In today’s competitive manufacturing world, the pressure to meet market demands is greater than ever. Failure to deliver accurate orders quickly could cause your clients to run directly into the arms of your competitors, who are eager to capitalize on your shortcomings.
Fortunately, there are some straightforward ways to step up your operational efficiency. One of the most effective solutions is to automate your warehouse kitting process. In addition to helping you maximize warehouse space and resources, an automated kitting system promotes faster product completion and delivery. The end result is increased client satisfaction and a healthier bottom line. Below is a look at the top reasons why you should automate your kitting process.
What are some challenges of manual kitting?
Before diving into the benefits of automated kitting systems, it is helpful to understand the weaknesses of manual warehouse kitting. Companies that still depend on manual kitting point often continue their manual approach because they do not have to invest in a new system or spend time training employees to learn new kitting processes. However, traditional manual kitting presents a variety of challenges, including the following:
Manual kitting is time-consuming: Manually storing, picking, and packing can take days or weeks. Weekend work is often required.
Errors are more likely to occur: Inventory control is difficult and errors can result, even with multiple and frequent component counts.
Processing large orders quickly is difficult: Manually picking, packing and organizing requires a lot of resources – especially for large orders.
Together, these limitations can hinder your organization’s growth and ability to handle large requests. And unless you take measures to address these inefficiencies, your repeat business and customer satisfaction could both suffer.
How does automation help solve these challenges?
Automating the warehouse kitting process can take your business to the next level of success by eliminating the challenges above. By partnering with an experienced kitting and assembly specialist, you can control your inventory with greater ease, expedite orders, and reduce errors. Here is a look at some of the top benefits of automated warehouse kitting:
1) Respond quickly in real-time to market demands
With just a quick call to a dedicated Account Executive or CSR, you can be on your way to prompt order fulfillment. Rather than waiting days or weeks for workers to check inventory and then manually locate and pack order components, an automated process eliminates search time and promotes fast order preparation. With real-time automation, you are better positioned to handle larger, more profitable requests.
2) Save on warehouse space and racks
“Freeing up space is one of the key benefits of kitting services for Lean Manufacturing environments. By moving component inventory, kitting services allow manufacturers to devote more floor space to production. Costly manufacturing space to store parts, packaging, and trash is antithetical to Lean Manufacturing principles.” – Travis Smith, Manufacturing Tomorrow
Kitting automation enables you to operate with a smaller storage space footprint. Fewer racks, labels, and lifts are needed. For businesses that currently occupy hundreds of thousands of square feet, the potential cost savings on space alone can be significant.
3) Reduce labor costs
Manual kitting is costly. In addition to requiring more employees, you need more work stations, computers, and lift equipment. Training time is also expensive and you may find yourself investing in part-time workers to help get large requests out the door.
Using pre-assembled kits helps businesses save on labor costs by making sure all required components are ready at the point of use. Employee drive and search time is greatly reduced, enabling employees to remain focused on the task at hand.
4) Increased order accuracy
Automated kitting systems are often a welcome change to employees who spend the majority of their day searching for components, packing them, and creating a bill of materials. Automation platforms such as VeraCore are designed to minimize these tasks and help companies improve order fulfillment. At the same time, order accuracy improves because there is less possibility for human error. As shown below, the process is as easy as 1-2-3:
Step One: You receive an order for item 1234, for which a bill of materials has already been established.
Step Two: The kitting team refers to the existing bill of materials for item 1234. They immediately see that item 1234 includes items 15, 20, and 30.
Step Three: The three components are placed in the outbound order which features a final shipping manifest of item 1234.
Throughout this process, users can easily track real-time inventory and monitor order preparation. The process is more streamlined and organized, reducing the number of forgotten or inaccurate components.
5) Faster component restocking
The real-time aspects of automation enable inventory control managers and procurement specialists to respond immediately when inventory begins to run low. With a proactive approach to replenishing stock, your company can avoid backorders and shipment delays.
6) A safer work environment
With less time spent driving, searching, lifting, and operating forklifts, your employees are less likely to sustain slips, falls, back pain, and other injuries commonly experienced by highly mobile warehouse staff. Moreover, a reduction in foot traffic in aisles helps prevent employee congestion and collisions.
What is the best way to introduce automation to your warehouse kitting process?
The benefits of automating your warehouse kitting procedures are undeniable. But introducing automation to your warehouse operations is not always easy. You need to secure the buy-in of your leadership team by describing exactly how the short-term and long-term benefits outlined above will impact each department in your organization. Then, you can begin incorporating an automated kitting process into your supply chain operations.
The single best way to introduce automation to your kitting process is to contact one of our order fulfillment and kitting experts. With over three decades of kitting success, Symbia Logistics is a trusted solution for manufacturers, aerospace firms, health and beauty providers, and industrial specialists. We welcome the opportunity to sit down with you to review your current kitting process and outline solutions for improvement. We look forward to helping you maximize your operational efficiency!
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