The Rest of the Story - Perfect Pick
By Gary ForgerMany years ago, there was a radio broadcaster by the name of Paul Harvey. For those of you who remember him, you can probably hear his voice and intonation in your head right now. It was unique, and I apologize if it replays for a few minutes like that song you’ve been trying to forget.
Harvey’s daily radio show was entitled “The Rest of the Story” – a title that speaks for itself. And this week, we’re going to cover the rest of the (application) story for Perfect Pick®. Next week we’ll get into Sure Sort™ and some interesting combinations of the two technologies working in an integrated system.
You see, we have typically focused on how these systems fit so well into e-commerce operations. But there’s much more that’s possible with them. So, we had a conversation the other day with some OPEX experts – Jeff Hedges, John Sauer and Alex Stevens – on the world of other possibilities with Perfect Pick and Sure Sort.
One of the first applications for Perfect Pick was store replenishment. It’s being done for brick-and-mortar locations selling everything from cosmetics to bath and kitchen supplies and even musical instruments. Hedges says you can add contact lenses for doctors’ offices to the list, too. What these and other store replenishment applications have in common is a lot of lines and even high quantity per line, explains Sauer. That’s in contrast to e-comm orders that have lower line count and lower quantities per line. Perfect Pick, Sauer, explains is just as effective with both scenarios; however, pick times tend to be longer because of the higher item count with store replenishment.
Then there’s the matter of non-store applications for Perfect Pick. One is a cooler environment for medical supplies. As Sauer explains, the person picking sits outside the 34-degree room and picks. Using Perfect Pick HD as a tote I/O system, throughput can be as high as 1200 totes an hour for two pickers.
That opens the door to grocery distribution for cooler environments. Once again, the operator is safe and warm picking outside, not chilled in the cold environment. This benefit for workers is a high priority these days. Also on the radar are third-party logistics providers. With double the storage capacity and shortened startup time, Perfect Pick HD would allow the 3PL to pick orders of multiple clients from a single system.
Another developing application is returns, especially in e-commerce and especially after the holidays. One scenario that Hedges describes is processing returns for what can be re-sold and then reintroducing inventory that “passes the test” into the backend of a Perfect Pick as the front end continues to fill orders. Stevens brings up manufacturing, including kitting. The idea here is point-of-use inventory replenishment for a manufacturing line. He explains that as parts in totes are consumed in a work cell, the tote is re-routed to the Perfect Pick for sortation of replacement parts into them.
And then there’s perhaps the least obvious use of all – libraries. Hedges says that the 80-lb capacity of the iBOT® opens that door. With a more condensed footprint than automated storage and retrieval systems, Perfect Pick saves space while fitting into the library setting quite effectively.
Next week we’ll tell the Rest of the Story for Sure Sort applications and even an application that includes a combination of Sure Sort and Perfect Pick. Stay tuned.
Gary Forger is the former editor of Modern Materials Handling magazine and the Material Handling & Logistics U.S. Roadmap to 2030.