Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Voice Picking Systems with Labor Management Tracking

Labor expenses can be more than half of the costs to operate a distribution center, especially labor costs for picking processes.  Order fulfillment operations such as B to B, and B to C internet fulfillment centers process a large number of mixed SKU orders, requiring workers to pick from various lots and bins. Improving worker productivity in picking and replenishment operations reaps big rewards to the bottom line in any distribution process.
Voice picking technology provides hands free barcode scanning, improving worker productivity by up to 50%.  With clear voice commands, employees are directed to the next picking location and led through the most optimized pick path to pick order fulfillment items.  Voice picking technology is proven highly effective in a multitude of operations, including frozen food distribution centers where employees are exposed to a cold environment.  By improving productivity, efficiency and accuracy, workers are more satisfied with their job and more engaged.  

Labor Management Module with Voice Picking Technology
Numina’s Real-Time Distribution (RDS™) warehouse control software drives advanced technologies including Voice Picking Systems.  Numina’s voice picking technology includes a labor management module to measure worker productivity against set standards which can be created for unique work zones. Work tasks are time stamped, tracked, and automatically recorded improving accountability of workers.  
Companies today are striving for maximum efficiency while not jeopardizing quality and meeting customer specifications.  With our unique labor tracking module, you can measure worker performance to drive continual improvement in your operations.
Numina’s RDS™ with voice picking technology simultaneously improves worker accuracy and productivity.  Voice Picking Systems by Numina provide a quick return on investment, usually within one year.  RDS Voice utilizes the leading speaker independent Lydia voice engine, which requires zero operator training and works well even in a noisy warehouse environment.  
Total Warehouse Control and Execution
Real-Time Distribution is a unique warehouse execution and control system (WES-WCS) featuring pick, pack and ship order fulfillment solutions including real-time control of automated material handling equipment.  RDS drives advanced technologies including voice picking technologies, print and apply labeling, in-line scanning for weight and dimension verification with smart sorting for accurate routing and shipping.  
RDS improves accuracy to 99%, increases worker productivity from 30% to 50%, and increases profitability on average 30% or more.  

Numina Group is a leading expert in providing warehouse automation solutions to a multitude of pick, pack and ship operations across North America.  Contact us today to speak with an experienced engineer to learn how we can improve your productivity and profitability.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Are Your Automated Warehouse Solutions Based on Lean Design?

Distribution centers worldwide face an ever-increasing demand for faster processing to deliver next day product, error free, on time and with the best shipping method possible.  With so many variables affecting high volume continuous operations, even the slightest cog in the wheel can significantly affect overall profitability.  Conversely, a smooth operation designed with an optimized flow for the leanest operation attainable will drastically improve profitability in virtually any distribution process.    
Learn the Value of a Professional Automated Warehouse Design
Don’t just buy some automated equipment and see what your benefits will be and how it fits in with your entire distribution process.  Speak with a professional automation engineer for a thorough lean analysis to evaluate custom stand-alone processes and the overall shipping, receiving, warehouse management or distribution process.
Automated warehouse solutions should be based upon this design, implemented with the best automated equipment and technologies for maximum throughput and accuracy.  
Numina Defines, Designs and Implements Proven Automated Warehouse Solutions
Numina has decades of experience in helping companies to achieve maximum throughput, increased accuracy and improved profitability.  We partner with you to learn your process through a lean and thorough analysis, revealing your biggest challenges and developing a solution with a customized automated warehouse design.  
Our warehouse design experts evaluate all order profiles, improving:
  • order flow
  • space utilization
  • labor touches
  • accuracy
  • productivity
  • profitability  
Implementing Warehouse Automation Equipment
Numina takes your design from concept to reality with quick implementation of warehouse automation equipment powered by our Real Time Distribution warehouse control and execution system (WCS-WES), Real-Time Distribution, RDS™.  RDS™ is flexible and scalable to grow with your business, featuring a family of modules designed to easily integrate with your existing warehouse management or ERP system.  
RDS™ utilizes cutting edge technology to improve pick, pack and ship processes such as our Voice Picking System which improves accuracy to 99.99%. Our automated Print and Apply labeling system automatically applies a single or duplex printed packing slip and shipping label, eliminating bottlenecks in your process while improving throughput and accuracy.  
Numina Group provides experienced and professional analysis and design of your warehouse or distribution process, offering the automated warehouse solution to provide the most value. Contact us today to speak with an experienced automation engineer to learn more about our cost-effective and high performing automated solutions.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Warehouse Control Software that Outperforms the Competition

