distribution. Manually counting and tracking inventory can lead to issues, especially for companies in the eCommerce industry that warehouse hundreds of products. Human error is commonplace whenever counting or sorting comes into play4.
Automated label application and tracking systems work together to deliver eCommerce companies a complete inventory tracking system. While lots of companies use label tracking to track their inventory, many still use manual label application processes. Automating the label application process can save money through decreased labor costs5. Additionally, automated label applicators can reduce errors that stem from misreading labels by providing consistent label placements. With demand for eCommerce companies being so high, being able to eliminate errors in their internal processes provides peace of mind for eCommerce companies and ensures a clean, efficient tracking process. Check out RMH Systems’ full list of product tracking services here.
Warehouse Control Systems
Warehouse control systems (WCS) keeps eCommerce companies up-to-date on everything occurring in their production and distribution processes. A warehouse control system is a software application that directs the real-time activities within warehouses and distribution centers. A well-designed WCS reduces operating expenses in many different ways. WCS determine the most effective use of labor and space which in turn reduces waste6.
The most important benchmark is customer satisfaction. WCS provides the ability to schedule the receipt and shipment of products. This information improves overall fulfillment, decreases delivery lead times, and reduces order inaccuracies. Being able to ensure fast, accurate shipping provides a significant boost to customer satisfaction. This “traffic cop” mitigates internal logistical issues to support on-time deliveries. Learn more about RMH Systems Warehouse Control Systems’ capabilities here.
At RMH Systems we can provide eCommerce customers with everything they need to ramp up their production and distribution. Our material handling and packaging teams can work hand in hand to create a one-of-a-kind full-service system to help any eCommerce company keep up with its customers. Find out more about our divisions here, or fill out this contact form to be put in touch with one of our divisional engineers.