Monday, July 16, 2018

Advantages of Numina’s Warehouse Control System

Numina Groups warehouse execution and control system, Real-Time Distribution, RDS™, offers many advantages over traditional warehouse control systems.  RDS includes a family of flexible modules designed to grow with your business, providing automation with accuracy and improved throughput in warehouses and distribution centers.  Warehouse execution and control which includes voice picking technology, automated print and apply labeling with automated conveyor sorting provides a host of advantages which reduce costs and improve profit.

Print and Apply Labeling Reduces Costs and Improves Profit

Print and apply labeling drastically reduces labor costs while improving accuracy and profit. Automate the manual application of shipping labels including packing sheets, shipping and compliance labels.  Numina’s Print and Apply System processes cartons at a rate of 25 boxes per minute, with reliable placement of labels.  Combine voice picking with automated label application to streamline both picking and packing processes across your distribution center.  Print and apply labeling takes a labor-intensive task and completely automates label printing and carton application, significantly reducing labor expenses while improving accuracy.

Combine Numina’s print and apply solutions with additional modules such as voice picking technology, pick to light, automated conveyor systems with high speed sortation and automated in-line scanning for weight and dimension verification with vision capture for maximum flexibility.  

Advantages of RDS™ Warehouse Execution and Control System

Distribution centers that utilize RDS WES-WCS realize maximum cost saving efficiencies along with several advantages which include:

    • Thin Client voice engine technology with Virtual or Cloud based server applications, RDS Voice can be deployed on tablets or mobile computers with either Android or Microsoft operating systems.
    • Pre-developed modules easily integrate with existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and warehouse management systems (WMS).
    • RDS Voice is proven to increase accuracy to 99.99%
    • RDS Voice includes a labor tracking module for complete traceability and evaluation of productivity
    • RDS is proven to reduce manual labor costs anywhere from 30% to 70%
    • RDS help clients realize an increase in profitability up to 30%
Numina partners with clients to understand their order fulfillment needs, offering a customized approach to streamline processes.  You can have confidence in our vast experience with automated warehouse technologies.

Numina Group is a recognized leader among warehouse automation companies, providing Tier One Warehouse Execution and Control (WES-WCS) systems to distribution centers across North America.  We offer vast experience to define the process, design the best automated system and implement optimized warehouse technologies. Contact us today to learn more about our high-performance warehouse execution and control system.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Order Fulfillment Automation for B to B or B to C

Whether your order fulfillment operation is B to B or B to C, automating your order processes reaps great rewards in cost reduction while improving profitability. The boost in E-commerce presents new opportunities, along with new challenges, for 3PL companies and distributors.  Tedious manual labor tasks produce bottlenecks in your system, often in the area of packing, printing and applying labels or sorting. Warehouse control systems alleviate bottlenecks with streamlined, real time execution of automation technologies.

Numina Provides Automated Warehouse Solutions

The Numina Group is an experienced warehouse automation company, providing automated warehouse technologies which are proven to reduce costs and increase profit.  Implementing automated warehouse solutions provides several benefits which include:

    • Significant decrease in labor expenses with one to two operators performing the work of what once took six or eight people
    • Improvements in accuracy to 99.99%
    • Increased throughput with streamlined pick, pack and ship functions
    • Improve customer satisfaction with accurate and timely delivery
    • Increase profit of up to 30%
    • Rapid return on investment typically under 15 months for a 2,000 to 3,000 transactions per day distribution operation

Numina Group offers automated warehouse systems which improve accuracy, productivity and profitability.  Automating printing and label application or insertion of packing lists, compliance labels and shipping labels significantly reduces labor expenses with increasing throughput and accuracy.  X-Press PAL™ Print and Apply labeling offers customized settings for auto applying documents and labels, including:

    • Combination 4” x 6” removable shipping label and packing slip
    • Combination 8.5” x 11” full shipping label and packing sheet
    • 4” x 6” or smaller shipping label

Numina Group offers decades of industry expertise in warehouse automation, employing skilled technicians and engineers with experience installing warehouse control systems across North America.

