Improve Your Warehouse Profitability With Part Picking Automation: Part 4 – Improve Ergonomics

Mar 25, 2020
order picking ergonomics

This five part series looks at each of the ways that automating your picking processes can improve your productivity and reduce costs.

Warehouses that use manual picking processes with pallet rack or shelving can put tremendous physical strain on order picking employees.  Pickers must stoop, reach, lift, stretch, twist, push and pull all day long as they retrieve products. 

Rack or shelving storage solutions also have a number of distinct disadvantages:

  • They waste space in order to make products accessible
  • They offer poor visibility to products in the rear
  • They are set up for Last-in/first-out (LIFO) stock rotation
  • They can make products difficult to access safely

From an ergonomic perspective, workers are most comfortable when they pick items from the “golden zone” which extends from the waist to shoulder height for an average person. Goods stocked with this “golden zone” can be retrieved or moved without any bending or stretching. While it may be advisable to position high demand SKUs in an ergonomically optimal zone like this, it’s impossible to set up an entire warehouse for employee comfort. 

Alternatively, automated storage systems can present stored items at the proper ergonomic, golden zone work height every time a product is retrieved. This allows an extremely safe working environment that practically eliminates injuries from stretching, reaching or bending. Moreover, no walking around the warehouse or climbing to retrieve items is required. Automated systems lessen daily fatigue and greatly reduce the possibility of injury.  As a result, employers oftensee fewer worker’s comp claims and reduced absenteeism. 

Modern automated storage systems are also equipped with a variety of high tech safety systems, including emergency stop buttons, light curtains, presence-detecting safety mats, automatic shutter doors, software-enabled access and photo eye sensors that can prevent entrapments or pinch points. 

Next Up: Improve Your Warehouse Profitability With Picking Automation: Part 5– Mispick Elimination

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