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Automated Outbound Handling Solutions

Outbound logistics begin at the pick face and end when the end user receives their goods. It includes picking, packing, transportation, and delivery of goods. To meet the high consumer expectations, these activities have to be coordinated and should also be transparent to the end user, with frequent updates notifying when an order is boxed, in transit, and delivered, for example.

Coordinating these activities, and being transparent with the customer, are key to the user experience and can gain repeat business. However, performing all of these activities efficiently and at low cost is another challenge altogether. To meet these demands especially in high throughput facilities, many companies are increasingly turning to automation for the speeds, accuracies, and efficiencies they introduce to many material handling tasks.

At PeakLogix, we’re a brand agnostic material handling systems integrator that specializes in innovative, bespoke automated solutions. Through our partnership, we can increase the consistency and efficiency throughout your distribution processes, from inbound receiving to outbound shipments and everything in between. We deliver customized solutions tailored to our partner’s needs that address issues ranging from ergonomics and employee safety to fully automated warehousing solutions.

Current challenges of outbound handling

Coordinating activities

While outbound logistics begins at the pick face, coordination and cooperation with inbound logistics and inventory management are also critical. Knowing how many of an item are on hand, how many are on order, and when a shipment is due are all crucial to outbound processing, especially in high throughput facilities.

Once an item is picked, coordinating the packing (to ensure that orders are complete and properly labeled) and shipment (to ensure that a package is sent at the right time, using the right carrier, and to the right place) are also crucial. Automation such as barcode scanning and a robust warehouse management system (WMS) can help a facility track goods throughout their journey in real time, and help coordinate the movement of goods between departments.

Rising consumer demand and expectations

With the popularity of Amazon’s fast, free-to-consumer shipping, many companies in material handling — and certainly companies in the ecommerce industry — feel squeezed to compete. Consumers want transparency in their order’s status and delivery options that include fast and free — and if a company doesn’t deliver those things, the consumer will likely go somewhere else.

Studies show that 13% of consumers simply will not return to an online store after a single late delivery. And nearly 70% will at least consider shopping elsewhere. Outbound logistics companies can meet these challenges by reviewing their contracts with their carrier services to ensure that they’re getting the best deals possible, and by employing smart automation to bring efficiencies and transparency into their processes.

Shipping and transportation costs

The so-called last-mile of delivery — that portion of the delivery process when a parcel leaves a transportation and is out for its final delivery — accounts for as much as 53% of the total cost of shipment. And with rising inflation, and in particular volatile gas prices, that number will go up if measures aren’t taken to limit these costs.

Missed delivery windows, a lack of delivery agility, and inefficient processes are major issues. The need to complete or pass a stop multiple times — because of a missed delivery window, because multiple packages weren’t bundled for the same address, or because of poor routing — can all be addressed with the right software solutions and more efficient outbound handling processes.

Order accuracy

Efficient, predictable processes are key to order accuracy. Picking items by manually walking a floor with a paper checklist in-hand is the opposite of efficient and predictable. And the farther an outbound logistics company can get from that process, the better off they’re likely to be.

While the complete other end of the spectrum — automated storage and retrieval systems — may not be practical for every material handler, there are many in-betweens that can increase order accuracy and throughput. Something as simple as a goods-to-person system that includes pick-to-light technology can hasten, simplify, and improve the picking process, and increase order accuracy upwards of 99.9%.

High labor costs

Even before COVID-19, labor scarcity was an issue in every industry. Low unemployment, high rates of retirement, demands for higher wages, and a perception that jobs in warehousing and distribution aren’t viable long-term careers are all issues for material handling companies.

To combat labor shortages and increased costs, many companies are looking to lean practices and automation to streamline their processes and retain high quality employees. Something as simple as reducing the number of steps an employee takes on hard concrete floors can lower their chance for overuse injuries and can improve their quality of life. And this can be done easily and at little cost with wearable technology or handheld devices placed in a cart that the employee can move where it’s needed.

Throughput rates

Just-in-Time (JIT) inventory models — in which as little on-hands are kept as possible, and resources are shifted to rapid replenishment — were proved to be insufficient to meet the demand shocks of 2020-1. Store aisles were left bare, and online orders were canceled, because suppliers everywhere lacked the inventory to meet spikes in consumer demand.

