Pick and fast-Pack
Automated and semi-automated bagging systems can substantially increase the efficiency of UK mail order fulfilment operations. That’s the claim made by Automated Packaging Systems mail order expert Martin Richards, and it’s based on worldwide performance data on the businesses OneStep™ and Autofulfillment™ SPrint™ systems.
“Recent innovations in Pick and Pack technology have been focussed on the pick side of the operation,” explains Martin Richards. “But with developments in our bagging systems there’s evidence that customer packing lines can operate up to 12 times faster than they were achieving with even their most experienced hand baggers, allowing them to switch labour to picking operations to increase overall productivity.”
The new SidePouch Autofulfillment SPrint - available to Automated Packaging Systems customers in the US since June 2011 – seamlessly fits into an automated packing line. Its input conveyor brings product to one of five pre-opened mail bags then packs, prints and affixes address details to the bag producing and inserting a packing slip or invoice before sealing and passing to dispatch on an output conveyor. A 3-point scanning verification system checks every step.
“Autofulfillment SPrint is a more flexible, reliable conveyor-fed alternative to the more traditional automated mail order fulfilment pack stations,” explains Martin Richards. “It’s been designed for high volume fulfilment applications and can be customised for a wide range of products from apparel and footwear to bed and bath, home decor and healthcare or hardware and spares – in fact, just about anything that will ship in a poly bag.
“Unlike the alternatives, Autofulfillment SPrint bags can be changed in minutes by the operator, reducing downtime and the need for engineering support. There’s a wide range of bag materials on offer including standard UV film bags with black outers and white inners. All can be branded with high quality print and easy-openers are available for business focussing on improving the customer experience and perception of value.
“Our OneStep systems, on the other hand, require less capital investment per unit, making them ideal for applications where goods are packed in several areas within a facility.”
The OneStep systems do exactly that: print postal and traceability data on the next bag out, then open it for packing and sealing in a single ‘step’. The OneStep AB systems are part of the ultra-reliable Autobag range of baggers and are available in vertical and horizontal configuration with load areas of up to 255mm load areas. For smaller products and lower volumes, there’s a plug-and-play desktop PS 125 OneStep which is still capable of packing up to 10 times faster than the most experienced hand bagger.
While the OneStep AB systems can be successfully integrated into a traditional automated packing line, they’re great advantage is that their performance when used in isolation. An AB 255 OneStep, for example, makes it possible for a single packer to increase output 10-fold without the need for substantial capital investment and system restructuring.
Martin Richards explains: “Because the OneStep systems print and index in a single operation, operators can achieve typical process rates of between 480 and 600 packs per hour. The in-built AutoTouch™ control screen makes it quick and easy to set jobs up, and there are a range of software options to link order, pick, pack, dispatch, mail and courier systems.
Martin Richards specialises in Automated Packaging Systems mail order fulfilment applications.