How “Smart Bins” are Improving Industrial Supply Chains

Supply chains operations have become more modern and advanced, however most facilities' bin systems has yet to evolve. By Apex Supply Chain Technologies

April 13, 2017

Walk into any of the most high-tech manufacturing facilities, distribution centers or warehouses, and you’re likely to find a bin arrangement that feels out of place and dated.

Bins, arranged in rows that are stacked on top of each other, hold all the vital parts and supplies that keep business moving – fasteners, tools, tape, wiring, personal protective equipment and anything else that can be imagined.

But even as the supply chains for other parts of these operations have become more modern and advanced, bins are often stuck in the past. Many bin arrangements offer no visibility into the flow of materials at any given moment, which leads to a cascading series of impacts that hurts the bottom line.

Employees who know that the bin system doesn’t work well end up taking more than what they need so they can do their jobs without interruption.

This results in chronic stock-outs for other employees, interfering with the overall productivity of the facility. Distributors make two visits to complete a single task – one visit to count what’s in each bin, and another, several days later, to act on that information and restock.

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