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Businesses Look Toward Wall Picking As Labor Demands Increase

Many manufacturing companies are looking to automated solutions as a response to the seismic shift brought about by the pandemic. Wall picking, also known as vertical lift module (VLM), is one of them.

Posted April 2022 Back to Resources

Businesses Look Toward Wall Picking As Labor Demands Increase

On December 1, 1913—now over a century ago!—Henry Ford installed the first moving assembly line, to revolutionize not only the production of automobiles but mass production for all of industry. This innovation slashed the time to build a car from over twelve hours to an hour and a half.

Over the ensuing years, innovations have chugged along relentlessly, making production and warehousing more efficient than ever. One such technology is the vertical lift module (VLM), which some call “wall picking” or “vertical picking.” This approach makes product retrieval faster and more precise.

At the same time as technological innovations have poured forth, the labor market has become increasingly competitive. Companies struggle to hire and retain skilled workers for their warehouses and other operations. Employees ask for more money, and they become even scarcer during busy seasons. In some cases organizations have to make do with workers who don’t show up consistently.

Businesses have in some cases responded by attempting to automate processes. Wall picking, then, offers businesses an attractive way to automate tasks that prove challenging for manual labor.

What Is A Wall Picking Solution?

A wall picking solution, or a vertical lift module (VLM), is a storage and retrieval system that builds up instead of out. It takes products from different compartments within tall shelving units, such as during e-commerce fulfillment. A wall picking solution works lightning-fast compared to previous operations. For example, Vicarious solutions bring cycle times down to four seconds.

This unit uses its robotic arm to select products. It can handle apparel in bags, grocery wares, as well as numerous other objects of nearly any shape. Vicarious wall picking units work on their own, like a human employee. They respond to orders, picking items as necessary, and do not require intense supervision. The wall pickers can also work seamlessly with autonomous mobile robots that move through facilities, and with warehouse management systems.

Why Is Wall Picking Becoming a Preferred Solution?

Wall picking is winning more users over due to its advantages over alternatives like a horizontal carousel or manual picking. Wall picking can be implemented with minimal changes to the existing infrastructure already in place in e-commerce warehouses. Not only that, this method requires less storage space and moves products faster and more accurately than manual picking while offering superior product storage to horizontal carousels.

Rather than sprawling horizontal course solutions, the VLMs exploit overhead space instead. This can save warehouse operators valuable real estate. A single machine can store thousands of different products in a compact area.

With horizontal carousels, the installation process involves establishing fixed sizes for products. This constrains more than wall picking, which instead uses smart sensors to allow for an adjustable range of product sizes. In conjunction with the denser use of real estate and the greater storage and retrieval capacity, these advantages all make wall picking a popular choice. And now Vicarious robots make this approach even more efficient, by automating this critical process with next-gen artificial intelligence.

The Benefits of Using Wall Picking For Order Selection

Wall picking offers a wide array of benefits in the workplace. They use space more intelligently than other solutions and are easy to maintain and operate. This results in increased accuracy and a safer, tighter warehouse operation.

Improve Efficiency and Space Management

Vertical wall picking makes efficient use of scarce floor space, creating more room for storage and increasing warehouse profitability. Robotic wall pickers can also slide along different walls in a warehouse, expanding their reach further.

Thanks to advanced technology simulating the human brain, robots rapidly learn to identify products. This lets them react to fast-paced customer demand, even in a busy warehouse where products often change location. Fit the walls into your space however you want, and the system will adapt to pick parts optimally.

Source: Shutterstock

Streamline Design and Easy Operation

Wall picking solutions feature smooth designs that integrate well with existing warehouse workflows. For instance, Vicarious wall pickers can reach into vertical shelves to select arbitrary parts, however, you choose to arrange the parts. This increases total capacity while decreasing cost.

Efficient handling with minimal supervision also makes it easy for workers to do more productive tasks. With robotic wall pickers at work, human labor can focus on creative, value-adding activities.

Reduce Clerical Errors

Wall picking decreases errors, preventing costly mix-ups. Storing products in tight shelves with systems for automatic retrieval increases the accuracy of the entire process. Human workers can sometimes make mistakes, and automatic solutions hitherto faced difficulty managing the unstructured parts necessary for fulfillment. New wall picking automation, however, can handle demands with exquisite precision. With advanced vision technology and neuroscience-inspired AI, Vicarious wall pickers produce unrivaled accuracy.

Improve Warehouse Safety

Using an autonomous wall picking solution like Vicarious robots prevents injuries from manual efforts. Robotic wall pickers handle tasks that cause strain in human employees. Traditional racks also expose workers to potential accidents, which cost time and money. Robotic wall pickers can safely perform the same job faster while mitigating the risk of injury.

Innovate Your Order Selection Solution With Vicarious

When you receive purchase orders, you want to fulfill them as fast and accurately as possible. Solutions like Vicarious robots are an innovative method for warehouse packing quickly gaining traction in the market. This approach uses less floor space and operates without risking worker injuries. With the ongoing difficulties in finding and retaining labor, an automatic wall picking solution also offers financial savings, as well as reliable performance. The solution can be customized for your specific facility and equipment, with the capability of handling a wide variety of SKUs.

Ready to take your stocking to the next level? Talk to Vicarious about wall picking robots!