Are you looking for the best warehouse control software to improve your warehouse management processes?  If you are struggling to integrate your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and your Warehouse Management System (WMS) with automated technologies that all work together in a streamlined operation, then you need to call the automation experts at Numina Group.
Numina Group provides the most advanced warehouse control system software available in the warehouse automation industry today.  Real-Time Distribution software (RDS™) operates in sub-milliseconds for true real time warehouse control.  Unlike warehouse management systems, our superior RDS™ software controls advanced technologies that adapt to your processes to provide true warehouse control.  
RDS™ bridges the gap between your ERP information system, WMS or material requirement planning systems and automated equipment to provide the total one-stop solution for all your order fulfillment applications.  Our warehouse control software directs advanced technologies such as Voice Picking Systems, Pick and Put to Light processes and Print and Apply Labeling systems to drastically improve accuracy and productivity.
Voice Picking and Print and Apply Labeling
Our superior voice picking system is proven in hundreds of applications across North America, providing hands-free voice directed picking to improve accuracy to 99.99% while improving productivity.  
Numina’s Print and Apply Labeling processes thousands of cartons per hour with accurate label placement of packing sheet slips directly under shipping labels.  With automatic in-line scanning to verify weight and dimension, Numina’s warehouse controls software will automatically sort and direct packages to their proper shipping destination, saving money and avoiding chargebacks by selecting the proper ship method without error.  
X-Press PAL™ and X-Press PAL Plus™ eliminate bottlenecks in your packaging process by automatically scanning, weighing, checking dimensions and applying packing sheets and labels.  X-Press PAL will apply the correct shipping labels to cartons at a rate of more than 900 cartons per hour, proven to eliminate up to three manual operators in thousands of pick, pack and ship operations.  Our labeling solutions are the highest performing available today.
Numina’s RDS™ warehouse automation software is a family of pre-developed modules, flexible and scalable, designed to grow with your business.  Numina has decades of experience designing, defining and implementing the most advanced warehouse automation technologies available today.  

Numina provides total warehouse control and execution with advanced warehouse software and automated technologies.  Contact us today to speak with an engineer and learn how Numina can improve your accuracy, productivity and profitability with real-time warehouse software and advanced automated technologies.  

Thursday, March 8, 2018



Eric Raschke

Numina Group, designer and integrator of warehouse automation


Service manager


Woodridge, Ill.


Customers in every U.S. state and international locations


Handle service calls, dispatch and coordinate field service technicians, remote troubleshooting


Numina Group’s dedicated Service Manager, Eric Raschke, was recently featured in Materials Handling MRO Magazine.  Read his interview below.


MHMRO: How did you get into this industry, and what do you like about it?

Raschke: I was one of those kids who would take anything and everything apart. I had lots of Legos, and I’d put them put together by the directions first, then take them apart and put them back together my way.

I went to school for electrical engineering, and I was always looking for a career that was hands-on, where I was able to use my skills to understand how things work. My first job out  of school was as an engineer working under a maintenance manager and that crew had a lot to teach me. Whenever there was an issue, I was part of the team trying to figure it out. I’ve been in maintenance now since 2006, and I really like working in the service field. It’s a very stressful area since everyone wants everything corrected right here and right now, but once you do correctly, you have a real sense of accomplishment.


MHMRO: How does technology help you do your job?

Raschke: Everything is moving so fast that it doesn’t even seem like it’s moving so fast. We didn’t have smart phones 10 years ago, and they are one of the best things that’s happened for someone in this field. Even a customer with a limited amount of knowledge can take a video on a phone and give a technician something to see, and it’s often enough information to diagnose the problem a lot more quickly. Then we can either repair it remotely or be better prepared when we get to the site.

Another thing I’ve seen over the last several years is automation equipment being Internet-connected. Each system we install has a remote connec­tion that gives us visibility into what’s happening. Back when everything was connected serially, or through some kind of industrial network, there was not that much visibility. The bar code scanner either worked, or it didn’t, and that was about all you knew. It’s nice now that my technicians can dial into a customer’s site from across the country and access detailed diagnostics on each device as though we were right there. More and more devices have that capability.


MHMRO:  What would you say to a high school or college graduate considering this field?

