Conveyor technology: Are you thinking differently?
April 01, 2013 - MMH Editorial
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