A New Use For Old Technology: Conveyor Rollers are Key to Picking Success

Just as how the assembly line revolutionized the art of manufacturing in the 1920s and 1930s, so too is a similar technology revolutionizing the world of picking and retail shipment. Traditionally, pickers scuttle around the warehouse floor, loading their individual carts with items from across the massive shelves, and working as quickly as they can to deliver the items to the shipping point. However, as Ford Motor company taught us nearly 100 years ago, individuals working on their own to accomplish a task is not as quick or efficient as multiple employees joining efforts, and using conveyor rollers to accomplish small pieces of a large whole.


Rather than have individual pickers scramble across entire warehouses and back with each shipment of items, conveyor rollers allow them to order picking items quickly from the shelves, return them to the nearest conveyor roller, which automates the work of transporting the item to the shipping location. This allows pickers to stay in one area of the warehouse, and keeps them from traipsing across the entire building, tiring them out and making them less efficient. Instead, they stay fresh and gain aptitude and familiarity with the specific picking region to which they are assigned.

Of course, as with any technology, warehouse foremen and retail companies must ensure the optimum in safety procedures are practiced when it comes to conveyor rollers. Pickers should be able to move around conveyor rollers without needing to climb over or on top of them, and continue onto their next item quickly and safely. For this very reason, many conveyor rollers are equipped with swinging gates that pickers can easily traverse.

Most conveyor rollers will provide this described uptick in efficiency and speed with little or no opportunity cost to the wholesaler. Most conveyor rollers are gravity-powered, and therefore cost the warehouse owner nothing beyond the cost of initial purchase and routine maintenance. Rather than purchase vehicles for pickers to increase speed, which are costly and also require significant upkeep, conveyor rollers are a simple construction that relies most heavily on the force of gravity to help pickers increase speed and efficiency in performing their jobs.

Just like the advent of the assembly line and use of conveyor belts revolutionized manufacturing, so too can the same technology change the way wholesalers pick, pack, and ship products to clients and customers. And in this global economic climate, any efficiency can be the difference between success and failure.