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Logistics

Preventing Product Damage and Loss

Reduce damaged and lost products within fulfillment centers using Cognex’s innovative technology

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Retail distributors and online fulfillment companies are increasingly using automated storage and fulfillment systems that utilize totes to improve efficiency and flexibility. As inventory is replenished, received case packs are broken down into individual items and stored in totes within the inventory system. Tote capacity within the storage system must be optimized both to meet sell-through rates, but also prevent overfilling. To optimize warehouse space, totes are often stored in close-fitting spaces, such as an ASRS (Automated Storage and Retrieval System). Storing an overfilled tote can result in damage to both the goods inside as well as potentially jamming up the fulfillment system. Traditional sensor technology doesn’t always accurately detect the fullness level of a tote.

Totes are used by logistics operations throughout the distribution center. In some order fulfillment processes, totes are used to convey inventory to pick stations as well as convey orders from pick stations to packing stations. In fast-paced fulfillment centers, it’s important to verify that storage totes have enough inventory to fill orders as well as order totes have the correct items in them. In the absence of a verification process, order fulfillment can be delayed, or incorrect shipments can occur. Fixing incorrect orders after the fact means both extra work and cost for retailers or e-commerce fulfillment centers. Shortages of inventory in storage totes can indicate a “loss” problem. Typically, this process is either done by hand or periodic checking with hand scanners. These methods are not efficient in high-volume environments.

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