Case: Reducing excessive recirculation

The problem

A large logistics company mainly sorting large, impractical B2C items experienced several handling problems. There were always many non-conveyables within the system and the carrier tray occupancy was far too high. This was because parcels that should have fitted into one tray were often inducted on two trays, thus wasting space and capacity in the system

There was also a problem with a lot of barcodes coming out as no-reads. This meant that a lot of items had to be manually handled.

Although these issues were easily identified, the customer was not able to identify the root causes.

The Solution

Data revealed that the recirculations were caused by full chutes. The operator doubled the resources allocated to the top 10% of chutes with the highest parcel flow. Dynamic resource allocation was implemented for the remaining 90% of flow destinations.

Volume scanner data revealed that 80% of items were within conveyable size, yet many still went on double trays. Operators were retrained to place the parcels correctly into the system to avoid double tray use.

The problem of no-read and incorrect barcodes was addressed by approaching identified customers to improve their print quality.

The Result

There was a vast reduction in the number of recirculated parcels, simply by operating the sortation system in a more effective manner. This was accomplished without spending money on any new machinery.

The number of two-tray parcels dropped to an acceptable level, which resulted in an immediate capacity increase. Barcode quality was improved from the customer side, which did away with the reading issue.