A warehouse manager of a large Third-Party Logistics (3PL) company recently contacted us. They have many locations throughout North America and the company distributes products for literally thousands of companies and stores millions of SKU’s in each location.
The warehouse manager is in constant communication with customers, renting space on the racking in his distribution centers. Depending on the season or Holiday, he ensures that “hot items” are moved closer to the shipping docks. The 3PL he works for see themselves as an extension of the national chains they partner with.
Depending on the season, some SKUs’ are shifted through their distribution centers making sure the summer items are closer to the loading docks in summer months. And, from years of experience, the warehouse manager prepares smaller quantity pallets that his team picks from, for the rare occasions when customers call for last minute, small quantity emergencies.
How does this company gauge employee performance?
Their picking staff are evaluated not only on the number of orders picked during a shift, but also on the accuracy of the orders they pick.
Since the pandemic, suddenly normal business practices of leaving “hot items” closer to
dock doors and small quantity pallets are piling up and causing a serious space problem.
Instead of his customers placing large truck load orders, they are calling with many smaller orders to meet the needs of online shoppers. This company is facing an about-face shift on how their customers order, from truck load quantities in the past, to now tons of small orders.
Due to this shift, they now have many partially picked floor pallet positions, and worse, pallets sitting directly on the floor in aisleways containing small quantities of hot items. Their new reality means they must move tons of small quantity orders for many SKU’s quickly through the warehouse.
The warehouse manager identified two main issues:
He referred to “easy climb spaces” above the material of the floor pallet positions inside the racking. These easy climb spaces were created so that his picking staff could bend over and reach the back of partially picked pallets.
He suggested, whatever the solution, it could not include losing valuable downtime, or more importantly, adding additional racking.
Roll Out Racking: The Solution To Create More Space AND Save Time and Money
After hearing the warehouse manager describe his process and the issues he now faces, we suggested that Roll Out Pallets could solve his problem and could even create more space.
To a 3PL, space is money. Given his space problem, he was all ears.
We suggested to him that when Roll Out Pallets are fully extended from the racking, they provide three efficient pick faces. His picking staff would now have an ergonomic safe access to the floor pallet positions without having to reach into the racking.
Those easy climb spaces could be eliminated and his picking staff would no longer need to bend over and climb to the back of a pallet position.
The best advantage is that first beam level which needed to be raised to accommodate the easy climb space could be completely eliminated and we could add an additional row of SKU’s. By adding that additional beam level, he automatically grew his existing storage footprint without adding any additional equipment or costly downtime.
[SOLVED] The warehouse manager received his first order of Floor and Rack Mounted Roll Out Pallets. Based on their performance and immediate impact, upper management is already planning on implementing Roll Out Pallets into each of their facilities.
The return of investment (ROI) is clear.
The added row of SKU’s without adding any equipment has been tremendously well received. They have been most impressed by the ROI that employee safety is bringing them.
According to the 3PL, that ROI is almost as significant as the additional row of SKU’s.
With Roll Out Pallets, their picking staff now has an ergonomically safe work environment which allows them to pick orders efficiently and their picking quality has risen significantly. Better yet, they are missing less work due to injury or fatigue.
Help Reduce or Eliminate…
Machine Down Time
by placing a Crank-Out Cantilever next to a saw, laser or other fabrication machinery.
by eliminating a forklift driver when material change over is necessary.
Aisle Way Space
by being able to load and unload a Crank-Out Cantilever with an overhead crane.
Manufacturing Floor Space
by utilizing vertical space and still gain access to multiple types of stock material.
caused by man handling heavy stock material.