Mobile Powered Workstations Increase Receiving Velocity by 40%
Direct Relief turns to Newcastle Systems to speed the handling of crucial medicines to people in dire need.
Pharmaceutical companies and medical manufacturers donate most of the medicines and supplies that Direct Relief distributes to people facing disasters. Storage space is limited, so the ability to receive and then ship products fast is crucial. There is also the critical requirement of reaching 100% accuracy when distributing medicines. Since Direct Relief's inventory is comprised of donated items, SKUs are constantly changing, which also adds to the complexity.
To improve speed while still maintaining accuracy, the facility recently moved to paperless processing and introduced Newcastle carts with integrated lithium power that have improved operations tremendously. The carts are currently used for inbound receiving, double-checking picked orders, and as mobile pack stations. The mobility allows them to move to wherever work requires them to go.
The carts can power just about any peripheral Direct Relief could want on a cart. The receiving carts carry a laptop, monitor, scanner, printer, an electronic scale, supplies and a wastebasket. Both the carts and medicines are wheeled to storage locations or picking bins for direct put-away. This saves additional handoffs and assures that the products are placed in correct locations.
Similarly, the carts used in the packing area also contain computers and other peripherals, including printers, to create shipping labels and packing lists. The cart's batteries provide more than enough power to operate for the entire shift, but they are also hot swappable should the need arise for more power.
The combination of paperless processing along with the carts has led to some impressive results. "In the first month that it went live, we had an increase of 40% of the number of batches that we received. We did them more accurately and in 20% less time," says Thomas Tighe, President & CEO of Direct Relief.