Raschke: Learn anything you can. It doesn’t matter who it’s from. People who have been around 40 years have a lot of knowledge, of course. But when younger guys come in, they might have learned something you haven’t yet. Be ready to learn from anyone and everyone you can. That’s how you make yourself most valuable.

When I was younger, a family friend told me I should go through life with an imaginary bag and take every opportunity to put something in it. Learn something new. Take a class, even if it’s not immediately relevant, because when you  go  back and look at the knowledge that accumulated in that bag, you’ll realize you’re a more valuable employee. That bag will open a lot of doors as you go through your career and life.




18     MARCH  2018   /   MATERIALS HANDLING MRO   mmh.com

The full Technician Spotlight interview can be found here.

The post I TECHNICIAN SPOTLIGHT I appeared first on Numina Group.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

How to Determine the Best Automated Conveyor for Your Process

Looking for automated conveyor solutions can be confusing with so many different types and styles to choose from.  How do you know which manufacturer has the best product for you?  How do you know if you’re getting the right conveyor system to improve your process, that will yield the highest productivity, at the least possible cost to you?  
The first thing to do is to speak with an experienced automated conveyor specialist for a professional evaluation of your distribution requirements. An automation engineer with experience in designing automated distribution centers will have in-depth knowledge of the numerous styles available and know which type would provide the most benefits.  
Numina Designs Warehouse Automation and Automated Conveyor Systems
Numina Group has decades of experience designing the most productive automated conveyor systems for pick, pack and ship distribution processes across North America.  Our experienced engineers will design the optimum conveyor design in 3D rendering software and CAD designs.
We are experienced at designing your distribution process with automated equipment that will yield the most output, with the most streamlined and optimized path flow. Numina offers automated solutions from a wide selection of conveyors combined with professional design to ensure success of your process.  Our selection of automated conveying systems include:
  • MDR 24v
  • Belt Driven
  • Chain Driven
  • Narrow Belt
  • Daisy Chain
  • Spiral
  • Roller
  • Accumulation
  • Zero Pressure Accumulation
  • Line Shaft
  • Overhead
  • Conveyor Sortation Systems
  • Accumulation Conveyor
    • Overhead Conveyor
    • Conveyor Sortation Systems

Custom Designed Automated Solutions
When you call Numina, you get a lot more than someone telling you about equipment or trying to sell you anything.  We thrive on solving your distribution problems.  Numina provides the most productive automated equipment available in the market today, combined with real-time warehouse control and execution software in a solution that is custom designed to your processes.  
Our warehouse design process includes a broad overview with drill down analysis of sub systems and custom order fulfillment processes.  
Benefits of Conveyor Systems from Numina
Automated conveyors have a specific purpose to accurately transport boxes or products through your distribution system.  When these conveying systems are designed properly with the most effective equipment, design and integration with warehouse control, the return on investment is extraordinary.  
Typical benefits of Numina’s automated equipment and conveying systems include:
    • Modular conveyors deliver quick set up even in customized, unique processes
    • Increase accuracy in order fulfillment processing
    • Lower labor and operating costs
    • Faster cycle times mean increase in productivity
    • Increased throughput provides an improved bottom line.   
Numina Group is recognized as an industry leader utilizing advanced technologies with robust warehouse control software to increase throughput and your bottom line.

Our automated warehouse solutions provide proven cost reductions with immediate return on investment.  Contact us today to speak with an automation engineer and learn about our many solutions with high performing, low cost automated conveyors.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

