IDENTIFYING CARTONS WITHOUT BAR CODES

Sourcing products from low labor cost countries has been a defining trend for retailers for many decades, delivering products at advantageous prices to consumers, but also maintaining profitability for the retailer. Logistics from the manufacturing regions of the world has developed tremendously to meet this demand, however some aspects still remain an issue when dealing with suppliers at such a great distance, for example with labeling and identification of product through warehousing and distribution.  When it comes to automated identification, the low-tech practices of these manufacturers (for example in south-east Asia, China etc.) can cause time-consuming issues for the goods-in department at the retailer’s warehouses. This is an area where automation gaps are common, causing delays in updating stock levels and delays in dispatching goods to stores. A typical application that has remained annoyingly manual is the reading of how many items are contained within a consignment. This quantity information is generally handwritten by the manufacturer on the SKU label on incoming cartons. Until now there has not been a system able to capture this data automatically with the required degree of accuracy. For Prime Vision however the optical code reading of handwriting is a proven strength. We applied its expertise to this problem one of the UK’s largest retailers and it has engineered a solution that is now exceeding the contractual automatic read rate of 90% with less than 0.5% error rate. Our system locates both the machine printed data and the handwritten quantity. In more than 90% of cases the product goes straight into stock and the stock management system is automatically updated. The remaining ‘no reads’ can also be put straight into stock as the quantity information is updated by Prime Vision’s video-coding solution. Prime Vision helps.

SPEEDING STOCK OUT TO STORES

It is all about eliminating costly time delays during the goods-in the process and warehousing. Prime Vison provides solutions to speed up the process of registering goods on receipt, automating previous manual processes and eliminating errors. For example, one major retail client experienced delays of up to 2 days from goods receipt to shipping to store due to difficulties registering stock; all suppliers (typically in south-east Asia) must apply the retailers standard label to cartons which identifies the supplier, SKU, contract number etc, however the quantity of SKU’s in each carton could not be automatically labeled. With Prime Vision’s solution they are now able to register 100% incoming stock immediately on receipt, speeding goods out to stores, reducing manpower and errors.  Prime Vision can help.

INCREASING AUTOMATION RATES/REDUCING ERRORS

One of our clients experienced the problem that there were bar codes on the items but not all information was in the bar code. By providing a hybrid solution to read the bar code and printed information on the label we were able to provide a 100% identification solution for their sorting operation out to stores.  Prime Vision can help.

REDUCING MY MANUAL LABOR COSTS

This is all about automating previous manual tasks such as keying, labeling and physical handling of cartons. Often logistics companies and retailers are limited in their use of automation due to the issues identifying products reliably. Prime Vision solved that problem, facilitating much greater levels of automation. For incoming and outgoing goods we can implement these new strategies, reducing your manual labor costs and saving considerable time too.  Prime Vision can help.

ELIMINATING ERRORS IN DISTRIBUTION

Humans make errors, for example tests prove that human error in keying is typically 2%.  So, when it comes to keying in the quantity or SKU number, the impacts of error in warehousing and distribution can be huge, leading to items going to the wrong place in storage or the system believing there are one hundred items in stock rather than 10 for example. Stock can get misdirected or sorted to the wrong store. How do we eliminate errors in distribution? By putting quality control checks where there is manual handling in keying or automating previously manual processes. Prime Vision can help.

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