However, the need for high throughput, rapid replenishment hasn’t gone away. It’s only been made more complicated by the need to store buffer inventories in the limited space of facilities that were designed for JIT delivery models.

To continue to meet consumer expectations, companies have to have processes that they know are dependable. Onhands have to be accurate, storage has to be as dense as possible, and operations have to be streamlined so that throughput can stay high while the warehouse’s other demands continue to be met.

Important considerations when evaluating a systems integration partner for your outbound handling operations.

Are they consultative?

When partnering with a systems integrator, one of the risks material handling companies face is trying to work with a partner that promises more than they can deliver. The integration partner smiles through consultations and then, behind the scenes, desperately tries to invent the technology they need to deliver on their promises. They miss deadline after deadline until their client reaches a point of no return – they’re willing to justify their costs by seeing any kind of benefit from their investment. Even if those benefits are well below what was originally planned and agreed to.

PeakLogix is not that kind of partner. We are fully consultative, and prioritize your goals and needs. We undertake a thorough discovery process so that we understand both the roadblocks you face now and the goals you have for the future. Our solutions are designed to help you move past your roadblocks, and scale with your business growth. We don’t offer solutions in a top-down fashion that refuses input and denies questions, but collaborate with you and provide the recommendations we believe will best suit your needs.

Are they vendor agnostic?

Vendor agnostic solutions providers like PeakLogix don’t push their favorite suppliers onto their customers. Instead, we work with our suppliers to find and test the applications for which their product is the best fit. We don’t pitch untested products as viable solutions, but rather look for the best solution that already has a track record of solid performance.

Being open to integrating the best solutions on the market — regardless of their manufacturer — means we can truly optimize solutions for our clients, and quickly adjust to changing demands.

Do they develop tailored solutions for your unique challenges?

Being a consultative, vendor agnostic firm means that we look at every project with fresh eyes. Yes, we have decades of experience that inform our decisions and help us quickly find solutions to problems — but we don’t try to force the same solution on every client.

Instead, we work with our clients to discover both their pain points and goals. And our approach often leads to two positive outcomes. First, the discovery of unknown root causes to problems that allow us to address systemic issues with solutions of a customized design. And second, the application of scalable solutions that will both meet today’s challenges, and scale in ways the company needs to meet its future goals.

Can they scale to your needs?

The changing urban landscape, an aging workforce, the large-scale adoption of ecommerce, and the increased use of artificial intelligence and machine learning have created challenges and brought opportunities that are continuing to change industries in every sector. Businesses need solutions that are more responsive than ever, with the ability to scale both up and down to meet a company’s growth as well as periodic changes in demand.

PeakLogix has been solving the material-handling needs of companies of every size, and in many industries, for over 30 years. We are dedicated to our own continuous improvement because we know that designing systems that will adapt to your changing business needs means being knowledgeable about changes in the industry. By offering adaptive solutions where appropriate, we bring added value to our partners.

Are they available when you need them?

PeakLogix started in 1989 as a material handling and systems integrator serving clients across the Mid-Atlantic. Over the past 30 years, we’ve completed thousands of successful projects and have grown to become a thought leader in the industry and a national provider of innovative solutions, software systems, and automated technologies.

From the beginning of our working relationships with clients, our team works to discover your goals and challenges. We collaborate with you to develop solutions that meet your needs today and also lay the groundwork for your future growth. When your project is complete, we offer services including 24/7 system support, operator training, and maintenance and repairs.

At PeakLogix, our partnerships are our priority.

What logistics, automation, and distribution solutions should you consider for your outbound handling solution?

WMS Software (PickPro®)

ScottTech PickPro® is our proprietary Warehouse Management Software (WMS). It’s a fully independent, system-agnostic, web-based software solution that can control all aspects of distribution, and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of any material handling company.

ScottTech PickPro® can serve as a standalone solution, or integrate with your ERP. It can incorporate AS/RS equipment and all the peripherals, track and manage inventory of both parts and goods, and layer seamlessly with your software architecture to provide granular feedback on, and control of, your operations.

