Visitors to the forthcoming Warehouse Technology Group (WTG) open day, which takes place on May 21st at the WTG’s Logistics Research and Innovation Centre (LRIC) in Manchester, will see a live demonstration of a new, simple to implement and highly cost effective method of case layer picking that is expected to change the way companies operating in the grocery retail sector design their supply chains.
In simple terms, layer picking makes it possible to pick single or multiple layers of products and allows the user to build up mixed pallets quickly, safely and efficiently with minimal manual labour.
As a concept, layer picking is a well established FMCG marketing strategy – particularly in the United States – but, historically, complex and expensive equipment has been required to make it possible.
But, with the introduction of the FlexiPiCK, the UK-based pioneer of articulating warehouse truck systems, Flexi Narrow Aisle, believes it has brought the clear advantages that layer picking offers within reach of all supply chains without the need for palletising robots, AGV’s, wire guidance, conveyors or other costly or restrictive forms of automation.
When using the FlexiPiCK full pallet loads of the most popular product in the distribution centre are arranged in an aisle format at ground level and with assembly stations positioned at the end of each aisle.
The FlexiPiCK’s integrated hydraulic arms and pads carefully lift single or multiple layers of product and deliver each individual layer picked to an assembly station where a load is made up of full layers. Additional pallets can be used to secure each layer for easier separation of products at the RDC or retail store.
Encouraging customers to order products in layer quantities slickens the sales and ordering process, and increases the speed of product throughput through the warehouse or RDC because the user builds up mixed pallets in the quickest, safest and most man-power efficient way.
Flexi Narrow Aisle’s sales and marketing director, John Maguire, believes the layer quantity picking concept is set to have a dramatic impact on grocery retail supply chains.
"By applying FlexiPiCK layer quantity concept to pick the 20 per cent of top selling volume lines, the savings on warehouse manpower can be mind-blowing," he says. "This product really is a game changer as visitors to the WTG event will see for themselves."
The WTG’s Logistics Research and Innovation Centre is a 12,000 square feet unit fitted out with many of the latest warehousing innovations and, in addition to the FlexiPiCK system, the open day will provide the chance to see and assess a broad range of warehousing and supply chain-related products and services in a ‘real world environment.’
In addition, Simon Dixon, managing director of the respected Hatmill Logistics Supply Chain Advisors organisation, will deliver a keynote address that focuses on the real cost saving opportunities companies can identify and implement when developing a new or reconfigured warehouse or regional distribution centre facility.
WTG is a collaboration of around 20 market leading companies involved in the manufacture and supply of specialist equipment to the warehousing and logistics industry and was established to provide an insight into the latest technology available to companies operating warehouses and distribution centres, as well a unique system testing and operator familiarisation facility.
Other WTG partners include: ASG Services, Chess, Knapp, Union Industries and Interroll.
The May 21st 2014 flagship event is open for all companies active in the supply chain sector to attend and commences at 09.30 with a buffet networking lunch served at 1.00pm.