Package Handling
DCS’s design and engineering team has more than 40 years of experience creating unique parcel handling systems for diverse customer applications. With installations including semi-automated handling in small city distribution centers and fully automated, integrated hubs with advanced conveyor and sorter equipment, DCS routinely thinks outside the box.
E-Commerce and Multi-Channel Fulfillment
DCS designs and implements end-to-end warehouse automation solutions for e-commerce and multi-channel retailers that address numerous workflow challenges. This includes solutions for receiving, putaway, storage, replenishment, order fulfillment, picking, packing, sortation, and outbound shipping. Our custom integrated warehouse, distribution, and fulfillment systems draw from a deep pool of conventional, semi-automated, and automated material handling technologies.
Various Distribution Applications
Whether an operation is considering the construction of a new distribution or fulfillment center, or a retrofit or expansion of an existing facility, it’s important to create a solution that fits the overarching supply chain strategy. DCS has four decades of experience designing and integrating comprehensive, end-to-end material handling solutions that meet a multitude of operational goals. Whether conventional, semi-automated, or fully automated, DCS can help your organization implement a custom solution that meets its goals while maximizing return on investment (ROI).
Supply Chain Consulting
The DCS Supply Chain Consulting team offers a range of services to help your operations address the challenges it faces. Working in partnership with you, DCS consultants analyze your business data- existing workforce, workflow processes, inventory, order data, operations, and more- to determine a strategy that addresses your unique needs. Whether you need an operations assessment, process improvement recommendations, or distribution design services, DCS consultants will help guide you to the material handling system or operational solution that best meets your current and future needs, as well as your budget.
Customer Support
Keeping your warehouse operations and material handling systems running smoothly and at the peak of productivity are the goals of DCS’ Customer Service Team. By partnering with DCS, your warehouse automation solution is supported from commissioning to end of life. You’ll receive comprehensive in-house training of your personnel, including specialized training of your designated internal system expert. Plus, DCS offers a complete package of spare parts and expert system troubleshooting support from qualified engineers dedicated to your installation.
System Design & Integration
DCS offers a broad range of material handling equipment and automated system design, installation, and integration services for a multitude of projects. These include retrofits, expansions, upgrades, and more. While every project is unique, our system design and execution processes are the same, encompassing meticulous attention to detail, frequent communication, and a dedicated partnership with our clients.
About Us
Designed Conveyor Systems (DCS) has 40 years of experience serving major clients in multiple industries by providing material handling, full-scale warehouse operations, and conveyor design solutions that are custom crafted for their needs. DCS does not sell ready-made conveyor systems but builds relationships that empower collaboration to craft custom warehouse designs together. DCS utilizes consulting, engineering design, project management, installation services, and client support to ensure our customers can keep their promises to deliver on time.
Projects
With more than 40 years of experience providing automated system design, installation, and integration services, DCS has created solutions for companies throughout the United States in a broad range of industries and markets. We’ve completed more than 1500 projects ranging from greenfield facilities with completely new systems to expansions and retrofits of existing operations.

Three Automated Technologies That Increase Throughput

Increase Throughput with Warehouse Automation

Looking to increase your fulfillment operation’s throughput – that is, the flow rate of e-commerce orders picked, packed and shipped per hour? That’s a terrific goal that can often be achieved with an investment in one (or more) automated technologies, as opposed to hiring more associates.

While an increase in headcount can deliver a boost in throughput, it also can lead to more congestion within specific areas of a facility, as well as a decrease in order accuracy, as human beings are known to make mistakes. Therefore, adding an automated solution will not only increase throughput but also improve accuracy without adding more employees.

There are many automated technology solutions available in the market. Here, we’ll explore three different systems – in order of the scope of financial investment – that we’ve seen markedly improve e-commerce order fulfillment throughput rates.

1. Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs). While automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) have been used in distribution and manufacturing processes for decades, their smaller counterparts, AMRs, have increasingly made inroads into warehousing and order fulfillment operations. Manufactured and marketed by a long list of suppliers, AMRs are offered by 6 River Systems, Waypoint Robotics, Clearpath Robotics, Locus Robotics, Fetch Robotics, and more. These self-navigating robots are smaller and lighter than AGVs, and handle smaller, lighter payloads as well.

Compact and equipped with safety sensors that detect the presence of humans, with whom they often work collaboratively (earning them the name cobots), AMRs are typically deployed to reduce or eliminate worker travel time. It’s been estimated that picking associates spend up to 70% of their time walking through a facility from location to location. With a fleet of AMRs, pickers can instead be stationed within certain inventory zones. When items are needed to fill orders, tote-carrying AMRs travel to each picker, who places the picks into the tote. By eliminating walking between picks, associates can focus solely on order fulfillment, thereby increasing their throughput. Additionally, AMRs don’t require any physical changes to the facility (unlike a conveyor installation, for example). The robots learn and re-learn their travel paths automatically and safely navigate around obstacles. A fleet can be expanded as needed, with more robots integrated during peak periods. These functions also contribute to a faster return on investment.

2. Shuttle-Fed Put Walls. For the ultimate boost in put wall sortation throughput, these high-speed, automated sorting systems handle a wide variety of items in different sizes and weights at rates in excess of 2,000 items per hour. After large batches of items are picked, they are inducted into the system. The controls equipment scans and identifies the pick and the shuttle deposits it into the correct put wall location – or directly into the shipping carton – for packing to an outbound order. Not only do these systems enable much larger batches of items to be picked and sorted (400 orders at a time instead of the typical 20 to 30 orders at a time), they are compact, replacing as many as twelve traditional put walls for an increase in floorspace utilization as well as throughput.

3. Smart Glasses. Offered by a variety of manufacturers – including Vuzix, Picavi, Google Glass, Smartpick, and others – these wearable devices replace handheld scanners, paper pick lists, and light-directed picking modules to indicate the location of an item to be picked. When integrated with a picking process or a series of put walls for manual sortation of batch picked items, the glasses’ integrated scanning device identifies locations or an object when the wearer looks at it. Then, as the associate looks at the series of cubby openings in the put wall (each representing a unique order), a virtual indicator displayed by the glasses within their field of view shows where to place the item. This augmented reality/virtual direction approach speeds up the picking process by eliminating manual scanning and manual sorting to put walls for a boost in fulfillment throughput. Simultaneously, it is significantly less expensive than outfitting every pick location or opening on a put wall with a light-directed module. With large stock keeping unit (SKU) count pick processes incorporating tens of thousands of pick locations, utilizing smart glasses instead of light modules delivers a much faster return on investment. Additionally, the latest smart glasses are industrial grade, rugged, and designed for durability in warehousing and fulfillment installations, with longer-lasting batteries, faster charging, and lightweight form factors that makes wearing for extended periods comfortable. Likewise, as these systems have evolved, their pricing has come down, further contributing to the technology’s affordability.

By the way, lead times for all three of these solutions are averaging approximately six months, meaning that an e-commerce order fulfillment operation can significantly boost its throughput in a relatively short period of time. Want to learn more about how DCS can create a higher throughput solution for your operation? Connect with us.

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Author

John Knudsen, Lead Solutions Manager,johnk@designedconveyor.com

A 25-year veteran of the material handling industry in his second year with DCS, John has worn many hats u2013 business modeling, process and system concepting, system design, project management and implementation, and operational improvement u2013 and has settled in over the past year as the Lead Solutions Manager. Outside of the office, John loves to fish and hunt, and is into traveling and spending time with his family.