Pack Station Automation for Large Non-Conveyable Products

PSI Engineering designed a custom Autoslip for a distributor to cut the document handling/shipping label application process time in half, doubling throughput and eliminating errors.

Situation:

An electronics distributor was experiencing long throughput times of 2-3 minutes per order and high error rates in their manual order fulfillment process for large, non-conveyable products. Orders were being delayed because of the inefficient process which was leading to a lot of disgruntled customers.

The operators had to manually print several product-specific documents (packing slip, warranty information, assembly instructions), fold, and insert them into an adhesive pouch, which was then stuck onto the box. The shipping label was then printed and applied manually to the box next to the adhesive pouch. Due to COVID-19 protocols, the distributor could not add any more operators to the existing team – which would not have made the process any faster since there was a massive bottleneck in the document printing and application step.

Recommendation:

This distributor had previously worked with PSI to automate their pack stations for smaller products, so they approached PSI once again with this automation opportunity. PSI recommended that the shipping label could be combined with the packing slip and other documents, automatically printed, folded, and inserted into an adhesive pouch with the shipping label facing outwards. This process took only seconds instead of minutes and because it is an automated process, there is zero chance of errors. The operator takes multiple pouches to their workstation, scans the shipping barcode, then scans the SKU for comparison, then applies the shipping label and document combination packet.

Results:

By adding this customized Autoslip, the total time per order was reduced to less than 2 minutes and this last transaction only took the operators approximately 5 seconds to peel and stick the pouch on to the box. Order throughput at the large product pack station doubled with zero errors, which reduced order and labor costs and increased throughput and customer satisfaction. ROI was achieved in less than 12 months and this customer is now rolling out the semiautomatic Autoslip to all their facilities.

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