Numina Group offers vast experience and expertise in designing warehouse distribution processes with real time control.  We perform a detailed process design study with recommendations on the automation technologies which offer the most streamlined process for maximum cost savings.

Numina Group offers proven automated warehouse solutions with real time execution and control.  Our warehouse control system is flexible and scalable, designed to grow with your business. Contact us today to speak with an engineer to learn how you can automate your order fulfillment operation for higher throughput and profitability.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Advantages of Numina’s Voice Picking System

When evaluating warehouse control systems, be sure to check out Real-Time Distribution (RDS™) from The Numina Group.  Advantages of Numina’s RDS™ Warehouse Execution and Control System, WES-WCS, include extended functionality beyond comparable systems.  The flexibility of RDS allows implementation of components integral to your order fulfillment process. Warehouse automation modules include voice picking systems, automatic print and apply labeling, automated conveyors, sorting and inline scanning for weight and dimension verification.

Automate your entire retail order fulfillment process or implement Numina’s selected modules in one specialty fulfillment process as a test run to experience the advantages of Numina’s warehouse control system. Once you see the benefits, you’ll implement streamlined automation throughout your entire warehouse or distribution center.

Warehouse Automation Modules Extend Functionality and Flexibility

Retail distribution centers that implement warehouse automation modules based on detailed process design studies reap massive rewards in productivity and profitability.  Numina provides thorough analysis and detailed, flowcharted design with recommended automation modules and technologies which provide maximum throughput and efficiency. Automated warehouse solutions include:

                Voice Picking Module – an integral component of realizing maximum return on investment, voice picking improves accuracy to 99.99% while drastically reducing labor costs.  Voice picking technology may be deployed to streamline picking, inspection or replenishment applications, or may be combined with additional options such as wave pick optimization and batch picking for maximum productivity.  Numina’s Voice Picking System manages the entire order picking process across pick zones.

                Voice picking typically improves efficiency of employees by at least 30% with hands-free scanning and no operator voice training required.  Employees are directed through an optimized path for streamlined picking by an easy to understand, audible voice giving direction and the hands-free headset scanning and confirming picks.

Numina Group is a leader among warehouse automation companies, providing superior voice picking technology which is proven to improve accuracy while reducing labor costs.  Contact us today to learn more about our warehouse execution and control system, including our superior voice picking system.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Improve Productivity in Retail Order Fulfillment

A leading retail order fulfillment company that processed orders for more than 250 retail stores recently replaced their paper picking process with voice picking technology, increasing productivity by an average of 35 percent.  In addition to productivity gains, the new voice picking system provided an accuracy level of 99.96% to this company which has more than one million active SKUs operating in a 350,000 square foot facility.
Moving from a paper-based picking system to a modern voice picking system seemed like a monumental task, but with the help of an experienced warehouse automation company, they implemented the new automated warehouse technology with great success.

Numina Provides Warehouse Automation Solutions

The Numina Group was chosen to implement warehouse automation technology for this retail fulfillment giant, which was utilizing a manual system that was primarily paper based for all picking and replenishment functions. Numina Group was brought in to analyze the operation and provide a detailed design study with automation recommendations.

The current operation consisted of pickers following paper instructions and individually picking each item using price label sheets across four standard pick zones. Picks ranged from 30 items to 300 per store, all picked into totes.  Once manual picking was complete, a conveyor sorted and transported the totes to the staging area to prepare for shipping.  Employees picked items for an average of 63 retail stores per day.  Some stores had shipping requirements of 35-40 totes per day while other larger stores required up to 175 totes per day.  

This paper picking process was very labor intensive and was draining resources and profits.

