In a consumer market transitioning towards a much higher ratio of ecommerce sales than brick and mortar business; apparel manufacturers and distributors must adapt their automated solutions to meet quick turnaround and high-volume demand.
Global Clothier XYZ is an up-and-coming provider of custom designed, on-demand garments who print directly onto t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, etc. They store dozens of different colors and sizes of “blanks” on hand, waiting to load them into their printers as orders are placed by commercial customers. XYZ also sells finished goods they custom design and are contract manufactured by partners all over the world. These contain many of their same garment designs, but printed on every-day items, such as mugs, umbrellas and jewelry. They also fulfill consumer ecommerce orders that contain singles and multi’s of on-demand and finished goods.
So how can they efficiently produce, pick, transport, consolidate, pack, and ship product from all these different processes? S&H Systems has perfected solutions to streamline these processes cost effectively, in a small footprint, and with high throughput.
First, our WES is the ideal software layer for this type of system. It assists in managing inventory, small-parcel manifesting, shipping management, and replenishment, along with all the standard functions of a WCS software layer. Paired with the customer’s ERP software, a costly WMS can be avoided.
With processes occurring in a manufacturing area of the building and picking occurring from static shelving/racking in a separate area, order consolidation for XYZ was traditionally very difficult. Now, driven by the S&H Systems WES software layer, garments that are created through the on-demand printing process can be placed into a put wall. This serves as an intelligent holding solution for individual on-demand garments to be married with multis which could potentially be included in one ecommerce order. Meanwhile, in the pick module, associates are using pick-to-voice interfaces to select product, place into a consolidation tote, and send to the packing area.
Next, we recommend the use of Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) where possible. AMRs are modern solutions for problems that have afflicted the material handling industry for decades. Robots can travel the long distances that conveyors have traditionally been used for, reducing both floor space and maintenance/spare parts needs. These AMRs are also flexible, with adjustable routing, based on everything from human traffic to “hot orders’ dropped into the order queue.
For example, in congested warehouses floorspace, clean work environments can be difficult to achieve, while maintaining proper automation workflow, especially if you are tying a pick module into a put wall consolidation line, then sending to an outbound sorter. AMRs are a clean and more effective alternative. And traditionally, a lot of space is needed for the required accumulation buffer to avoid back-ups. AMRs can drastically reduce that dedicated space – and you can pass those savings on to your customer.
What’s more valuable is AMRs work flow flexibility – robots can pick from the finished goods area, the put wall area coming from on-demand printing, drop over to a packing operator, then take the completed order to the shipping dock. The AMR can sort directly to another conveyor, a chute, or even directly to a gaylord, giving the customer plenty of shipping options.
In addition, AMRs are incredibly safe. Outfitted with Lidar and 360 degrees of protection monitoring, AMRs are designed to sense static and dynamic obstacles that are presented in their route. They are capable of quick halting, rerouting, and prioritize keeping operators safe in the work environment.
Finally, S&H Systems’ solutions are driven by customer needs. Constantly growing and adapting with global market trends, our systems encompass the best-in-class products available on the market. We provide the equipment, the software, and the designs that our clients require and deserve, driven solely by their success goals.
For more information about Advanced Technologies contact Justin Ray, Director of Advanced Technologies for S&H Systems.
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