A 3PL company fulfilling orders for a large industrial manufacturing company was looking to introduce automation into their facility. The customer met PSI at a tradeshow booth and engaged the PSI team to design a solution to increase order volume and reduce errors, thus eliminating the overtime that was currently being used to finish the day’s orders – with the added challenge that they only had about $500,000 left to spend that capital year on a project.
PSI did a time study of the entire 3PL’s entire fulfillment process and three areas were quickly identified as the best automation opportunities to provide the highest and quickest ROI: order weighing, shipping label application, and sortation to carrier.
The team design a solution that took the longest pieces of the process and automated them right at the end of the line; the operators still manually packed each order and sealed the container, but once the box was closed, it was placed on a conveyor where it would be weighed by a Checkweigher to confirm the contents of the container. If the weight was incorrect, it was diverted down the “reject lane”. If the contents of the package are correct, the next step is to automatically print and apply the shipping label. Once the package is labelled correctly, it then gets sorted into the appropriate shipping lane based on the destination.
Once this solution was installed, the 3PL’s entire order volume was being handled efficiently in one shift thanks to this small, simple solution that increased throughput and reduced errors – all within budget. The ROI on this project was so high that the 3PL’s management team is now implementing this solution in their other facilities across the country and are investing in automation throughout the rest of the process at their larger centers.