The newest industry group to fall under the MHI umbrella is the SLAM group, focused on scanning, labeling, application, and manifesting of outbound customer shipments. Like other industry groups within MHI, the newly formed group will be focused on an exchange of ideas, marketing and education for end users.
As the last stop between pack and before outbound sortation, SLAM solutions are an often-overlooked opportunity for cost savings and productivity improvements. Goods arrive to this area packaged, awaiting the last pieces to successfully ship them out. This includes an address check, inserts like catalogs & pack slips, closing and sealing the box; license plate scanning, dimensioning, weighing, rate shopping, label print and apply; confirmation scan before the package can be diverted to the appropriate carrier.
SLAM activities have been impacted like the rest of the DC by the massive uptick in e-commerce. The pressure is on to speed up SLAM operations while minimizing and reducing errors.
Traditionally a manual process in most DC’s, SLAM can also be highly automated. Auto-SLAM users enjoy savings on labor, increased shipping accuracy, and higher piece rates per hour, PPH. This allows for consistent throughput and operations, regardless of fluctuations in the labor market. The group will highlight how these solutions can address the challenges faced by e-comm companies so they can scale their operations.
SLAM also plays a critical role in preventing bottlenecks. While other parts of a DC are automated and humming along—think picking, sorting, and storage—but slows to a crawl at SLAM, there are solutions to keep packages in motion to the outbound dock.
The SLAM group has 25 members so far. Companies that provide automation or integration, equipment and services for SLAM systems are encouraged to join the group! This includes providers of dimensioning, weighing, sealing technology, scanning, labeling and more. Especially welcome are representatives of the end user community who wish to learn more about how SLAM can help their operations. Academia and students are also encouraged to participate.
Meeting several times each year, SLAM group will serve as a liaison between related product groups, evaluate and define best practices, collect and compile key information for members and users, prepare and distribute educational materials for continuing education and the like. These will take on the form of white papers, blog posts, seminars and more.
The tasks employees perform within the shipping and labeling areas of the distribution center can be rife with pain points when managed manually. With this new industry group, the niche gains a valuable resource center to turn to when faced with challenges, and for planning for the future.