The Biggest E-Commerce Distribution Challenges: 

  1. Finding and keeping qualified/skilled/dependable workers
  2. Increasing workforce productivity
  3. Controlling labor costs
  4. Covering costs due to forklift accidents
  5. Extra costs due to picking errors or missed shipment schedules
  6. Expanding products due to limited storage

How It Could Be With Automation:

  • Inventory is stored in a fully automated system
  • High density storage system requiring less than 100ft per model
  • Productivity increases by over 200% allowing for on time delivery
  • Reduction of labor costs
  • Inventory software manages inventory control and inventory software increases order accuracy to 99%

Opportunities for Waste Reduction and Process Improvements

We have the solutions for the 5 key contributors to the 7 potential wastes within a distribution center.

  • Floor space
  • Poor productivity
  • Less than 100% picking accuracy
  • Lax inventory control and security
  • Improper ergonomics


  1. Excessive Replenishment -              If reserve of Fast and Medium moving inventory is stored in static shelving, time could be wasted waiting for replenishment of picked materials

2. Excessive Pick Travel -                   Use a pedometer to estimate picker travel times.  Often workers are traveling for miles during a shift.  In a manual operation where works travel to their item they may spend as much as 65% of their shift walking

3. Wasted Search Time -                  Upon arrival at a picking destination, a worker must visually search the shelves, looking for the correct item and matching up part numbers, a process that can take several minutes or more

4. Pick Errors -                                   Picking involves more than grabbing an item off a shelf.  Operators follow a paper pick list, travel to a location, find the item, check the list to determine the number of items required, pick the item, confirm the pick by marking the paper, then deliver the items for packing.  Each step is an opportunity for human error

5. Damaged Items -                                  Goods stored on shelves, whether in or out of containers, are exposed to dirt and dust common to warehousing.  This shortens their shelf life and renders them unsuitable for sale.

6. Missing Inventory -                                 In open shelving spread across hundreds or thousands of Sq. Ft., items can simply get lost thus leading to inaccurate inventory and Min/Max quantities.

7. Wasted Storage Space -                        Traditional shelving not only requires a tremendous amount of floor space, it also does not make use of empty overhead space

8. Improper Ergonomics -                        Shelf based storage forces workers to bend or stretch to reach inventory, or even use ladders to access the highest items.  All of these activities increase the chances of injury and workman’s comp claims

Solution of Consider

Consider Automated Storage and Retrieval System that offer fast, easy accessibility to stored inventory, quickly presenting or automatically storing items at the point of operator access for picking and replenishment

Consider automated storage and retrieval technologies that deliver a required item directly to the operator via the “goods to person” concept, dramatically reducing pick travel time.

Consider a light-directed item locating system, such as a light pointer device) used with VLMs, to identify the precise location of the item to be picked or replenished and eliminate search time

Consider a combination of light-directed picking technologies and integrated message centers that communicate pick information to the operator.  These visual picking aids reduce processing errors and increase accuracy up to 99.9%

Consider a fully enclosed solution to keep items clean and protected from exposure to dirt, dust and other environmental contaminants. Not only does this extend their life, but also reduces the amount of inventory  that must be scrapped due to damage

Consider inventory management software to manage the items within the storage unit.  This allows managers to closely monitor stock levels in real time

Consider high density storage solutions that significantly reduce the amount of Sq. Ft. required to store inventory.  For example 120 bays of shelving can be condensed into one Vertical lift (85% space savings)

Consider storage solutions that deliver stored items to the “Golden Zone” between the workers shoulder and knees.  These solutions minimize unnecessary or excessive motions.

Solution Illustration

Vertical Lift             Vertical Carousel






E-Commerce Case Studies

Diversco Waters Sports Equipment and Supplies Savings:

1) Received 92% in floor space savings

2)Increased Order Fulfillment by 460%

3)Able to Expand Inventory

The Shopping Channel Savings:

1) Received 75% in Floor Space Savings

2)Reduced Labor by 54%

3)Increase Productivity by 600%

Saving Floor Space


Automated Material Handling

Don't let the cost of staying the same hurt you any longer. Talk to one of our Lean Engineers today!

Phone: 800-838-0473

2285 Executive Dr Suite 310
Lexington, Ky 40405

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