Supply Chain Wednesday


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(1) Non-value-added time: Wasted, unproductive time

Workers are spending a lot of time replacing parts. This non-value-added time is really hurting our bottom line.

(2) Barcode: The black lines on a product that a scanner can read.

Barcodes help us easily track products from the factory to the store.

(3) High fidelity: With few errors

The high fidelity of the automated assembly line saves us money and time.



1. What does he explain in this part of the video?

a. What orange robots do

b. How the system works

c. Where workers work

2. What’s a pick station?

a. Where the people work and the robots deliver products

b. Where the robots get the items for delivery

c. The pods with items that move around the warehouse

3. What non-value-added time exists without this system?

a. Workers enjoy their jobs less

b. High fidelity is minimized

c. Pick workers go around the warehouse

7 ________________________



By Jeremy Schaar

Mick Mountz–Let the Inventory Walk and Talk (Part 5)

Click here to see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

We’ve slowly been working through a great video by Mick Mountz. In it he’s explaining how his company uses robots to help pack orders. It’s really cool. And there’s lots of great vocabulary.

This week, we’re looking at the most important part of the video. It’s just from 6:20-7:45. He explains how this process works. Basically, there are robots that go around a warehouse. They get the items that need to be shipped and bring them to workers. The workers take the items, put them in boxes, and send them out.

The Vocabulary

He calls the warehouse a pick pack and ship setting. This is the place where the products get put into boxes.

He says that there are 10,000 different SKUs. SKU is stock keeping unit. It just means product.

The little orange robots in the video are the little machines that move around the floor and pick up blue shelving pods. Blue shelving pods are just the things where the products sit.

He says that the pick workers are at the perimeter. A perimeter is just the edge of something. For example, the perimeter of a football field is marked with a white line. You can’t go outside. In the case of a warehouse, the perimeter is by the walls.

Pick workers are the people that take items, or SKUs, and put them into boxes. They work at pick stations.

The pick workers are more productive–they work better–because they don’t need to go all around the warehouse looking for things. Instead, the little orange robots bring the blue shelving pods to them. They take an SKU and scan the UPC barcode. To scan is to use a red laser on the product. A UPC barcode is the thing with black lines on a package. When you scan a barcode, the computer understands that the product was packed out.

Workers are more productive because the non-value-added time is decreased. Basically, they don’t waste time going everywhere.

He says it’s a “high fidelity way to pick orders” because it’s hard to make a mistake.

Lots of great vocabulary for today. Next time we’ll end this series with the last lesson on this video.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

B, A, C


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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