Numina Group’s Warehouse Control System, WCS Automates DC Efficiency

Jennifer Maloney
August 6, 2015

The team at Numina Group understands that optimizing new or current warehouse order fulfillment operations

The team at Numina Group understands that optimizing new or current warehouse order fulfillment operations requires design of lean low-touch processes and software control expertise in order to manage and coordinate today’s sophisticated automated material handling technologies. The software must be fast, efficient, and reliable, especially in 24/7 operations. From picking through packing and shipping, order and labor data must be fully tracked and work balanced to get the highest level of productivity. To gain a competitive edge in the market you need a partner who can deliver the right design, software, and leading edge technology.

What orchestrates our order fulfillment automation solutions is our Real-time Distribution System, RDS, Numina’s flag-ship technology – a versatile warehouse execution and control system,(WCS). It is a modular software system that includes a state of the art speaker independent voice directed picking technology that requires zero voice training. That means faster and simpler operator training and lower cost of ownership. Combining voice picking with real-time warehouse management and material handling control automates the entire order fulfillment operation.

RDS™ manages Omni-channel, E-commerce, Medical, and manufacturing distribution with the ability to be uniquely tailored to customer specific automation requirements. The software is highly scalable and modular, allowing, for example, a customer to start with voice picking or to automate packing and manifesting by implementing a small automated conveyor line with print and apply as a stand-alone system. RDS™ easily scales to provide a complete pick, pack, and ship solution when the budget permits. A full family of automation modules allows integration of automated material handling equipment, including vertical storage systems, carousels, ASRS, conveyors, pick-to-light,  packing and document robotics, print and apply labeling, and sortation.  RDS™ manages both the processes and the work tasks throughout an automated warehouse distribution operation. It improves order and material flow, tracks and reports productivity, delivers higher throughput and increased operational efficiency and profitability.

Numina Group’s WCS family of Warehouse Automation Modules Maximizes Operational Efficiency

At Numina Group, we specialize in designing and implementing innovative warehouse automation and order fulfillment processes. Our engineering staff reviews current slotting and order profiles and then works with your team to customize the material handling solution matched to business strategies and requirements to maximize ROI. Our warehouse automation technologies are highly scalable and can be deployed to match the size and scope of your operation. Our team of experts will first review current operational constraints and develop process improvements in combination with a warehouse automation solution tailored to your requirements to provides the best ROI.

Pick to light or Put to Light

Light directed picking systems are simple to use and very cost effective for high volume case and split case SKU picking applications. Additionally, lights can be configured to support batch picking and put to carton with light directed sort/put to order application. Depending on your requirements a light directed pick or put process can be a great way to automate order fulfillment.

Numina Group offers a full family of light and message displays to direct order picking, using either carts or conveyor based multi-level pick modules.

A hands-free wireless scanner is used to scan and start the order pick process. The scanner also triggers pick to light displays at each location, to display the item quantity required. The worker moves to each location, picks the required quantity directly to the shipping carton and confirms the pick by pushing the acknowledgement display button. Pick to light when applied to high velocity SKU’s (typically averaging 3 or more item picks per eight foot storage bay) provides pick rates of 350 to 500 or more lines per man hour.

Voice pick

Voice picking  is an extremely flexible and cost effective picking tool well suited to a wider variety of order picking processes including split case high velocity mixed SKU picking. It competes well with pick to light with the added advantage of lower cost and higher accuracy. It also works well in case picking and pallet picking warehouse automation. Our voice picking is one of the industries most advanced technologies using a speaker independent natural voice engine that runs on dozens of industrial wireless PDA’s and RF terminals. It is typically deployed as a multi-modal picking process that combines voice directed work tasks interleaved with a hands free 2-D barcode scanner to validate the SKU and capture the serial and lot number in a single step pick and pack process. Voice technology can streamline both picking and other operations, including receiving, replenishment, cycle counting, pallet building and shipping validations.   When used for order picking, multi-modal voice picking can provide a 15% to 50 % or more productivity gain in case and split case SKU picking with 250 to 370 lines per man hour.

Automated Vertical Storage Systems

Similar in principle to mini-load goods to man systems, but far more cost effective, is vertical storage systems. The vertical storage allows items to be stored and rapidly moved to the picker, using dense shelf SKU storage. The units take advantage of the building height – allowing in many application 4,000 or more SKU’s stored in a 12’ x 12’ space for rapid order picking. Vertical Storage blends the advantages of ASRS and Vertical Carrousel; often performing at a 30-40% faster rate for item retrieval and picking. It allows for a choice of picking management technology, including screen, pick to light, or voice directed picking. A single operator can manage the picking process of a 1-3 Vertical Storage bay and perform picking at 150 to 200 lines per man hour, while saving 60 to 80% in floor space compared to floor level shelf storage and cart or fork truck picking processes.

No matter which blend of technologies best fits your order fulfillment requirements, we’ll determine the right blend to ensure your get the highest operational efficiencies. Benefits include major improvement in the time it takes to complete orders, plus labor tracking and higher accuracy and quality control to increase your facility’s profitability.

More than Picking Automation: Combine Best Practices and Technology to Boost DC Output

Improving picking automation includes using the right storage technology such as carton flow to obtain the highest return on investment and to further enhance the overall ROI. It’s important to first analyze order profiles and SKU velocity movement data. This will not only pinpoint what picking technology and processes yield the greatest gains, it will provide the roadmap your operation requires to obtain better slotting practices and storage needs. Organizing inventory storage based on high to low velocity movement with the highest moving SKU’s located in the right type of storage and floor accessible locations along shortest travel paths yields 20% or more picking productivity gains.

Numina Group reviews existing storage and layout configurations and provides guidance to help you determine how to better store products, use space and get more out of your current footprint. We then partner and work together with our clients to identify how to further reduce touches and wasted steps using our pack station automation and print and apply labeling systems. It’s all about better throughout and lower cost per order shipped – by maximizing order flow and efficiency throughout the overall pick, pack, and ship processes!

Combining better picking and packing strategies, and magnifying the improved processes with our warehouse automation tools can truly help you achieve optimal facility efficiency.

For more information on our automated order fulfillment automation systems, contact Numina Group today!