We recently realized that we hit a new major milestone in operational efficiency while conducting internal testing at our Venray Solutions Center in the Netherlands – a record pace of 4 minutes click-to-ship. This means that in the time is takes to listen to Rock the Bells by LL Cool J the item you purchased on-line has been processed, picked, packed, labeled and is on the dock, ready to ship. You can’t even boil an egg in the time it takes us to get your item out the door. We are immensely proud of this as it shatters the standard ten minute click-to-ship that the majority of our industry strives to achieve.
While the click-to-ship time takes minutes, getting to this point took months of planning and work. First, we realized that while our click-to-ship times were on par with our competition, there were still wasted touches and time consuming steps that could be cut out of the process to make it more efficient. Once we studied our fulfillment operations it became apparent that no matter what our system looked like in the end, the boxes need to keep moving along the belts if we were going to achieve measurable time savings.
As part of engineering a system that is always moving, we first looked at where the boxes begin their journey. We worked with our in-house packaging design team to streamline the box assembly process to allow for the minimum amount of touches possible, thus cutting down on assembly time.
Once the boxes were assembled we looked at methods to preemptively prevent any missteps or incorrect picks. For this, we turned to pick-to-light and put-to-light solutions that easily identify for our pickers which product, from where and how many units go into each box as it passes their station. For example, if you order three units of two separate products in the same order – one of Product A and two of Product B – as your box travels down the line a display by Product A will show one and a display by Product B will show two, signaling to the picker exactly what and how many to select.. All this is achieved without the box ever having to stop moving. The next step is for the box to be automatically sealed and it only stops moving once it reaches its assigned shipping dock.
While this sounds like a relatively simple procedure, imagine designing a facility that handles tens of thousands of these orders a day – and only then can you fully realize the complexity of what we are doing here at ModusLink, as well as the time and cost savings that can be achieved by getting click-to-ship down from ten to four minutes.
For more information on how ModusLink’s Solutions Facilities can help streamline your e-commerce operations and help you take advantage of quicker click-to-ship times, feel free to contact us directly.
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