Carton Flow is a material handling solution that addresses the two major cost drivers in today’s distribution and manufacturing facilities – labor and space costs.
Order Picking and Space Utilization
Order picking accounts for 40-60% of an operations total labor cost. Most facilities use pallet racking or shelving as their storage medium. These storage mediums are static – product remains in its stored position. Once the product in front is picked, additional picks require reaching, bending, and pulling. This adds time to the pick process and puts additional strain and stress on employees. Additionally for less than full pallet and shelving static storage positions product must be restocked from the front (picking aisle) creating a LIFO pick rotation. The combination of difficult restocking and picking hard to access products results in poor space utilization.
Carton Flow remedies the inefficiencies of static storage by creating a dynamic storage medium. Therefore, when front product is picked, remaining product flows to the front. This ensures product is always at the most accessible pick point – the front. This increases pick rates up to 30% versus static storage pick rates. Additionally it eliminates reaching, bending and pulling, producing an ergonomic safe picking process.
For most operations carton flow should be used for medium and slower moving SKU’s. Typically this represents 40-70% of an operations inventory. Carton Flow systems condense and organize SKU’s to increase pick efficiency and minimize travel. For static storage systems up to 85% of a pickers time is spent traveling. A good carton flow system should reduce travel time by 40-80% when compared to a pick process utilizing static storage.