The LINCC Library Services office, while not a library itself, serves as a centralized sorting facility for the 13 member libraries. Patrons borrow freely between libraries, and materials need to be routed back to their owning libraries or moved to fill holds at other locations. When this sorting was manual, member libraries had to maintain separate totes for each of the other member libraries (12 total totes, at minimum); this resulted in many half-filled totes, which had to be re-sorted and combined by the drivers in the delivery trucks during their daily route. In addition, to wear and tear on materials and physical stresses on drivers, this opened a second opportunity for misrouting due to human error.
As part of a larger RFID initiative, LINCC chose to implement automated materials handling at its centralized sorting location and added the Lyngsoe Tote Check-in Server™ Software, to extend the benefits of centralized sorting to each library location. A 27 bin Lyngsoe Sort Mate™ system with staff feeds was custom-designed, efficiently using available space while leaving Materials Handling staff enough room for other work. Two of LINCC’s member libraries also took the opportunity to implement AMH systems in their locations, increasing the efficiency of central sorting.
By switching to AMH and implementing a centralized sort, and by giving member libraries the ability to scan in an entire tote of materials with a single click, LINCC saw improvements in efficiency and staff response was overwhelmingly positive. Centralized sort removed the need for staff at member libraries to pre-sort materials; totes are filled to capacity and sorted later, reducing the number of totes picked up at each member library and reducing the number of totes each library needs to store and fill. Drivers are relieved from combining half-full totes in the backs of trucks, reducing their delivery circuit time, removing a touch point and additional wear and tear on materials.
In the first two months that LINCC has been running their AMH central sorting system, they have seen an estimated 30% decrease in the number of totes needed to move around the system, and drivers on the two delivery routes have reduced driving and in-motion sorting time by 22%.
Josh Wolfe, Materials Handling Supervisor, reports that member libraries have expressed how much easier moving to centralized sorting has made the materials handling aspect of their work.