Associating the right item with the right order in an automated packaging line might seem like an easy enough process: Just place the item in the carton, apply a label, and your done, right? But what if it’s the wrong item? Or what if it’s the right item, but the wrong shipping label is applied? One thing’s for sure, you’ll hear about it from your customer shortly after that carton gets delivered.
The key to associating the right item with the right order is in marrying the inventory item(s) being allocated to an order with the carton being used to ship it. In an automated packaging line, this is accomplished through robust software which associates the carton ID with the inventory item inserted into the carton, marrying them together for the entirety of the fulfillment process.
As an example, let’s look at the Invata Intralogistics automated packaging system featured in the video above: As an empty carton arrives at the inventory insertion point in the line, the carton’s bar code license plate is read by in-motion ID scanners.
Invata’s FastTrak® Warehouse Control software records the carton ID and then awaits a scan of the UPC bar code associated with the item(s) to be inserted into that carton. When that happens, FastTrak marries the carton ID to the item scanned. Once the item(s) have been inserted into the carton, the operator moves his hand past a touchless sensor, indicating the transaction has been completed.
The carton then moves away on the conveyor and a new one is brought into position so the operator can repeat the process. FastTrak now knows which carton is carrying which item throughout the automated packaging process and can properly associate that order with the subsequent down line processes like the packing list insertion, shipping label print apply, and even exceptions handling should a problem occur such as an unreadable label.
By marrying carton identification to inventory insertion, Invata’s FastTrak software lays the groundwork for achieving perfect order quality from your packaging automation line.