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Intralogistics Software Making a Big Impact for Small Business & Startups

Chris Bratten | 20 April 2017

Exacta: Intralogistics Software provides small businesses with the tools to compete against larger operations.

Large companies have teams of statisticians, data scientists and engineers to solve complex logistical problems.  Companies like Amazon invest millions of dollars for small improvements to their already lean and efficient operations.  But what about companies just starting off in warehouse distribution? How can these companies plan for growth while maintaining small, budget friendly operations?

Small retailers don’t have the resources to dedicate to implementing state-of-the-art systems based on the most recent technology improvements and industry best practices.  On the other hand, small retailers have the flexibility to pivot to new operational approaches and the labor efficiency gains can be massive. 

Bastian Solutions' logistics consultants bring this expertise to the table and can quickly generate solutions that revolutionize operational efficiency.  We base these solutions on actual order data and custom tailor the solution to the unique requirements of each operation. We will work with your small business to provide the best ‘bang-for-the-buck’ solution for your startup.

Small E-Commerce Client - Case Study

We received an inquiry through the Bastian Solutions website regarding pick-to-light device pricing. This company knew they needed to increase their order fulfillment rate but didn’t know how. Their website sales were increasing and adding pickers to their small warehouse wasn’t feasible.  Operators were picking based off paper pick lists generated by a homegrown warehouse management system (WMS). 

Picking a single order at a time, operators were lucky to achieve 30 lines per hour and multiple shifts of pickers and packers were required to meet their peak order volumes of 500 orders per day.  They had just purchased a new facility but didn’t know how they should design their new operation to best utilize the space and meet their ever-increasing order volumes. Within a week, a team consisting of a field application engineer and logistic consultant made the trip to their new facility with the intention of designing and pricing a new storage and order fulfillment system powered by Exacta. 

Our logistics consultants utilize a rapid and agile approach to system design where we quickly turn around solutions to our clients and iterate through designs in order to come up with a design that meets all requirements.  The client sent a month’s worth of order data that we processed through our data processing platform and within a day, we arrived at a system design that was largely unchanged through implementation.

The client’s order data showed a typical e-commerce order profile in which a majority of the order lines were fulfilled by a relatively small number of products.  This order profile indicates that velocity based slotting will dramatically improve order processing times.  In this case, we decided to use pick-to-light directed picking on flow rack for high velocity items and RF Batch Picking for the slower moving product.  This ensured that the customer could store multiple days of inventory in the forward pick locations. 

Exacta: Intralogistics Software cubed orders and recommended a shipping container at the beginning of the process so the operators were picking into the shipping container rather than a tote.  This saved labor downstream in the packing operation.  

The Results

Even though this was a smaller operation, the improvement was breathtaking.

  • Lines per hour increased 400% moving from 30 lines per hour to an average of 150 lines per hour.
  • The facility now has the capacity to process more than 1,000 orders in an 8 hour shift. Previously, this amount of work would have required 20 picking operators spread across 2 shifts.
  • The new operation only required 6 picking operators on 1 shift, so there is room to grow the system in the future.
  • Due to the productivity gains, this customer saves nearly $420,000 in annual labor costs and that nets them an estimated system payback of 9 months.
  • On top of all of that, they’re now able to meet the same day fulfillment needs of their customers, increasing their customer satisfaction.

Smaller companies often think they can’t afford the advanced functionality that Exacta: Intralogistics Software brings, but from what I’ve seen: they can’t afford not to. Contact us to learn more. 


Author: Chris Bratten

Chris is a Logistics Consulting Manager at Bastian Solutions, based in Louisville, Kentucky. He has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and a MSME from Purdue University. Since starting with Bastian, Chris has developed and maintained strong relationships with his clients; designing solutions and supporting system integrations.


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