Building a mixed SKU pallet load at the end of a shipping sorter divert lane is a labor intensive operation under the best of conditions. A major throughput factor is the rate at which a person can manually sort and palletize mixed SKU cases off the end of a divert lane. For example: if there is just one pallet position, that rate would be much higher than if you have to scan and sort to multiple pallet positions. However, this arrangement (no manual sorting) only works when each divert is dedicated to one discrete order per picking cycle (or batch) and consists of multiple pallet loads for the same consignee.
The two key business requirements that must be satisfied are customer orders and palletizing positions. The sorting system must be capable of processing a given number of orders per day and pallet builds per day to satisfy sales and/or production demand. This can be achieved by having more diverts with fewer palletizing positions per divert, or fewer diverts each with more palletizing positions per divert. The tradeoffs are incremental labor cost verses material handling equipment/system cost.
Manual palletizing productivity declines dramatically as the number of...