Probably one of the most overlooked areas in a warehouse is the final stretch of fulfillment, at least when it comes to automation. Yet this is an area with a relatively low-cost of entry, that can greatly improve efficiencies and deliver a time-compressed ROI. Falling under the umbrella of scanning, labeling, application, and manifesting (often referred to as SLAM), when you add automation to this area, you can have real impact and avoid a common area for bottlenecking.
Equipment to consider in the final 100 feet includes conveyors, scanners, weighing equipment, automated printing/labeling equipment, dunnage systems, packing mechanization, sortation, and dimensioning equipment. When combined with the right control software integrated into your Warehouse Management System (WMS) or Warehouse Control System (WCS), you can speed up these processes, minimize errors, avoid chokepoints, and greatly improve the flow of your operations. Additionally, you can remove excess labor from the processes, an important step as the labor shortage continues. All told, an industrial engineering initiative and comparative analysis of alternative SLAM technologies may be a cost-efficient way to increase throughput capacity and streamline overall operations.