Inbound Logistics | January 2022


Right-Sizing and Leveraging Fulllment Automation

Q How can right-sizing automation address labor shortages? Does it lead to increased employee engagement? A Automation, when correctly applied, should have two benefits: performing tasks with fewer people, and increasing the value of (remaining) employee tasks. Consider automation as a tool, doing the heavy lifting with repetitive tasks and the heavy thinking that goes into those tasks. When staff interact with these solutions, they seemore being accomplished with their efforts. The higher perceived value on a task, themore likely it will increase engagement, with that engagement feelingmore significant to staff.

Some companies may only need a scan-sort solution, others scan-print-and-apply, some need both, and then you run into weighing and dimensioning on-the-fly requirements. Our pick and put-to LightSort Technology can be retrofitted to sections of existing racks systems and then expanded across others. Once retrofitted, they can house differing workflows across modules, for example, depending on the pickingmethodology (traditional, wave, etc.). Put walls are perfectly modular as they can be expanded, replicated for different modules, or evenmoved around on wheels. Q Why do you think the misconception that automation is only for larger companies continues to persist? How would you address that? A Historically larger companies have been the ones automating, simply due to their larger amounts of capital. As automation technology evolves, the cost to acquire and implement go down. With the ever-increasing demands on fulfillment operations, from stricter SLAs to ever increasing volumes, the perfect storm is created. Many are going to pull the trigger on solutions that provide quick benefits. Due to the built-inmodularity of their operations, they can automate specific things in specific places, referred to as point automation.

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This is vital for keeping well-performing employees around.

Q Why are modular systems so essential for e-commerce fulllment operations? A Unless an entire operation is being built from scratch, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Fulfillment operations often havemodules for different customers, each with unique requirements. With our ChameleonParcel Processing Solution, for example, the fulfillment space is most often utilized to automate tasks after packaging is finalized.

January 2022 • Inbound Logistics 67

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