FastPic Inventory Management Software Leans Saia Burgess Stockroom for a 40% Increase in Productivity

With a company wide push to lean processes and cut waste, Saia Burgess took a good look at process improvement in their facility. Integrating FastPic5 inventory management software Saia Burgess improved productivity, reduced labor and increased accuracy.

Saia Burgess manufacturers a wide range of motion control solutions at their Vandalia, Ohio manufacturing facility. Motion control solutions, such as solenoids and switches, are used in a wide range products globally including: ATMs, security monitoring systems, medical devices and military systems.

Leaning Processes Towards Efficiency

To keep nine manufacturing departments operating efficiently, Saia Burgess keeps just over 10,000 SKUs on hand to feed the manufacturing floor. "It became apparent we were doing a lot of very redundant activity through the day," said O'Brien, "Sometimes going to the same spot 10 or 12 times a day to pick the same part, just for a different work order."

In a lean effort to do more with less, Saia Burgess integrated FastPic inventory management software into their process, allowing orders to be batched and picked simultaneously. They also updated the stockroom from shelving to four horizontal carousels with pick to light technology all driven by FastPic inventory management software.

The Paper Picking Past

Prior to introducing FastPic inventory management software into the stockroom, workers had a one to one relationship with an order, each worker focused on picking one order at a time. Pick tickets were generated daily and workers would walk throughout the shelving searching for the parts they needed to complete the order. When the order was complete, they would deliver it to the correct department and return to the stockroom to pick the next order in the pile of pick tickets.

Batch Picking To Increase Productivity

Implementing FastPic inventory management software changed the way orders were processed. One worker can now batch pick up to six orders simultaneously without walking or searching for parts. The assembly department group leader prints a material packet indicating the parts required in their area. When the material packet is printed, the order is automatically downloaded from the Material Requirements Planning (MRP) Movex software to the FastPic inventory management software.

The order picker initiates six orders at a time using the FastPic inventory management software. Each order is assigned a separate position or carton on the batch station. The order picker remains in the same area as the software directs the horizontal carousels to rotate to the first item to pick. Using pick lights the software directs the operator to the exact location of the first item to pick. The operator picks the quantity indicated by the pick light and turns to the batch station to distribute the parts among the six orders as directed by the put lights on the batch station.

As the operator is distributing the parts from the first pick, the software is rotating the other horizontal carousels to present the next pick, virtually eliminating operator waiting time. This process repeats until the six orders in the batch are filled. Each order is then delivered to the correct department.

Any parts required for an order that are physically stored off the carousel are flagged at the beginning of the batch. Another stockroom picker will retrieve these parts from the shelving and then match them up with the orders on the department carts. All orders are filled and delivered to the correct manufacturing department within 24 hours.

The previous system required five people to pick 220 orders a week manually from shelving. The same 220 orders now require three people for picking: one to pick from the carousel, one to pick from bulk storage and one to replenish the carousels on second shift. That's a 40% labor savings.

Hot Picking

In manufacturing environments, hot picks are inevitable and occur when parts are needed in manufacturing immediately due to scrapped or lost pieces. When a manufacturing operator identifies the need for a hot pick, they fill out a materials request form and head to the stockroom. With a simple click, the order picker is able to interrupt the batch orders they are picking, retrieve the hot pick for the waiting manufacturing operator and then easily return to picking the batch of orders.

Adding Part Numbers

The ability to add new parts to the system on the fly is important. "Saia Burgess is a make to order manufacturer, we rarely build stock parts," says O'Brien, "A new order usually means new components, which means more parts for the stockroom." New parts are identified upon receipt, added to the FastPic software and stored in the carousels. "It's a 30 second process to create the part number and enter in the information and set it up with the location," says O'Brien, "We can also do a mass download periodically to update any new part numbers if we would get a large amount."

FastPic Systems, a company of the Kardex AG of Zurich, Switzerland Group, is a leading developer of software for automated storage and retrieval system operation. This group is a manufacturer and integrator of a broad range of AS/RS technologies including vertical lift modules (VLMs), vertical and horizontal carousels. For more information on FastPic5 Order Processing software, call 207-854-8663 or visit the FastPic Systems web site at

FastPic Systems

Inventory Management Software Systems

41 Eisenhower Drive

Westbrook, ME 04092

Tel 800-897-8379

Fax 207-854-1610

Media Contact:

Doug Card,

Director of Software


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