The phrase “omnichannel fulfillment” has made its way into the material handling industry and down to our warehouse and distribution center floors over the past several years. This strategy of monitoring a customer order from intake through to delivery has resulted from the rise in e-commerce where customers are not only choosing smaller, more customized orders, but they are doing so from a plethora of suppliers eager to gain their sale. The drivers for success in e-commerce are fast, cheap, accurate and easy. If you don’t have what the customer wants in stock, ready to pick, pack, ship and deliver to their front door for the best price, you’ll likely lose that customer to a competitor who can.
The omnichannel strategy ensures that each step along the way is optimized and for multiple channels to work together seamlessly to deliver the best, most consistent results for the customer. For example, the order can be picked and packed to ship from any of these locations:
- Distribution center/warehouse
- 3rd party logistics center
- Retail store (for shipping or customer pick up)
- Partner locations for pickup
Whether your facility directly fulfills orders for end-users through e-commerce, or provides inventory to a 3PL, retail or partner location, the time you have to take-in, process, and ship is tight and getting tighter every day. Efficiency is vital to meet demand and customer expectations. Gravity flow is a tool that can be applied in a variety of ways to help you meet those demanding ship dates. It’s easy to use, low-maintenance, and highly efficient. Let’s examine a few examples of applying gravity flow systems to meet omnichannel fulfillment strategies.
Benefits of Gravity Flow in Omnichannel Fulfillment
Gravity Flow Solutions in Warehouse & Distribution
- Pallet Flow Racking
- Carton Flow Rack
- Gravity Conveyor Rack
Pallet Flow Racking – pallet flow systems offer multiple benefits for high-throughput case picking and deep reserve pallet storage. Pallet flow is designed with SKU-specific lanes of wheeled or roller track that harness gravity to flow pallets from a load-side to a pick aisle. Separate load and pick aisles create a setting for fast-moving but safer and more orderly forklift traffic.
Case picking – using pallet flow for case picking provides orderly SKU lanes to boost pick accuracy, automatically replenished pick face, ready-reserve pallet storage and safe, ergonomic pick positioning. Mallard also offers custom-designed empty pallet return lanes to quickly remove empty pallets from the case pick area to improve efficiency and warehouse safety. For more information on case picking from pallet flow, review our application blogs:
- Boost Your Return on Case Pick Operations with this Clever Pallet Flow Combo &
- High-Volume & Heavy-Duty Case Picking –Flex Separator for Pallet Flow
- Reduce Warehouse Traffic & Improve Order Processing with Floor-Mounted Pallet Flow
Reserve storage – a pallet flow system takes advantage of the vertical space in your facility to get pallets up and off the warehouse floor. Lanes are dedicated to a single SKU to keep inventory easy to find for a faster, more accurate put-away and pick process. Pallet flow lanes are compatible with automated-guided vehicles (AGVs).
Carton Flow Rack – carton flow is the answer for medium-throughput full-case picking, as well as broken-case and each picking. Carton flow describes wheeled or roller-equipped SKU lanes that can be set up with separate load and pick aisles (similar to pallet flow). It can also be accessed from a single aisle by storing items in a push-back style and then picking from that same aisle. SKUs are kept in easy to distinguish lanes for quick accurate picks and, again, the pick face is automatically replenished from ready-reserve stock in the lane. Guides and dividers can be used to enhance the lane designations as needed.
Carton flow beds are installed in standard storage rack bays. Mallard offers products with full wheel bed coverage to take advantage of every inch. Our carton flow is also low-profile to get more levels in the golden zone for ergonomic pick positioning and it is compatible with automated picking solutions such as pick-to-light and voice picking technology.
For more information on case picking from carton flow, review our application blogs:
- Create Safe, Ergonomic Case Picking with Carton Flow Rack Skid Plates | Mallard Best Practices
- Carton Flow Rack – Stability in a Shifting E-Commerce World
Gravity Conveyor Rack
Push conveyor or gravity conveyor is a cost-effective way to connect order picking and packing areas. Mallard offers gravity conveyor products for lightweight to heavy-duty applications all manufactured to provide consistent, long-term and low-maintenance use. Our products are available in steel skate wheel, and 1 3/8” and 1.9” diameter roller. We offer adjustable-height guards to extend the use of the product across processing needs and hydraulic lift gates to ensure your team is safe in and around the conveyor.
- For more information on gravity conveyor features and applications, review our blogs:
Mallard Announces New Adjustable Gravity Conveyor Guards
As Easy As 1, 2, 3 — New Gravity Conveyor Hydraulic Lift Gate Assembly
Delivering the Goods
If you can’t deliver the goods in a timely manner, someone else likely can. The Mallard team is here to make sure you have the systems and applications you need to meet your processing and fulfillment goals. Put the power of gravity to work for you and your team. Call our gravity flow rack experts today to talk about creative, cost-effective solutions you and your customers can count on.