Established in 1962, Audio-Technica is devoted to the design and manufacture of audio equipment. Initially known for state-of-the-art phonograph cartridges, the company now creates high-performance microphones, headphones, wireless systems, turntables and a broad range of other premium quality electronic products for home and professional use worldwide.
The company markets its comprehensive range through a network of specialist authorised resellers, while its webstore allows consumers to order online for direct dispatch.
With the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns driving a notable spike in public demand for all forms of home entertainment equipment, Audio-Technica experienced a sustained upsurge in orders – particularly through its online channel – throughout 2020.
The growth in the number of B-2-C orders received and processed at the company’s Leeds-based distribution facility, prompted to Audio-Technica to reconsider the type of materials handling equipment it deployed within the Yorkshire store.
The Leeds warehouse offers some 2000 pallet spaces, plus several thousand more SKU locations, within a very narrow aisle (VNA) racking system. Customer order picking is undertaken by warehouse personnel at every racking level except the top beam, which is used to hold bulk stock of full pallet loads of replenishment stock, that are put away and picked by Flexi articulated trucks manufactured and supplied by Narrow Aisle Ltd.
At pre-pandemic throughput rates picking staff had used traditional ladder-type access platforms to reach elevated pick faces within the racking aisles. But as Audio-Technica’s online business grew, this method proved inefficient and it became obvious that a more sophisticated approach was required to support the clear limitations of the manually manoeuvred mobile platforms.
After an in-depth review of the technology available on the market, Audio-Technica introduced the Flexi Easi-Pick – a mid-level vertical order picker that is the latest addition to the range of intralogistics solutions offered by Narrow Aisle Ltd.
Designed specifically with e-fulfillment operations in mind, the Easi-Pick is a compact ride-on electric-powered vertical order picker that delivers hugely improved productivity and increased safety for warehouse staff as they undertake a range of picking duties at height within warehouse aisles.
Featuring a heavy-duty and exceptionally stable mast in combination with a spacious and ergonomically-designed working platform, the Easi-Pick allows picking tasks to be carried out at heights of up to 6.5 metres, while its compact chassis design allows the unit to turn in racking aisles measuring just 1.6 metres wide.
To maximise productivity, the Easi-Pick trowel can be controlled by the operator in the raised position, thereby saving valuable minutes when travelling between picking locations throughout the warehouse.
A high efficiency AC digital drive system can be programmed via the Easi-Pick’s on-board LCD dash to ensure travel and lift/lower speed restrictions are not exceeded, while power comes from a traction battery that supports charging from a standard single phase 230V outlet.
John Maguire, managing director of Narrow Aisle Ltd, commented: “Audio-Technica has operated Flexi articulated forklift truck-based intralogistics solutions at its Leeds hub for several years and as Narrow Aisle is an established supplier of truck-based customer order picking solutions to the company, Audio-Technica didn’t hesitate to approach us when they needed to improve order picking efficiency in their VNA aisleways.
“With its compact dimensions allowing it to work safely within stores where very narrow aisle materials handling equipment is operating, the Easi-Pick is the ideal product for dedicated e-fulfilment operations or those sites where a mix of e-commerce order picking and trade account order replenishment picks are being made – as Audio Technica has discovered.”