Increased sales can be a cause for elation in an eCommerce business, or they can be a rock smashing your fulfillment operations against the unrelenting hard place of insufficient labor to meet demand. In Part 1 of this series, we examined the role of right-sizing your packages in keeping shipping costs down and how automation can help you accurately calculate DIMs, efficiently shop for the best rates, and avoid costly adjustments and fees. Now we’ll take a look at the other features of a scanning, labeling, application, and manifesting (SLAM) line and how they work in concert to improve accuracy and throughput.
The Many Steps of Sending a Package Out the Door
Preparing a package to ship to a customer requires a sequence of steps that introduce many opportunities for bottlenecks or errors, especially if you’re relying on an overworked manual labor force. Once the products are packed into a carton or bag, that package must be weighed and measured (again, see Part 1 for the errors and problems that can arise here). Then it must be labeled for the correct recipient and shipping service, and routed to the right carrier to head out on its way.
It’s easy to see where mistakes can creep into repetitive tasks when workers are pressed for time trying to keep up with surges in demand. Wrong label on a package. Box deposited in the wrong bin for shipping. Worse, injuries can result from repetitive motion or from accidents when there’s a rush to get too much done. Automating this process not only drastically reduces these kinds of issues, but also frees up your employees for higher-skilled tasks. Here’s how.
Labeling and Sortation
A package’s SLAM line journey starts with packaging and dimension and weight capture. But that’s just the beginning of how automating the last 100 feet can optimize your fulfillment operations.
- Print and Apply Labeling: This station assures that the right package is addressed to the right person per the label. It can label bags or cartons, assuring that the line stays moving even when dealing with a variety of package types and sizes. Custom labels are also available, so your packages can fit in seamlessly with your overall marketing strategy.
- Sortation Scanner: At this station, the package is identified and diverted to the appropriate carrier and class of service with the assistance of our Tension Director software.
- Z-Sorter for Shipping Sortation: Here packages are routed to the appropriate carrier, using our proprietary waterfall design that works with gravity to create a smooth sorting operation. The sorting machine is modular, so additional sortation units can be added or removed to meet your operation’s needs, depending on volume, carrier selection, shipping regions, and more.
The result from start to finish is an increase in efficiency that allows you to process hundreds of orders per hour, with an improvement in accuracy that reduces costs as packages flow through the system. Best of all, Tension Automation’s SLAM lines are fully customizable, allowing you to adopt a solution that is configured exactly to the unique requirements of your distribution center.
Your Expert eCommerce Automation Resource
If you’re ready to talk about how automation could help your business but have been paralyzed because you don’t know where to start or what improvements will have the greatest impact, Tension Packaging & Automation can help. We can assist in examining your current processes and capabilities, determining your goals for automation, and figuring out the right equipment to implement an effective strategy.
In addition to designing, building, and installing warehouse automation solutions for eCommerce fulfillment, Tension is also your partner in training, service, and ongoing support. As your needs change, we’re here to ensure that your packaging equipment and automation solutions are optimized to grow with your business and that your investment pays off for years to come. To learn more about the benefits of a SLAM line in your business, contact us today.