Numina Performs Warehouse Design Studies

Numina Group began with a detailed process design study to evaluate the best automation technologies that would provide the most streamlined and cost-efficient solution with maximum return on investment.  Numina partnered with company personnel including operations team members and executives to analyze the current order fulfillment process, then defined the leanest approach in a detailed flow chart showing projected return on investment.

Multi-modal voice picking technology with hands free barcode scanning was chosen as the warehouse automation technology which would provide the highest and fastest return on investment (ROI).  Numina’s study showed that voice picking technology could provide a complete ROI within one year. Implementation of Numina’s voice picking system has exceeded expectations with improvements in productivity of 35% and accuracy to 99.96%, which will provide an even faster ROI.

For warehouse automation solutions, be sure to talk with the automation specialists at Numina Group.  We provide comprehensive warehouse automation services from defining and designing warehouse systems to implementing Tier One Warehouse Execution and Control systems.  Contact us today to learn how you can increase productivity and profitability.

Returning Customer Automation Distribution Success Story

Returning customer and The Numina Group team up to design and implement a new 70,000 square-foot West Coast distribution center. Because of the high level success of the first automated distribution center Numina was hired to design the new pick, pack, and ship order fulfillment processes at a second automation distribution center.

The new ultra-streamlined pick, pack, and ship order fulfillment distribution center is managed by the industry’s most powerful Tier-1 WES-WCS, Real-Time Distribution System™ to balance order distribution across multiple fulfillment processes.


Merger Necessitates Automation Distribution Center

Automation DistributionThe Original Project that Numina completed for the customer was necessitated by the customer’s acquisition of a medical supply manufacturer/distributor.  The client decided to build a new facility which would have to support handling 2,000 SKUs, both ambient temperature and refrigerated, with an existing throughput of 33 million bottles of product per year.  The DC would need to distribute products to customers in 50 states, and overseas, through five supply chain channels.

Numina was asked to develop a design for the 100,000 square-foot facility.  In essence, consolidate 280,000 square feet of existing finished goods distribution space into a 100,000 square-foot facility.

“One of the biggest challenges was resizing the operation,” said Mark Hejmej, Sales Engineer with The Numina Group.  “So we went to work and engineered a highly space-efficient automated design that utilized the entire cube of the 100,000 square feet.   We looked at all their existing processes, conducted analytical studies based on the combined order volumes of the companies projected out five years, and made recommendations.  We then developed a multi-level pick module design, combined with the right picking technology, to match the order shipment profile and ROI required by their executive team.”

“The plan at the new facility was to consider technology to reduce touches, travel time, and headcount by over 50 percent,” explained Hejmej. “When the automated DC was completed the customer ended up with a staff of 33 distribution workers.  Pick labor was reduced by 50 percent, and productivity increased to 222 lines per hour (LPH), up from 110 LPH.

A Model DC for Streamlined Pick, Pack, and Ship

Three years after the implementation of the new Midwest DC, logistics analysis found that significant logistics savings and a better delivery window could be provided through a second automation distribution center located in Nevada.  By locating product closer to its large West Coast customer base, the company could get orders to them faster, and lower shipping costs.

Based upon historical data and growth factors, it was determined that the DC would need a footprint of roughly 50,000 square feet. The customer ultimately secured a 70,000 square-foot facility in the western United States.

Due to the high level of success of the original project the customer brought in The Numina Group to evaluate facility design for the new West Coast DC.  After facility analysis was completed, The Numina Group was chosen to design the new distribution center’s pick, pack, and ship processes as a mirror order fulfillment process to the DC located in the Midwest, but on a smaller scale.  Like its counterpart, this new DC design is based on lean automated pick, pack, and ship order fulfillment processes.

