With the increasing number of online orders and rising pressure on delivery times, the need for automation has never been higher for 3PL and e-commerce companies. The biggest hurdle; a lot of individual customer orders with a small number of items per order.
Our solution used at Modexpress includes a Slide tray sorter, combined with put-to-light cabinets, manual & automatic packaging line and a shipping sorter. Outbound items are picked from the warehouse and moved to the sorter in batches.
The sorting process
- Slide tray sorter
This sorter is used for outbound sorting. Products are sorted into large wooden chutes, enabling a buffer at the sort destination. Small e-commerce orders are sorted and combined in one chute. Large orders can be sorted directly to a specific chute and will bypass the PTL cabinets.
A total number of 20 cabinets are now used to sort items per order. Each cabinet has 36 pigeonholes, but these can be divided by using a separator. This enables a total of 54 functional pigeon holes per cabinet. Monitors and scanners are installed to display tasks and progress. Operators adjust the monitor to the perfect working height with the extendable arm.
- Automatic packaging
One side of the sorter is used for items that pass the automatic packaging line. E-commerce orders are put in the PTL cabinets. Once completed, they will be picked from the other side and put onto the conveyor belt. This directs it to the automatic packaging machine.
- Manual packaging
This side of the sorter is used for items that require manual packaging. At these packaging tables, the operators add the required documents and package the order. After packaging, it will be put onto the conveyor belt, which will direct it to the shipping sorter.
- Scanning and proof of delivery
This conveyor merges the manual and automatic packaging lines. The items go through a scanner that recognizes the product and takes a picture as proof of delivery. Finally, this conveyor automatically inducts the products into the shipping sorter.
- Shipping sorter
This vertical shipping sorter sorts the items to the correct carrier.
Peter Voet is Sales director at Equinox MHE. He has been working in logistics for over 30 years, traveled around the world and visited tons of clients with all possible solutions and combinations. His strength lies in designing pragmatic solutions for complex challenges. Peter strives to find the solution that ticks all the boxes.