Just-in-Time Manufacturing & Same-Day Delivery

rapid order fulfillment vlm motorized conveyor systemIn business-to-business commerce and after-sales support, it’s commonplace for web orders to be processed for next day or overnight shipping. For these just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing processes for online retail companies, rapid order fulfillment is necessary for customer satisfaction. To support this rapid order fulfillment, production lines rely on high equipment uptime. One leading producer of machine tools, with more than 97% of orders processed as next-day deliveries, integrated a motorized conveyor line with multiple vertical lift modules (VLMs) and a warehouse management system (WMS) to fulfill orders quickly and meet their customer’s needs. Click here to learn more about automated storage for order fulfillment.

Automated Storage Ensures Rapid Order Fulfillment

The manufacturer’s warehouse houses fifteen VLMs grouped into four pick-and-pass workstations. Each workstation is connected to a motorized conveyor line where picked orders travel to and from each zone, then to the packing and shipping area. Their WMS is integrated with the VLMs, which passes order requirements to the modules. On the VLM’s light bar, the pick/put information for the picker is displayed, which allows them to identify and pick orders faster and without error.

just in time jit manufacturing online retailCustomers may be ordering from the manufacturer’s website, phone, or email. As soon as the order is placed, the WMS allocates inventory and assigns a pick slip and barcode for each tote the orders will be picked into. The WMS then transfers the order details to the picking software that manages the VLMs, systems in the packing area, and the system of overnight shipping carriers that deliver the order. When the order is complete, the lights direct the operator to push the tote back into the conveyor so it can be routed to packing or another workstation if it needs additional picks. Click here to see how an oil and gas company was able to improve efficiency and save space with VLMs.

Minimizing Downtime & Improving Order Visibility

To allow for more inventory and picking visibility, a web-based monitoring function on a large flat screen shows picking information and where an order is located on the conveyor. This allows operators to quickly add items to in-process orders without having to re-do the order.

Minimizing downtime is critical to just-in-time manufacturing processes. Within 15 minutes of an order, an email is sent to the customer with a tracking number. The monitoring system provides a tool that allows staff to quickly see where the order is at any time, which is a huge help when there may be 100 or more totes being processed at any time. Use of the VLMs has also yielded labor benefits while increasing the percentage of orders shipped out for just-in-time manufacturing delivery.

Contact Us for Rapid Order Fulfillment

Southwest Solutions Group® provides design and installation services for VLMs and other automated storage systems for rapid order fulfillment in online retail and just-in-time manufacturing applications. We will also provide you with a free consultation to determine your exact needs and specifications before the design process begins. To learn more or to speak with a specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.


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