Designing Efficient Last Mile Sortation for Ecommerce – Top Ten Tips
A recent Forbes article pointed out the new normal in ecommerce fulfillment: Peak pandemic ecommerce demand may have gone down, but consumer expectations haven’t.
That’s why many final mile carriers are automating their package sortation processes – to increase throughput, handle a larger array of product sizes, broaden operational flexibility and satisfy consumer demand.
Below are some tips for implementing a successful automated solution.
- Optimize Sort Center Design: Consider factors such as efficient routing and accessibility to minimize bottlenecks and ensure smooth flow of packages. The goal is to reduce unnecessary associate movements and non-productive movements – while maximizing both speed and accuracy.
- Utilize Advanced Sortation Systems: When faced with 150+ parcels per minute continuously sorted for over 100 destinations, high-speed parcel sorters with barcode scanning or RFID technology enhance both sorting speed and accuracy.
- Use Automated Parcel Conveyors: With adjustable speeds, diverter systems, and accumulation zones these conveyors streamline package transportation within the facility. Heavy-duty parcel conveyors allow for bulk flow of mixed package types (cartons, envelopes, and polybags) to be collected, conveyed and then singulated prior to high-speed sortation.
- Integrate Mixed Parcel Singulators: Transitioning from bulk flow to singulated flow is necessary to achieve high-rate sortation to multiple destinations. The mixed parcel singulator is critical when handling diverse packages effectively, reducing jams and ensuring smooth sorting operations.
- Leverage Robotics: Using robotic systems (such as AGV’s and AMR’s) for tasks such as package handling, sorting, and inventory management, improves both productivity and accuracy. Robotics can handle repetitive tasks so you can deploy labor in more high-value areas.
- Implement Advanced Software Solutions: Optimize routing, track real-time data, and enable seamless integration with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems by implementing “middleware” that connects conveyors and sorter machine controls with your ERP system. Ensure that multiple scan points and tracking data transactions are fast and accurate.
- Prioritize scalability and modularity: Design the sort center with growth and flexibility in mind, allowing for increased package volume and changing consumer demands. Providing for adaptability and future market changes minimizes additional capital spend.
- Ergonomic Considerations: Create a workspace that prioritizes the well-being and safety of employees by incorporating ergonomic design principles for workstations and equipment. Retain productive employees and create a positive work environment.
- Embrace Data Analytics: Monitor and optimize sort center performance, identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions. Develop objective criteria to make decisions on process and technology improvements.
- Pay Attention to Industry Trends: Emerging technologies will evolve and become more adaptable to the logistics and supply chain industry, providing organizations with a significant competitive advantage like enhanced operational efficiencies, improved customer experiences, and increased ROI.
S&H Systems’ expertise includes developing solutions for some of today’s largest retailers. Give us a call and turn our experience into your competitive advantage.