How to Retain Good Employees in a Tight Labor Market

Employers everywhere are wondering how to retain good employees in this tight labor market.  With unemployment at a 17-year low and hovering around 4%, finding an employee with skilled labor and decent work ethic is quite a challenge.  Companies are investing in their current workforce, promoting employee engagement and continual improvement in their products and processes.  One way to achieve a happier workforce is to provide opportunities for employees to improve with personal development.  
Invest in People and Processes
While you are evaluating your labor requirements, be sure to consider how you can invest in automated equipment to maximize your workforce and productivity.  By investing in warehouse automation, you realize several benefits, including an increase in worker engagement and satisfaction.  
Employees that perform repetitive, mundane tasks such as printing shipping labels and applying them to boxes, weighing or sorting boxes, or picking inventory items can be faced with burnout performing the same monotonous tasks over and over again.   Burnout can lead to exhaustion and opens room for human error.  You can eliminate repetitive tasks and increase accuracy with automated warehouse equipment.
Warehouse Control for Improved Productivity and Profitability
The Numina Group’s warehouse control system, Real-Time Distribution, RDS™, is the leading Tier One Warehouse Control and Execution (WCS-WES) system available in the market today.  RDS™ is flexible and scalable, adapting to your distribution process and growing with your company.  RDS™ easily integrates with your existing ERP or WMS system, acting like a floor supervisor processing vital information and directing advanced technologies for perfect order processes in your distribution center.
Achieve Perfect Order Processes with Numina’s RDS™
The four Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure performance in order fulfillment are:
    • On-time delivery
    • Accurate customer specifications
    • Zero defects
    • Complete order fill accuracy
Companies that achieve 99% or more in these areas drastically improve their profitability.  Numina’s warehouse automation system assists companies to perform with 99% accuracy in order fulfillment processes, while meeting all other KPIs.
RDS™ Drives Advanced Technology
Numina’s Real-Time Distribution System controls automated voice picking technology for hands-free pick and put applications.  Improve accuracy to 99.99% with RDS Voice Picking System, while improving employee comfort and engagement.  Allowing employees to manage picking with voice commands with both hands-free increases productivity up to 70%.   
Our automated Print and Apply Labeling System processes thousands of cartons per hour with accuracy, drastically improving throughput.  Make the most of your current workforce by introducing advanced technologies that provide smart sorting and scanning, voice picking and print and apply labeling.

Numina Group is a leading warehouse automation specialist providing maximum productivity and profitability to distribution centers across North America.  Contact us today to speak with an engineer and learn how our Real-Time Distribution warehouse control system can improve your order fulfillment processes.  

Friday, March 2, 2018

How 3PLs can automate to handle growth and demands of Omnichannel Ecommerce

In today’s digital age, customers are now more likely to order something online, rather than run to a store to make a purchase.  Companies are finding that in order to compete, they must invest in omnichannel ecommerce.  As a result, Third party logistic operations (3PL’s) need to upgrade their offerings and become Omni-channel operations with automated order fulfillment services that support not only full pallet and mixed case pallets orders, but also seamlessly handle e-commerce pick, pack, and ship operations.

The Growth in ecommerce fulfillment has created a paradigm shift.  For 3PLs to remain successful they need to be able to process single SKU carton shipments direct to consumers. E-commerce is a much more complex beast, and typically generates a lower cost per fulfillment charge, while still requiring same day delivery.

As e-commerce continues to rapidly grow, a 3PL requires a highly efficient blend of automation technologies to control picking, packing, and shipping costs. Right now, unemployment is so low that hiring and retaining reliable labor to run distribution operations is much more challenging and costly than investing in automation.

In addition to labor challenges, a major requirement brought on by the growth in omnichannel ecommerce is Dimensional Weight capture.  Dimensional Weight capture is now a required component of manifesting in order to obtain the lowest cost parcel shipment rates. All the major parcel shippers: FedEx, UPS and USPS rely on dimensional weight, and utilize a formula to calculate billable charges based on a package’s Length X Width X Height divided by the carrier DIM factor. For FedEx and UPS, that DIM factor is approximately 166 and can be negotiated based on a 3PL’s shipment volume.  When it comes to parcel shipping, size matters, because an extra inch impacts shipping costs, especially when the order is an air shipment.

Key E-commerce automation technologies that streamlines and lower a 3PL’s operational costs:

  1. Cartonization coupled with highly efficient picking technology that eliminates the reliance on an operator guessing the correct carton size during the picking or packing operation. When carton size selection must rely on guesswork, companies waste money  shipping boxes that are unnecessarily large, or waste labor repacking an order.
  2. In-line Dimensional Weight Capture technology combines an in-motion scale with a 3-D Camera dimensioner to accurately measure each parcel so actual dimensional weight is used for carrier selection and manifesting.
  3. Print and Apply Labeling automates the application of the parcel shipping labels, packing slips, UCC Compliance labels, ASN labels, and other order documentation requirements. Print and apply operates at 500% – 1000% the rate of a manual manifesting workstation.

Omnichannel Ecommerce Automation Technologies Lower Operational Costs

Cartonization software calculates each order’s optimal carton size using the item master to obtain SKU dimensions and weight data.  Best practice cartonization software selects the smallest available carton size that an order will fit into. Cartonization adds several benefits besides lowering the impact of DIM.  It also enables pick and pack directly to the right size carton or padded bag during the picking process.

