Menlo Worldwide Logistics is implementing a radical new product picking regime involving ‘Pick to Light Carts’ developed by warehouse system integration specialist Inther Logistics Engineering. The system has been operational at the global logistics company’s Maastricht (Netherlands) facility since early December and is to be rolled out across its international network in the coming months.
Amsterdam, 9 January, 2014
Menlo and Inther have been working on the new system’s development for 3 months and have now completed successful trials with the ‘Go Live’ implemented for a medical device client in early December. Menlo’s Maastricht facility in the Netherlands is the first operation to bring the system into operation, and will assist Menlo in processing some 60,000 orders per year for this particular client. Initial measurements of the system’s performance show overall improvement in productivity of up to 20%.
With guidance lights on the reception bins of picking carts, which move from aisle to aisle, rather than on the storage racking, product location display and confirmation buttons are also positioned on the carts. This configuration allows operators to locate and secure product more quickly than more traditional picking methods. Although existing carts can be adapted to utilise the new equipment, Menlo have chosen to invest in new carts, which can also accommodate 16% more orders and have a facility to carry larger, or irregular out-sized items.
Menlo’s Functional IT Consultant Michel Kil is excited by the new system, “We have data that is already showing savings of 2 to 3 hours per day just on the picking list printing process, a further 30 minutes on manual order consolidation and picking performance improvements of up to 50%. There is some additional time required for build and breakdown of the cart but overall we are experiencing consistent levels of between 15 and 20% increased productivity. This is indeed impressive.”
The efficiencies inherent in the new Inther system start with the consolidation of orders at the beginning of each shift. Orders can be sequenced in batches of 21 at a time, which is much more effective than using the picking list method. Rob Winnen, Inther’s Project Manager explains more, “Yet more time is saved as the cart’s alert buttons enable the operator to report product discrepancies from the rack location before moving on to the next item with no loss of time. The report is immediately logged at a discrepancy station for resolution without disruption to the picking schedule.”
Kil also comments on the integration of ‘Pick to Light’ with Menlo’s global data centre back-up facility in Portland, Oregon. “We aren’t experiencing any latency in data communication and the strong data security features provide confidence and operational advantage. The global data centre handles order input from across Menlo’s international operation and will aid the possible adoption of ‘Pick to Light’ at our Asian and American sites in the future.”
Winnen says Inther is also looking to the future with adaptations to the system. “We are already working on a number of variants, including utilising the system in reverse to increase the efficiency of ‘put away’ processes.”
About Menlo Worldwide Logistics Europe
In Europe, Menlo Worldwide Logistics maintains seventeen dedicated and multi-client logistics centres located in the Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany and the United Kingdom. This warehouse network can serve as pan-European distribution solution using one or several facilities.
Supply chain and transport management solutions as well as 3PL, warehousing and distribution services are offered to a variety of vertical industry sectors including: fashion & apparel; healthcare and medical equipment; hi-tech electronic and data network equipment; automotive; defence and government services and retail e-fulfilment. The European headquarters is at the multi-client Amsterdam Distribution Centre in the Netherlands.
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About Menlo Worldwide Logistics
Menlo Worldwide Logistics, LLC, is a US$1.7 billion global provider of logistics, transportation management and supply chain services with operations in five continents, including North America. As a third-party logistics provider, San Francisco, California-based Menlo Worldwide Logistics’ services range from dedicated contract logistics to warehouse and distribution management, transportation management, supply chain reengineering and other value-added services including packaging, kitting, order fulfillment and light assembly through a strategic network of multi-client and dedicated facilities.
With nearly 20million square feet of dedicated warehouse space in North America, the Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America, and industry-leading technologies, Menlo Worldwide Logistics creates effective, integrated solutions for the transportation and distribution needs of leading businesses around the world. Menlo Worldwide Logistics, LLC, is a subsidiary of Con-way Inc. (NYSE: CNW), a $5.7 billion diversified freight transportation and logistics company.
About Inther Logistics Engineering
Inther is an international system integrator. We are a ‘one-stop shop’ for all logistic issues. That means you have a single point of contact for all matters concerning the project. Inther listens, designs, delivers, integrates and bears 100 percent final responsibility for its projects.
The core of our solutions always consists of our own developed software, which is state of the art and holds all functionalities necessary in a modern warehouse. With Inther LC we supply software for Warehouse Management (WMS), Voice Picking, Pick to Light, barcode and RFID integration and Material Flow Control (MFC).
Inther delivers complete logistic systems that provide high performance at an affordable price. Thanks to our solutions, our customers realize reduced costs and at the same line increase capacity, productivity, utilization rate, customer service and quality.