Published by: Ed Romaine

Taming Hyper A Order Picking for Efficiency

Taming Hyper A Order Pickers - Think Fast

A Picker
Taming Hyper A Order Pickers

Taming hyper A order picking has always presented a challenge. Back in the day we only had to worry about pallets, cases and eaches. We reconciled and consolidated inventory quarterly and life was simple (didn’t feel like it at the time, but looking back it must have been).

For the taming of hyper A pickers,  we first need to focus on the characteristics of each type of inventory class. Let’s look at “eaches” or split case picking. We first break our inventory into “classes” or strata. Often A movers are our fastest moving class followed by our B’s and C’s and D’s. I affectionately like the term “cats and dogs” for the C & D movers… but I’ve heard far more creative terms for them.

When we look at the A movers, we are looking for the natural statistical class which often comes close to Pareto’s 80/20 rule (20% of your inventory will make up 80% of your orders). This vacillates with every organization and operation, but it’s very often proportionate.

Today we want to look at the top strata of the A movers. By focussing on the fastest of the fast, can we find commonality and problems that if “bundled” we can eliminate and turn into a strength. We might be talking 2% or 5% of your SKUs, but because of the resources it consumes, it’s often a huge problem.

What type of commonality?

Velocity – I’m talking fast movers. What constitutes fast varies from business to business, but when you are talking about a few thousand picks of an item in a day and consuming one third to two-thirds of your picking labor, we are talking about the hot A movers.

  1. Size & Weight - Items that are smaller than 8″ x 8″ x 3″ and weighing under a pound can provide issues when being picked by manual or automated systems. They are often too small to be big and too big to be small depending on what form of material handling system you are using.

  2. Number of SKUs – This is relative. As few as nine SKUs, or as many as 250 SKUs, can consume a disproportionate amount of your facility’s resources.

There are today a number of material handling solutions, but few that offer the portability, flexibility, scale and cost that make it easily integrated into virtually all facilities.

The A-Frame and mobile A-Frame are exactly the type of systems which solve these problems. They tame the “hyper A’s” and turn them into boring “completed orders” with a fraction of the resources other technologies require. The A-Frame family uses ZERO picking labor. Items are dispensed or placed automatically into totes, cartons or belt positions at a rate of up to 4,200 items per hour. The only labor required is replenishing the unit.

Likewise, each pick required for associate orders is verified to assure accurate dispensing. For the rare anomaly, problems are logged, and the order is flagged and routed for manual intervention. This incredibly accurate system often eliminates the need for order checkers, thus reducing labor and time requirements even further.

Depending on the size and scale of your operation, an A-Frame system can reduce order picking and order checking labor costs by 85% or more.

The scale of a system can range from 16 SKUs in a mobile unit to hundreds or thousands in a full system. The mobile system comes pre-assembled and literally is delivered plug and play ready.

If your Hyper A SKU profile is light, small and moves thousands of items per day in consumer, store or kitting applications, you will not find a more efficient or cost effective solution. Still not sure about taming hyper A pickers, if the profile fits or simply looking for other answers? Our fast survey will tell in a matter of minutes.

For more information on the survey or our A-Frame, click here.