Pick Modules: Moving to the Rhythm of Order Fulfillment

While not a fan of reality TV, I will occasionally land on the show, “Dancing with the Stars.” I can appreciate the grace and precision of two people moving and reacting to each other while keeping in step with the music. Done well, it is a thing of beauty.

The same is true watching the workflow of a high-volume order fulfillment center. Done well, it is a thing of beauty. However, achieving this level of poetry in motion requires the right setup that allows for maximum order picking throughput. It starts with a pick module.

Instead of focusing dance moves on one partner, the pick module effortlessly engages with multiple partners (components). Moving in harmony with pallet storage, carton flow in combination with conveyor systems, the pick module consolidates movement in a small area instead of the entire warehouse floor.

The partners of the pick module include a several pieces of equipment including pallet racks (for flow and reserve), carton flow racks, static racks, conveyors and other equipment depending upon the application. Each serves a purpose to enable maximum efficiency and productivity while filling orders of all sizes.

As most pick modules are multi-level, order fulfillment is available allowing for picking to individual cartons, totes, carts, pallet jacks and forklifts—simultaneously. There is no need for additional storage. Pick modules allow for order picking and product replenishment to be an integrated process often using gravity flow conveyors to move product from the replenishment racks to the fulfillment area.

Because the dance of fulfillment requires a smaller footprint than previous order fulfillment models, the pick module offers savings several ways:

1. Less wasted time. You pay employees for the time spent picking orders, not walking your entire facility looking for product. The pick module consolidates order fulfillment reducing the amount of non-productive time.

2. More growth without expanding or moving from your current facility. It’s possible a warehouse at capacity can gain 30% – 40% more space with a pick module in place.

3. The first in, first out design of the pick module ensures products rotate in a timely manner. This is helpful in reducing spoilage for time-sensitive products.

4. Flexibility to pick in product configurations of single items to full pallets.

5. Modular design enables growth without investing in new equipment.

6. Capable of working in conjunction with warehouse management systems (WMS).

There you have it. The pick module is a complete partner in the material handling dance. The only question remaining is whether this product is compatible with your material handling dance style.

Is your operation:

• High volume?
• Requiring high throughput?
• Moving date-sensitive product?
• Spread out over a large facility?

Then a pick module may be the perfect solution.

Price? New pick modules are on the expensive side. Quality used options are available. Regardless of the direction you choose, the return-on-investment in terms of productivity will have you dancing a jig.

Dance your way to material handling success.

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