Improve processes in the warehouse by utilising automation opportunities

The e-commerce industry has continued to grow at unprecedented rates. This has left retailers having to find ways to improve processes to keep up with the current pace as well as implement measures to cope with tomorrow’s demands.

It is important, when evaluating processes, to consider if your warehouse facility is making the most of the technology available. Retailers need to not only speed up and improve processes but also ensure they remain accurate. It is perhaps wise to check every 6 to 12 months if you are making the most of the automation opportunities available and see where improvements can be made.


Automating the handling of boxes, cartons and hanging goods

AMH Material Handling can significantly improve processes by automating the handling of cartons and hanging goods from picking and packing through to despatch. The company is experienced in designing, building and installing conveyor systems for all types of warehouses and facilities. Whether it’s the packing area, across multiple floors of mezzanines or a head height solution to save floor space – AMH can find a way to improve processes.

Conveying boxes saves significant time as personnel are not manually transporting them to each processing station. Furthermore, it makes it easier to move heavier cartons without slowing down processing speeds.

The majority of facilities, especially e-commerce companies, face a struggle trying to cope with increased orders during peak times such as Black Friday, Christmas or sale periods. As these peaks are only limited to certain times of the year, it can be difficult to obtain extra staff for short periods of time to cope with processing demands. AMH can design automated systems which are able to manage daily order levels as well as increased throughput levels during these busy periods. Furthermore, automated conveyor systems are able to run for long periods of time – even 24 hours a day in order to ensure companies meet delivery demands.


Simplifying waste removal and recycling

As well as installing solutions to automate the handling of orders for despatch, AMH Material Handling has seen a demand in the need for automated waste removal and recycling within warehouses.

Items usually arrive on-site in cartons for processing before they are stored ready for order picking. Of course, when warehouses are handling large quantities of stock, they produce a considerable amount of waste cardboard boxes and packaging which need to be removed to prevent any health and safety hazards. AMH has seen an increase in the number of facilities that require dunnage systems to remove waste cardboard from sites and transport it to a compactor or baler for recycling.

Naturally, not a lot of facilities have vast amounts of spare space for such systems alongside their main conveyor, therefore, AMH produces bespoke solutions for customers. At an Asda site, AMH installed a tailor-made head height waste removal solution; this included a specially designed slide system in fibreglass to guarantee cardboard boxes remained flat on the conveyor. This solution saved valuable floor space.


Box packaging – automation for speed

AMH Material Handling has worked with many e-commerce companies who find both box-sizing and producing boxes can cause a bottleneck in the packaging and despatch process. As retailers store and despatch products of various sizes and weights, they are under pressure to produce suitable packaging to meet the required size and levels of protection. The problem with this is that AMH has seen retailers resort to multiple box sizes. Whilst this is great for reducing waste and ensuring the packaging is of a suitable size, it can cause issues as retailers find themselves catering for an unmanageable number of box sizes.

When AMH Material Handling worked with Wilko, they interrogated processes so they could completely understand what was happening at the site. After collecting e-commerce data and analysing the packaging process, AMH was able to implement a solution which reduced the number of boxes down from seven to four to simplify the e-commerce operation.


Automatic box identification and tracking

Carton erecting machines are able to automatically place unique licence plate number labels onto erected boxes so that they can be tracked and routed throughout warehouse systems. AMH Material Handling is able to link the licence plate number system to the Warehouse Management System (WMS). This assists personnel with putting orders together as they are able to marry up order items with the correct box. Additionally, personnel are able to track boxes within the system which prevents any loss or theft. Should a box going missing, the WMS would have recorded its last movements before it disappeared, allowing personnel to investigate. This reduces errors and loss of stock.


Quick and easy documentation insertion

As well as automatic carton production, once the boxes are filled with the order, AMH Material Handling can integrate automated leaflet insertion into the boxes for sales invoices or literature. The system reads the barcoding on the box and then marries it up to the correct paperwork. The barcoding system ensures that there are high levels of accuracy and avoids costly human errors. Documentation can either be placed into the carton by passing through a frame with a pneumatic arm which drops the paper into the box or married up and merged with goods on a conveyor system for bagging.


Speeding up carton lidding

To further accelerate throughput and save time, AMH Material Handling can add automated lidding machines to the conveyor system. Working in three stages, the lidding machines fold the box to a suitable height to match the contents, adds a lid to the box and then seals the box for safe despatch. This saves a great amount of time in the packaging process.


Fast and accurate box sortation

A key area within the warehouse is sorting items for despatch. This is crucial – especially for e-commerce operations which may use more than one courier or need to sort by home and store delivery. AMH Material Handling is extremely experienced in producing despatch sortation solutions with multiple despatch lanes.

AMH can implement a system which identifies individual boxes and automatically sorts them by destination. Programmed by location and courier type, the system will divert parcels to the correct chute for easy onwards loading for despatch.

There are many advantages of automating the sortation process but a key benefit is that it reduces the possibility of human errors. The system scans and diverts boxes much quicker than if it was to be done manually. This allows companies to increase order throughput to meet ever shorter delivery deadlines.


Partner with AMH Material Handling to improve processes within your warehouse

One of AMH Material Handling’s strengths is its ability to visit sites and interrogate performance to produce innovative solutions to improve processes. Whether it is looking at improving or expanding your current operation or a complete system for a new facility, AMH will get to grips with the core of your business to ensure a solution to meet your needs.

As well as design and installation solutions, AMH Material Handling also offers a full range of maintenance and servicing solutions. This allows them to offer continuous care, at a level to suit your needs, to ensure your system performs its best throughout its lifespan.

Contact AMH Material Handling on 0121 550 4342 or email to discuss how they can assist you to improve processes within your warehouse facility.