The Rest of the Story - Sure Sort

Last time around, we heard the Rest of the Story about additional Perfect Pick® applications. This time we’re going to start with applications for Sure Sort™ before wrapping up with ideas that use both systems together. Again, our technology application experts from OPEX® are Jeff Hedges, John Sauer and Alex Stevens.

To start, let’s be clear about the functional differences between the two systems. Sure Sort is an order sortation system. An automated put wall - the final step before packaging.

Meanwhile, Perfect Pick is a goods-to-person solution. It removes all the unprofitable travel and labor time from retrieving items or orders.

That said, explains Hedges, both systems could be used to handle subscription orders such as cosmetics or the teddy bear of the month club.  Which one you use may depend on your item size. However, it could also be that Sure Sort functions as an order buffer while Perfect Pick is used to consolidate items for each order.

Sauer says Sure Sort could easily be used by publishers to sort unsold magazines returned from stores. The faster they can be sorted and credits determined, the better. Carrying that idea a step further, it can easily be applied to other returns - from apparel to cosmetics in e-commerce operations and elsewhere.

Then there’s the matter of cross-docking. The idea here, points out Stevens, is to move products from one dock to the other for shipment as quickly as possible. Consider a retailer that brings in products to the cross-dock for store distribution. Stevens says Sure Sort can be used to sort that inventory by store on the dock, expediting what can easily be a cumbersome process - especially at the case or piece level.

Sure Sort can also be used in secondary operations, says Hedges. He tells the story of a company that receives, daily, a large shipment of small parcels. It used to take four or five people hours to sort the parcels into Gaylords manually. Now Sure Sort does the job with one operator in just 30 minutes.

As it turns out, Sure Sort can be teamed up with Perfect Pick, too. Subscription services is an ideal spot. A monthly order consists of multiple items. But there are thousands of these multiple order items. Let’s say that Perfect Pick picks 50 of one item and sends them over to Sure Sort. Sure Sort then sorts each item to a customer order. Over time, each order is completed and the package is readied for shipment.

The two technologies also work well together for returns. Sure Sort can eliminate the tedious and time consuming process of sorting out received mixed SKU’s down to a single bin (or SKU).  These sorted items then can be quickly delivered to Perfect Pick for inventory replenishment.
As Hedges, says, ultimately the only limitation to using Perfect Pick and Sure Sort is imagination. What has been covered in this and the previous blog only scratches the surface of the equipment’s potential in coming years.

And to borrow directly from Paul Harvey, “Now you know the rest of the story.”

Gary Forger is the former editor of Modern Materials Handling magazine and the Material Handling & Logistics U.S. Roadmap to 2030.

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