Tier-1 Warehouse Execution and Control System Integrates Pick, Pack, and Ship Processes

Both DCs use voice directed picking, packing, and shipping processes orchestrated by Numina Group’s Real-time Distribution System, RDS™, a Tier-1warehouse execution and control system (WES-WCS) that includes the order fulfillment automation integrated to SAP WMS.  The DC’s WES-WCS extends functionality beyond traditional warehouse control systems.  It manages the order fulfillment automation module and balances the work across the DC’s various order fulfillment processes.  The sophisticated WES-WCS simultaneously processes the entire mix of order types including split-case orders, Internet, and LTL shipments.

RDS™ contains a modular family of pre-developed application control functions (modules) for pick, pack, and ship automation.  As a true Tier-1WES-WCS, it includes voice-directed picking for all the pick processes, conveyor and sorting control, packing, and automatic print-and-apply labeling – fully integrating the control and execution of the order fulfillment processes and material handling control.

“The West Coast’s DC’s automation modules include, order release and work balancing, voice-directed picking, conveyor-based carton zone routing, pack automation with inline weight audit, print and apply labeling, and shipping sortation control,” explains Hejmej.  “Integral to the order throughput increase and reduced operational labor requirements is the packing automation module.  This includes an order weigh-cube/dimensional audit, literature and pack-sheet print and insertion, and in-line print-and-apply labeling of UPS and LTL shipping labels. Numina’s WES-WCS provides distribution automation software, along with order detail tracking and labor reporting.”

The conveyors used throughout the DC are equipped with 24VDC motor-driven rollers for the material handling and order-transport automated conveyor system. The controls are managed by the RDS™ internal control language called Trak, a versatile multi-function, event-based control engine that performs real-time control, fully integrated with data-driven order fulfillment rules.  Real-time control is executed as a real-time task at 250 microsecond execution speeds.

“Compared to other WCS’s, I think RDS™ is more robust and scalable,” explained the customer.  “It provides us with labor management, and order tracking and reporting tools that other WCS do not provide.  We have found this extremely useful to capture important KPIs (key performance indicators).  It also provides us visibility to the order workloads and which zones have the highest picking volume, so we can rebalance the worker activities and not become overburdened during the course of the day.   In wave planning, we always like to have an even order flow, but sometimes that does not happen.  Having RDS™ gives us that visual on browser-based screens at any PC on our network to check work zones to see how order processing is doing.”

Zone-Routing Supports Voice-Directed Picking The facility utilizes voice-directed picking to drive the order fulfillment split-case pick, using a two-level pick module with a pick-to-carton order picking process.  The voice technology manages the start of the order within the initial pick zone, and integrates voice commands and responses with hands-free barcode scanning to manage the pick and pack validation direct to the shipping carton.  Auto-bottom boxes were selected to eliminate operators having to spend time taping the bottom of boxes when starting an order in the pick module.

Prior to order release, SAP determines the optimum carton sizes and the quantity of boxes based upon the cube of each SKU and the number of SKUs to an order.  SAP wave releases orders based on shipment priority, destination, customer, and other scenarios to increase efficiency and eliminate human decision making.  Zone routing conveyor logic is integrated with the picking process to manage the movement of cartons to the required pick zones.

The order data and SKU item details sent to RDS™ are further used to manage and balance the wave order release and distribute work more evenly across the pick zones.  By starting the order at the initial pick, work is more easily distributed across the pick zones to balance picking labor and improve productivity.  The fully-integrated RDS Pick Execution™ order fulfillment module provides picking and more efficient order movement and accuracy across the entire picking operation.

In each zone, voice directs the operator to get the correct box size and affix a pre-printed license plate barcode to the lower left hand corner of the box.   The operator uses a wireless hands-free scanner to scan the barcode, and is voice-directed to the first pick location. Once the initial operator completes and verifies the picks in their given zone, voice directs the operator to place the carton onto the conveyor, and it is automatically routed to a next pick zone, or zones, based on the order SKU pick requirements,” said Hejmej.  “Zone routing enables a more efficient pick environment as the carton only stops at pick locations required to complete the order without any need of operator decisions.”

