Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Conveyor technology: Are you thinking differently?

With new distribution requirements and more investment in automation underway, Modern set out to find how readers are now approaching the use of conveyors and sortation systems.
By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
April 01, 2013

And, just as they are using a variety of conveying technologies, they are handling a diverse set of unit load types and sizes. The percentage of respondents handling individual items, poly-bagged items and plastic totes may be a reflection of the growing volume of direct-to-consumer orders:

  • 55% are handling cases/boxes
  • 42% are handling individual items
  • 30% are handling plastic totes
  • 27% are handling pallets
  • 17% are handling poly-bagged items
  • 14% are handling mixed SKU pallets
  • 10% are handling beverage cartons

What’s more, 82% of respondents say their conveyor equipment is moving various load configurations. The changing nature of distribution and order fulfillment is reflected in the types of orders being shipped. Only 19% of respondents are shipping full pallets and only 2% are shipping full cartons. Meanwhile, nearly 24% are shipping mixed pallets, 16% are shipping mixed cartons, and 22% are shipping item level orders directly to customers.

Most facilities are operating conventional order fulfillment solutions:

  • 57% pick, pack and ship orders as they are received in the facility
  • 30% handle items more than once during the order fulfillment process, such as picking to a tote that is conveyed to a packing area
  • 23% are picking directly to a shipping container
  • 18% let orders accumulate before they ship

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.


Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

American Logistics Aid Network mobilizes logistics partners to deliver supplies to difficult-to-reach areas.

In a fundamentally changed world, your approach to strategy, and your supply chain, must also change. Andrew Winston, author of The Big Pivot, discusses how business can profit from this fundamental change.

Voice-enabled work is one element in a broad management strategy to improve order accuracy, increase productivity, and reduce labor costs in the supply chain. This complimentary white paper is designed to help you speak the ROI language, and provides a calculation formula to present the performance and financial payback from a variety of voice-enabled applications.

Conveyor manufacturers revise growth estimate up from 2% to 5%.

Experienced executive joins provider of automated storage and retrieval systems.



© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA