There is a tradeoff, however. Conventional conveyors are slow by the standards of many DCs, so this less expensive alternative comes with a price in throughput. In high-volume facilities, cost is less important than the throughput needed to achieve distribution goals.
The same is true of sortation in these DCs. In smaller facilities, the higher cost of sortation equipment may offer a competitive advantage when compared to the speed, cost and inaccuracies of manual sortation. In shipping and distribution, how quickly, efficiently and accurately organizations can get packages out the door is the name of the game. Organizations that make the investment in automated material handling methods like conveying and sortation can reap enormous benefit.
“Organizations are looking at their logistics and supply chains as an opportunity to improve efficiency, and ultimately, their bottom lines,” says Steve McElweenie, vice president, sortation, FKI Logistex North America. “They’re using material handling automation to achieve better processing rates for their personnel and facilities. Material handling automation enables better utilization of assets, inventory and people. They’re finding excellent returns on their investment in material handling systems.”