Nevada’s streamlined voice-directed pick system:

  1. lightweight industrial wireless RF computer which uses a natural voice engine to direct work activities as audible voice commands
  2. The picker hears location instructions and identifies the pick location, and performs picking, eyes focused and hands free
  3. The picker uses a hands-free ring scanner to scan and verify the location, and picks with either reading a check-digit by scanning a location barcode, or scanning the SKU item ID at the product storage location
  4. The picker is directed to scan or voice-verify correct product lot numbers, or serial numbers for track-and-trace requirements for specific FDA-tracked SKU’s. Following item/location verification, the operator is prompted with a voice command to perform the required item quantity pick, and a voice command is used to confirm the actions taken
  5. Complete track-and-trace order-fulfillment data is time-stamped and recorded in the RDS™ Oracle database, and the data is sent to SAP.

“We wanted the leanest pick method to minimize touches in our picking processes,” stated the customer.  “The voice-directed, pick-to-carton process and zone-routing conveyor has enabled us to achieve this, making our split-case picking very efficient and accurate.”

The RDS™ voice system eliminates the complexity of RF or paper-based picking, doing away with the need to read from pre-printed pick sheets, labels or RF screens, or keying-in picking instructions or quantities.  Operators pick with both hands and eyes focused on the work task.  They simply listen for the specific work sequence, scan, pick and use voice commands to verify the quantity picked, and validate each pick transaction.

A key advantage compared to traditional voice technologies is that the Nevada DC’s picking process is a speaker-independent, zero-voice-training technology.  It requires no operator voice training regardless of accents or languages.  Operators are productive in minutes, so even temporary workers can be trained in 10 minutes or less.

Automated and Synchronized Pack-Out Distribution Automation ProcessesAfter picking is completed, the carton is conveyed through the pack line, the barcode is scanned and an alpha numeric message display directs the operator to the carton-pack task requirements, and the required pack sheet documentation is automatically printed and inserted.  Once packing is complete, the carton is fed through an in-line taper and conveys to the in-line scale.  The weight is captured for verifying picking, and if the carton is over or under the expected weight tolerance it is diverted to the inspection lane where the order is inspected and corrected. “The automated pack and ship area is controlled and managed by RDS™ and allows a single pack line to process 5,000 cartons in an eight-hour shift,” added Hejmej.

Pack lines include automatic in-line document printing and void fill and tapers to allow a single operator to pack 7 or more cartons per minute.  Once packed, cartons convey to in-line scan, weigh, and print-and-apply labeling for automatically manifesting UPS and FedEx shipments.  They are then conveyed and sorted to a trailer with a powered extendable conveyor to allow fluid-loading direct to the trailers.  If a split-case shipment is part of an LTL order, the carton is labeled with the LTL specific label and diverts to an LTL order staging area.  The operator picking the full-case LTL shipment requirements is voice-directed to the staging area, and using voice and the hand scanner, marries the carton or cartons required for the LTL shipment to the pallet.

Best-in-Class Metrics

The West Coast DC is on target to ship 9 million SKU’s per year. The DC has exceeded the shipping cost efficiencies needed, and provided the tools to meet the company’s same-day ship policy for specialty and big box retailers in the Western states.  “No matter where our customers are in the country, regardless of order size, all orders placed by 5 pm are shipped that same day, and our customers will receive their orders in a one- or two-day shipment window,” explained the customer.  “Without the streamlined, automated pick, pack, and ship solution at our DCs, we would never be able to sustain this level of delivery speed.”

“Throughout the build-out of both DCs, The Numina group was a large driver of the systems we have in place,” added the Director of Distribution.  “They delivered the full package, a turnkey solution.  It has been a big success story – one of the best achievements that I have been part of in my thirty-plus years in the logistics and distribution industry.”

For more information about how to transform your distribution center and achieve best-in-class metrics, contact an engineer.

