Manufacturing : Selective Automation Eases Biggest Bottlenecks


To keep costs low, this Furniture Manufacturing Company was looking for a way to increase throughput and efficiency in their process. The PSI Solutions team identified two key bottlenecks that would have the biggest impact on the process. Rather than automating the entire process, PSI helped the Company to work on areas where a relatively small investment would have the quickest and highest ROI.

First, by introducing the Autoslip to print, fold, and pouch shipping documents they were able to eliminate the bottleneck at the stage where documents were adhered to large/non-conveyable products, such as couches. This addition ensured 100% accuracy at this step. Second, adding automated sortation to the conveyor line significantly reduced the need for labor at the end of the line and ensured orders were sent to the correct shipping dock for fluid loading or adding to a pallet. This process was twice as fast and they stopped missing shipping deadlines due to incomplete pallets/shipments.

Labelling Non-Conveyables

Before: Operators would print the shipping documentation, put the documents into adhesive pouches, and then search for the correct product on which to attach the pouch. This manual process was time consuming and was prone to errors.

After: PSI installed an Autoslip near the large product staging area that printed and pouched shipping documents in the order that the products were staged. The warehouse staff could grab a stack of labels and stick them on products in order. This resulted in an 100% accurate labelling process.  Additionally, this saved a lot of time for operators since the labels were printed, pouched, and stacked in the same order that product was staged. Adding the Autoslip allowed for increased throughput in the labelling area.

Automated Sortation

Before: Operators would manually carry boxes to the correct staging area where they were stacked onto pallets. This took a lot of time, had a high error rate, and resulted in frequent operator injuries from lifting and transporting heavy boxes.

After: Automated sortation and conveyance was the key to optimizing this process. The orders placed on the conveyor at the end of the pack line, the barcodes scanned and the packages were automatically sorted and diverted to the correct staging area for pallet loading or for fluid loading onto a trailer. The warehouse no longer needed operators to walk orders to the correct staging areas. These operators were re-assigned to the packing area where they could focus on ensuring the orders were presentable when the customers receive them. The end-of-line sortation was fluid and accurate, improving throughput and the warehouse no longer missed shipping deadlines.

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