Selecting the right order carton size in an E-commerce operation at the start of order release provides the opportunity to use a lean, single touch pick and pack process directly to the shipping carton. It eliminates the operator selecting an over-sized carton, reduces void usage, and the cost of shipping air.

Pick by Voice is a technology well suited to the demands of omnichannel ecommerce order fulfillment, especially latest generation multi-modal voice picking systems.  Pick by voice blends the operator’s voice directed instructions with hands-free barcode scanning to perform pick and pack with item level validation. Voice picking is rapidly advancing, and the latest speaker independent voice engines entirely eliminate the need to train/record each operator’s voice.

It is the technology of choice for 3PLs because it reduces employee training time so that even a temporary employee is productive in minutes.  The latest generation voice picking systems also support off the shelf hardware, including a wide variety of wireless wearable computers as well as Blue Patriot’s low-cost 450 headset/speaker microphone which can be paired with hands free Honeywell or Zebra 2-D wireless barcode scanners, providing even more hardware options.

Voice picking verifies item pick location, and SKU and lot capture in a single step. Voice directed Picking drives the much faster performance picking process with significantly higher accuracy rates compared to paper, RF terminals, and tablets. It is a high value investment a 3PL can deploy quickly to lower labor costs by 30% or more in E-commerce pick and pack, while achieving order fill accuracy rates of 99.99%. Tier 1 voice suppliers include pre-developed software modules for order release optimization, cartonization, cart build, efficient batch cart picking of 12 or more orders, as well as pick and pass conveyor zone picking processes. All split case picking applications should be combined with Cartonization logic to support single touch pick to carton applications.

Pack Automation streamlines and eliminates low value work tasks that drain profitability in a 3PL operation.  Single SKU orders that can ship in a padded bag or small carton should be batch picked to a tote at a workstation designed to process “Speed Picks” along a powered conveyor line.  With the proper pack design, operators can pack 3-4 orders a minute and place the conveyable carton on to the powered conveyor.

Orders picked directly to the shipping carton are placed directly on the conveyor from the batch pick cart, transport to the in-line void and semi-automatic taper. One or more operators positioned at the void and taper with an optional auto pack sheet print-fold-inserter can process 10-15 cartons per minute, at least a 500%-600% increase in packing productivity compared to manual pack and manifest stations.

Auto Scan-Weigh-Dim Consider the advantages 3PL logistics have when promoting their services with a potential new e-commerce client. They can demonstrate that every parcel shipment is automatically inspected using an in-line scan-weigh dimensioning system! Adding measurement technologies to “close the pick, pack, and ship loop” like dimensional weight capture provides the tool needed to validate the actual order content weight, and ensure the lowest parcel shipment costs. Vision audit systems for image records of carton contents can be added for further verification.

Print and apply Pair the in-line dimensional weight measurement system with an auto print and apply labeling system to dramatically increase throughput rate and shipping accuracy across the entire parcel manifesting and shipping operation.  Print and Apply Label applicators are low cost robots that automate the mundane low value manual work of hand applying shipping labels, packing slip/carton content labels, UCC compliance labels, ASN labels and other order shipment labeling requirements. The labeling system integrates to the WMS and/or to a shipping manifest system for multi-carrier rate shopping software, which ensures that the lowest cost carrier is selected.  For the highest return on investment 3PLs capture dimensional weight inline, auto apply the shipping label, and scan verify the carrier tracking number immediately after the print and apply labeling system.

3PL Logistics operations need to add the right blend of automation technologies to compete in the E-commerce marketplace. The investment will provide a rapid ROI and allow the firm to gain a competitive advantage for retaining existing customers, as well as attracting new high value customers. The right order fulfillment automation platform contains all the components outlined and provides a lean, voice directed pick, pack, and ship operation that reduces touches, lowers labor costs, and will increase a 3PL’s profitability.

For more information on E-commerce distribution automation and Numina Group’s Real-time- Distribution Software, RDS Tier 1 Voice Directed Order Fulfillment and Warehouse Execution and Control System, WES-WCS, contact an engineer.   If you would like to speak with an application engineer or discuss how our technologies can boost productivity at your operations call 630-343-2600.

Contact an Engineer

The post How 3PLs can automate to handle growth and demands of Omnichannel Ecommerce appeared first on Numina Group.