Contact an Engineer

The post Returning Customer Automation Distribution Success Story appeared first on Numina Group.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Warehouse Execution and Control Increases Profit

It takes more than automated order entry and warehouse management software to truly deliver a fully automated warehouse where each department is working together and meeting production requirements with real-time data.  Incorporating a warehouse execution and control system into your distribution process reaps big rewards with increased productivity and profitability.  
Numina Group Offers Real-Time Warehouse Control
The Numina Group offers real-time warehouse control with powerful warehouse software and automated technologies working together to streamline pick, pack and ship functions.  Our Warehouse Execution and Control System (WES-WCS), Real-Time Distribution, RDS™, provides valuable benefits to our customers resulting in increased performance and profits.  RDS is a family of flexible modules which integrates fully with your existing warehouse management system (WMS) or enterprise resource planning system (ERP) to deliver automation solutions which provide maximum cost saving efficiency and increase in profits.
RDS is powerful warehouse software which drives the following automation solutions:
                Scan-Weigh-Dimension – Inline scanning which automatically verifies weight and dimension also provides vision inspection and sorting functions.  Our inline DIM measurement system closes the loop in pack and ship operations using the actual weight and dimensions to validate content of the order and ensure the lowest parcel shipping costs.  
                One-Step and One-Step-Plus™ - Automatic printing and applying of shipping labels and documents drastically improves labeling operations saving manual labor expenses while increasing accuracy.  One-Step-Plus maintains compliance with pharmaceutical and medical device distribution processes which require labeling on the outside the carton.
                RDS Voice™ - Voice Picking Technology greatly improves throughput and accuracy by directing operators with the most optimized SKU path for pick and put processes.  Hands-free scanning drastically improves productivity of warehouse personnel with voice direction and automatic scanning. 
Regardless of your order fulfillment operation, the need to increase throughput and accuracy while reducing manual labor costs has never been greater.
Numina Group is recognized as a leading warehouse automation company, providing comprehensive services to streamline pick, pack and ship functions for high profitability. Contact us today to speak with an engineer and learn how we partner with our customers to deliver total automated warehouse solutions.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Automate B to B and B to C Order Fulfillment

With the boost in E-commerce there is new opportunity for distributors and 3PL companies to add automation technologies that increase throughput while lowering labor costs.   There are several benefits of automation in B to B and B to C order fulfillment operations.  Some valuable benefits offered by warehouse automation include:

    • Reduction in errors with accuracy improvements to 99.99%
    • Significant reduction in labor expenses with one to two operators performing the work of six or eight people
    • Streamline pick, pack and ship functions for increased throughput
    • Increase customer satisfaction with timely and accurate delivery
    • Increase revenue and profit of up to 30%
    • Rapid return on investment typically under 15 months for 2,000 to 3,000 per day distribution operation

Numina Group Provides Warehouse Automation Solutions

Numina Group provides warehouse automation solutions that improve productivity, accuracy and profitability.  By automating the printing and insertion or application of packing sheets and labels you can significantly reduce manual labor costs while improving accuracy and throughput.  Numina’s print and apply labeling system offers several choices for automatic application of labels and documents.

Print and apply labeling is part of Numina’s total warehouse execution system which provides automatic application of:

    • 4” x 6” or smaller shipping label
    • Combination 4” x 6” removable packing slip and shipping label
    • Combination 8.5” x 11” full packing sheet and shipping label
Numina Group offers decades of experience in warehouse design and implementation of automated technologies, improving distribution processes across North America. Our skilled design engineers evaluate the entire warehouse distribution process to identify areas for improvement.  Automating a packing line can consist of as little as 20 feet of automated conveyor systems.  Integrating the packing and shipping processes with automated technologies allows for efficient use of motor driven roller, (MDR) equipment which provides low noise and energy efficient operation.  

Numina Group provides warehouse automation solutions with warehouse execution and control systems driven by powerful warehouse software.  Contact us today to learn more about our automated solutions which save time, money and drastically increase profitability.