With warehouse space at a premium, you may find yourself looking for ways to maximize your current storage space. Instead of building out, utilize your vertical space! A vertical lift module (VLM) is a great solution to maximize unused vertical space and is also more ergonomic and efficient than traditional pick methods.
How Does a Vertical Lift Module (VLM) Work?
From our partners at Modula: Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs) are highly automated picking and storage devices that maximize unused vertical height in new or existing facilities. The implementation of a VLM results in recovered floor space, improved ergonomics, productivity gains, and increased accuracy.
7 Signs That You Could Benefit from a VLM
Take a look around your warehouse. If you can identify any of these situations, your operation could benefit from the use of a VLM:
You’re considering moving or building a new warehouse.
A warehouse move is costly and time consuming. Often, we can eliminate the need for a move by utilizing vertical storage space with the VLM.
You utilize a lot of drawer cabinets or shelving.
While these storage solutions can be useful, they are not the most efficient use of space or labor. With a VLM, the footprint of cabinets or shelving units can be condensed and is much more efficient for your pickers, since the inventory is delivered to them in the VLM trays.
You have a large gap between the top of your storage shelving and ceilings.
Are your shelves 6 or 7 feet tall, but your ceilings are 25 feet tall or more? This shows that you are not utilizing your vertical space as efficiently as you could. While VLMs can be customized to fit a number of spaces, a minimum of 14-16 ft ceiling height is ideal.
You are picking small parts.
If your inventory consists of mostly smaller parts, utilizing a VLM can boost your productivity since more parts are presented to the picker in a VLM tray to pick from versus shelving or drawer units. The number of SKUs a VLM tray can hold is dependent upon the size and quantity of the parts, as well as the size of the tray.
You are experiencing a lot of mispicks/errors in picking.
With traditional warehouses, human errors are nearly unavoidable. With laser pointers, alphanumeric LED bars, put-to-light systems, and similar aids guiding operators to units and quantities to retrieve, automated storage and retrieval systems all but eliminate mispicks.
Your inventory needs to be secured.
A VLM provides a safe storage space for high value inventory and parts. These SKUs can easily be kept track of using the VLM inventory management software, and the VLM can limit access to authorized users only.
You’re walking a long distance to pick orders.
Walking to each pick location is time consuming and draining for the picker. Presenting parts to the picker in one consolidated pick window leads to a faster, less fatiguing picking process.
Other Workplace Benefits of a VLM
In addition to maximizing vertical space, VLMs also provide a safer, more ergonomic workspace for employees, as well as savings for employers:
Instead of walking around to find parts, a VLM brings them to you at waist level. This means there is no bending or reaching when you’re picking.
Adding more pickers to an already inefficient process results in using more resources than necessary. By leaning out your process with a VLM, you can reduce the number of people needed, therefore saving on labor costs.
Inventory Management Software
You can also utilize Modula’s inventory management software to keep track of inventory, create pick lists and notify you when you need to reorder parts.
If you are interested in learning more about how a Vertical Lift Module can help your business, contact the warehouse experts at Welch Equipment. We are a complete material handling solutions provider serving customers across the Rocky Mountain Region in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Montana.