Pick to Light

Pick-to-light is a cost-effective solution that streamlines warehouse picking operations and increases picking speed, accuracy, and productivity. Especially in omnichannel fulfillment centers, pick-to-light solutions enable the reliable processing of high numbers of SKUs, while increasing efficiency.

Pick-to-light solutions are often a good entry point for a warehouse’s automation transformation. They can work as standalone systems, or integrate with Warehouse Management Software, enabling them to easily scale with a company’s growth.

Barcode Technologies

Barcode labels and scanners were first introduced in the retail sector in 1974, where they increased grocery tellers’ speeds and accuracies, and helped keep more accurate inventory counts.

For the same reasons, barcode technology is an integral part of many high-throughput distribution centers. Combined with a robust WMS and smart technologies, barcode scanning also enables real-time visibility into the movement of goods throughout a facility.

Print and Apply

Print and apply labeling reduces the number of touches, labor, and costs associated with shipping processes, improving shipping accuracy and warehouse throughput. Print and apply allows a facility to process hundreds or even thousands of packages an hour, all with accurate weight, measurements, and freight costs.

Shipping manifestos and labels can be automatically printed and applied to a variety of packaging materials, shapes, and sizes. They can be combined with accumulation conveyors and other automation to further increase shipping efficiencies.

Robotic Palletizers

Robotic palletizing increases the accuracy, consistency, and efficiency of palletizing operations. This not only increases throughput, but also lowers shipping fees and optimizes the use of space in a warehouse by palletizing items more compactly.

Automation can eliminate, or at least reduce, the manual labor associated with palletizing, freeing that labor to move on to more value-adding and rewarding tasks. With the right end-of-arm tool, they can handle everything from the heaviest boxes and pails to the thinnest slip sheets and dunnage.


Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) enhance productivity and workflow in both manufacturing and distribution facilities. AGVs help streamline processes, decrease delays, and move heavy, bulky materials efficiently and safely.

Guided vehicles use a number of navigational methods, tailored to your facility’s needs. They can be customized and programmed to follow the paths in a facility that are safest for staff and most efficient. They can be an integral part of a facility’s material handling and also programmed for complementary tasks such as trash collection or other housekeeping tasks.

Pick Modules

Pick modules use pallet or carton flow racks to push eaches, cartons, totes, or containers through a facility. PeakLogix integrates a variety of pick modules that can be tailored to your facility’s needs.

Pick modules can allow operators to pick small parts quickly and reliably, increasing speed and accuracy in assembly, manufacturing, or distribution processes.


Conveyors are a time-tested means of efficiently moving material of all shapes and sizes, from heavy pallets to fine powders.

Simple roller conveyor systems can be used to help employee ergonomics and lower the risk of injury. Energy efficient motorized drive rollers (MDRs) can be spaced throughout a long conveyor, creating accumulation zones. The speed and even direction of MDRs can be controlled with optical sensors.

More complicated systems, like sortation conveyors with pick and divert technology, are part of highly complex ecommerce fulfillment centers.

Sortation Conveyor Systems

Automated sortation is the process of first identifying and then diverting items on a conveyance system. The conveyor is connected with the facility’s Warehouse Management System (WMS) and, depending on the system, can identify items by weight, color, shape or identifying tags.

Conveyors might use a number of sortation systems to get product to the right destination, including pushers, paddles, shoes, cross belts, and more. In the right applications, automated sortation systems are both faster and more accurate than manual sortation and picking.

Warehouse Controls Solutions

Warehouse controls translate data into machine language and enable hardware to perform the right actions at the right times. Controls include the hardware, software, sensors, and communications systems needed for equipment to operate properly. Controls can also monitor and verify that equipment is properly functioning and, when properly integrated, allow a facility to maximize its throughput.

Controls allow different pieces of equipment — like an automated conveyor and robotic palletizer — to work together. Equipment that stops at a set pressure, turns on at a set time, that rotates product or moves at a set speed are all operated with controls.

Advance your operations.

Schedule a consultation.

Tell us about your needs and we’ll have someone contact you to talk about the various outbound handling solutions for your operations.