You will only be able to make the most out of the pick module, if you understand that what it is and what are its common solutions, perks and limitations. Pick modules are the hybrid storage systems, encapsulating elements of mezzanine, pallet racking and conveyor. The perfect solution can make your warehouse extremely space-efficient. There are 6 factors mentioned below that will help in knowing that how a pick module should be laid out.
The nitty-gritty of the operational factors related to pick modules:
Picking Volume as a prime factor:
Picking volume usually is the obvious indicator in selecting the right type of pick module. You may get better speed with the increase in the number of pickers, but on the downside, the tight spaces may create bottlenecks and tight spaces, affecting the workflow. If this is the required scenario then the best solution is to have the workstations and aisles large enough for accommodating the staff.
The prime limitation is probably the distant space in between the picking spots. Zone picking is one optimal solution, which can considerably reduce the walking distance and the pick module could be employed in order to assist any desirable strategy.
It should also be noted that strategy change or enhancement will eventually make the system far more complex and costly. Therefore, for lower order volume, you shouldn’t be much bothered about walking distances and crowding. The only concern would be to enhance the storage volume.
The Conveying factor:
You may transport the picked order either by cart, pallet jack or by foot. Walking distance again could be an issue here. However, you may use power/ gravity conveyor to reduce walking distance. If you bring the conveyor into use for a pick module, then the layout could possibly change along with fresh compliance requirements being applicable. If your order justifies it in terms of the volume, then the mechanized pick module supported with the conveyor would definitely enhance the efficiency.
The Replenishment factor:
Replenishment is a major scenario, where a particular product is restocked into the pick module. In order to keep up with the fulfillment speed, replenishment should be aligned with picking. Thorough consideration should be given in case of forklifts access and also for ensuring safety of pickers in close approximation, with the goal of limiting manual restacking.
It is noted that sometimes, the pallet flow could be employed for bringing product much closer to the desirable picking stations, while disregarding a few avoidable steps in the process of replenishment.
The all-important Design Factors:
The building code requirements are pivotal for setting up the majority of the dimensions into a pick module. It is highly imperative for a project manager to be well aware about applicable requirements and the best practices, as different codes may be used by different communities. The following are the three concerns related to design that may vary from one community to the other:
Means of Egress:
You definitely want a convenient design of the building, which could allow safe exit for the people in emergency situations. The building code is bound to specify the “means of egress” in terms of safety. The structure type, structure size and product type would determine the staircase requirements and also the maximum permissible distance from pick module to any other point. One staircase is enough for smaller pick modules with 75 feet of permissible travel distance. For complicated structures, the requirements would enhance accordingly.
A pick module ideally should be good enough to satisfy the minimum head clearance requirements. The standard height is 84 inches but this may vary, depending on the situation and the building code. There may be flexibility for some widespread objects to go below the minimum requirements in terms of height. On the flipside, it is highly desirable to allow supplementary headspace for accommodating fire suppression and lighting etc. Furthermore, such a setting enhances productivity due to the extra available space for pickers.
Determining the type of Staircase and choosing the suitable solution:
Staircases are related to egress, and their requirements demand a careful thinking process. The details are hard to summarize here. An expert will know that using a particular staircase type actually depends on the size and usage of the building and fixtures inside. The building codes points out the key associated attributes, such as step dimensions, width, rail height and landing needs etc.
The pick modules are flexible enough to accommodate excessive volume storage requirements along with the order fulfillment of semi-automated nature. Merging parts from multiple material handling systems makes them quite costly and complex. So get your pick module done right, the first time, as any later configurational changes can be very hard to accommodate. For such projects, you must always hire the services of experienced project manager and designer.