This catalog retailer leverages all-electric dual-redundant print and apply to automatically ship 2000-3000 packages per day in slow periods and up to 10,000 packages per day during high volume operations.
The company started a new division marketing apparel and household goods items, which has been a great success through their niche marketing. Some of the items are overpacked, but many ship in the original manufacturer boxes. Some can be very large; up to 42″ long. Picking is accomplished via RF; ship-alones are picked in bulk and order assignment is made at the pack station. High volume automated shipping volumes can spike to 9,500 packages per day following catalog drops and during holiday periods. This type of system is the “Big Brother” to the StreamTech entry-level Sprinter shipping system. Their existing fulfillment areas did not have the space and their shipping lines did not have the capacity to manage that kind of throughput, so the decision was made to open a new facility.
Picking and Packing
The order profile includes a large volume of single-SKU, single item orders which are picked via RF and brought forward to pack stations. A long conveyor line allows the number of packers to be dramatically expanded during rush periods. A simple pigeon-hole slotting system facilitates the grouping of multi-item, multi-line orders, but many items are simply “cross docked” and ship in the original manufacturer cartons. A small identification label with the explicit order number is applied to the carton at the pack station. To make it easy for the operator they are allowed to apply the label anywhere and in any orientation as long as it is on the top surface of the carton. If the box is an OEM box or non-RSC and not to be taped, it receives an additional label. A Pearson CS30RT fully-automatic, random taper is outfitted with a scanner to bypass those cartons which do not need tape. The automatic taper was a big investment but the ability to automatically tape all boxes even during holiday surge periods is viewed as a competitive advantage
Weighing and Dimensioning
Many of the outbound items are large and bulky, checking dimweight charges was identified as a priority. The client desires to have the shipment rate shopped and checked for dimweight, so exiting the taper, the carton is scanned and dimensionalized via a Sick VMS / OPS490 station and weighed to the nearest .05 lb. on an accurate in-motion checkweigher. Cartons are transported, aligned, and buffered at up to 30 cpm on Intelliroll MDR conveyor at 180 fpm. The zero pressure zones have “smart accumulation” that allows packages longer than the zone prior to the scale. After the scale the package is tracked on an encoded belt for transport to the automated shipping station.
Automated Shipping and Sorting
All of the information is collected in the StreamTech SCS and automatically manifested via Proship® Software, which provides the rapid response necessary for this type of operation and rate-shops the carriers. The package is conveyed towards two Panther high speed, all-electric print and apply labelers. The round trip time of the host response and labeler speed is considered in the design of the labeling belt. The SCS software compensates for the difference in stroke length between tallest and shortest packages at these speeds. Although either labeler is capable of keeping up with the system required throughput, they are normally operated in tandem and one or the other is taken offline for label changes and normal maintenance and cleaning. After labeling each carton is scanned and verified to ensure that it is correct. Exceptions and items requiring additional handling are diverted after labeling and the main volume is directed up and over the traffic aisle for shipping. At the dock, there is a simple divert allowing the client to change dock doors with the conveyor system.
- Save pack, manifest and labeling labor
- Rate-Shop incl. mixed-method delivery
- Accommodate large range of case sizes
- Verify OEM weights and dimensions
- Auto-bypass OEM boxes through taper
- Handle surge volumes of 9,500+ per day
- Fluid load shipping trucks
- Remote Support