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Maximising Productivity in E-commerce Distribution Operations in Australia

A Closer Look at Conveyor Systems in Australia E-commerce, Distribution, and Warehouse

E-commerce, a fundamental part of the information technology, offers tremendous benefits to the Australians. It is for this reason that online retail spending had increased to $17.6 billion in 2015, and is expected to surpass $24 billion in 2018.

While e-commerce has changed the way people buy goods, the distribution system has remained somewhat the same. Within the warehouse, forklifts and conveyor systems are still being used to move the goods. However, the advancement in technology has changed the way in which the goods are packaged, moved, and shipped.

Traditional order fulfilment process consisting of manual picking, moving, and transporting of goods in the distribution centres has become outdated. Today an automated conveyor system is the name of the game that allows online retailers to fulfil customer orders in a quick and cost-effective manner.

In this article, we will take a close look at automated conveyor system and its benefits for e-commerce firms in improving their order processing process.

Automated Conveyer Systems: A Close Look
An automated conveyor system moves goods in the distribution centre without manual intervention. The systems can be very basic such as the rolling pin-style conveyor such as gravity conveyor to more advanced powered systems such as wire mesh conveyor, vertical conveyor, and minimum pressure or zero pressure accumulation conveyor. These may be set up as entirely automated systems that can move plastic totes, cases and boxes, mixed SKU pallets, beverage cartons, and many other applications.

The introduction of automated systems represents a radical departure from the traditional distribution system where growth required more humans to meet demand. An automated system can run 24/7 without breaking a sweat. Online grocery stores and high-volume retailers can greatly benefit from automated conveyor systems. The automated conveyor systems can allow online retailers to process a large number of shipments at much less time than manual systems.

Applications of automated conveyor systems are as diverse as its benefits. These systems can be used for picking and packing operations, production lines, goods-to-person automation, and  direct-to-customer fulfilment. A well designed system can fulfil the diverse needs of retailers including reliability, ease of maintenance, distribution efficiency, speed, and design flexibility. Ecommerce and fulfilment operations can also select conveyor systems based on low noise emissions, clean roller technologies, low energy consumption, and individually powered zones.

Benefits of Automated Conveyer Systems for e-Commerce Firms
Automated conveyors offer a large number of benefits to the e-commerce firms. Some types of conveyors such as 24V DC motorized rollers are much safer for the workers as compared to traditional conveyor systems. Futher, employees require less training to operate the systems compared to fully manual operations.

Cut Down Labour Costs
Automated systems significantly reduce the labour costs. When implemented correctly, they increase the productivity and minimise handling. It decreases the overall production hours required to complete order fulfilment tasks. This allows retailers to quickly process customer orders and ship them to the required destination. The end results in lower operational costs and higher profits.

Reduce Labour Related Risks
Another benefit of implementing automated conveyor system is that they reduce the risk during the handling process. There is no risk of unplanned handling halts due to labour strikes or turnover.

Handle Goods Outside of Traditional Timings
Automated conveyor systems can operate without any human interference; thus allowing loading, unloading, and delivery of goods beyond traditional times. They enable a large number of products to be handled in quick time. This improved efficiency in handling the goods translates into reduced costs and improved profitability for the firm.

Reduced Risk of Theft
With an automated conveyor system, the risk of theft is drastically reduced. Less labour is utilized in handling the goods. Thus, there is reduced the risk of package theft or product shrinkage during product handling. This further strengthens the need for implementing automated systems for e-commerce firms.

Quick Order to Delivery Times
With automated e-commerce distribution, retailers can benefit from improved order-to-delivery times. With the cutthroat competition in the cyber world, only those companies can flourish that offer superior customer satisfaction. Quick order delivery is, therefore, important for online firms and distribution centres. Customers tend to prefer online firms that not only provide the goods at the best price, but also at the minimum delivery time.

Automated conveyor systems can speed up the handling and transportation of the order to the picking robot, loading dock, picking facility, and shipping container much more quickly and efficiently as compared to manual conveyor systems.

Faster Processing Within the Internet-of-Things Framework
Automated conveyor systems can facilitate faster and improved processing of order within the internet-of-things (IOT). The IOT simply refers to the: “Interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.”

The human-machine interface of the automated system will allow retailers to respond more quickly and efficiently process customer orders and update the information into the ERP software. This information will prove useful in resource planning, strategic planning, and order processing, particularly during peak periods.

In the end, automated conveyor systems ensure efficient movement of products between processes for integrated material flow controls that are supported by the latest technology. The automated conveyor system can prove extremely beneficial for e-commerce firms that handle a large number of goods on a daily basis.


14th February 2017