Established in 1962, Audio-Technica is devoted to the design and manufacture of audio equipment. Initially known for state-of-the-art phonograph cartridges, the company now creates high-performance microphones, headphones, wireless systems, turntables, and a broad range of other premium quality electronic products for home and professional use worldwide.
The company markets its comprehensive range through a network of specialist authorised resellers, while their webstore allows consumers to order online directly for direct dispatch.
With the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown driving a notable spike in public demand for all forms of home entertainment equipment, Audio-Technica has experienced a sustained upsurge in orders – particularly through its online channel – throughout 2020.
The growth in the number of B-2-C orders received and processed at the company’s Leeds-based distribution facility, prompted to Audio-Technica to reconsider the type of materials handling equipment it deployed within the Yorkshire store.
The Leeds warehouse offers some 2000 pallet locations, plus several thousand more SKU locations, within a very narrow aisle (VNA) racking system. Customer order picking is undertaken by warehouse personnel at every racking level except the top beam, which is used to hold bulk stock of full pallet loads of replenishment stock that is relocated as required by Flexi articulated trucks.
At pre-pandemic throughput rates traditional ladder-type access platforms had proved suitable for allowing picking staff access to pick faces within the racking aisles but at reduced efficiency. But as the Leeds based Audio-Technica’s online business grew, it became obvious that a more sophisticated approach was required to support the clear limitations of the manually manoeuvred mobile platforms.
After an in-depth review of the technology available on the market, Audio-Technica introduced the Easi-Pick – a mid-level vertical order picker from Narrow Aisle Ltd, manufacturer of the top-selling Flexi range of articulated forklift truck-based intralogistics solutions.
Designed specifically with e-fulfilment operations in mind, the Easi-Pick is a compact ride-on electric-powered vertical order picker that delivers hugely improved productivity and increased safety for warehouse staff as they undertake a range of picking duties at height within warehouse aisles.
Featuring a heavy-duty and exceptionally stable mast in combination with a spacious and ergonomically designed working platform, the Easi-Pick allows picking tasks to be carried out at heights of up to 6.5 metres, while its compact chassis design allows the unit to turn in racking aisles measuring just 1.6 metres wide.
To maximise productivity, the Easi-Pick trowel can be controlled by the operator in the raised position, thereby saving valuable minutes when travelling between picking locations throughout the warehouse.
A high-efficiency AC digital drive system can be programmed via the Easi-Pick’s onboard LCD dash to ensure travel and lift/lower speed restrictions are not exceeded, while power comes from a traction battery that supports charging from a standard single-phase 230V outlet.
John Maguire, managing director of Narrow Aisle Ltd, commented: “Audio-Technica has operated Flexi articulated forklift truck-based intralogistics solutions at its Leeds hub for several years and as an established supplier of truck-based customer order picking solution they didn’t hesitate to approach Narrow Aisle when it needed to improve order picking efficiency in VNA aisleways.
“With its compact dimensions allowing it to work safely within stores where very narrow aisle materials handling equipment is operating, the Easi-Pick is the ideal product for dedicated e-fulfilment operations or those sites where a mix of e-commerce order picking and trade account order replenishment picks are being made – as Audio Technica have discovered.”