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Higher volumes, smaller parcels, maximum value

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The growth of the e-commerce sector continues to have a significant impact on parcel companies. Not only must rapid deliveries and later cut-off times be factored in, but the quantity of smaller-sized consignments (or ‘smalls’) has changed dramatically.


Rob Qualm

Postal and Parcel Market Director

Now, over 80% of consignments from large e-commerce companies weigh less than 2kg. In addition, e-commerce peaks require a high volume of single item orders to be handled, sorted, and delivered without delays or damages.

The main challenges are to cope with the increasing number of smalls and single-item orders, and handle these with a system that is also built to accommodate larger items. Some parcel companies require system layouts that can process up to 100,000 small items per hour and also accommodate quality differences in terms of packaging.

As such, they are looking to increase the existing capacity of their facilities, or build sorting centres with a higher throughput and reduced footprint.

For every situation, an optimal solution

The overall trend will be for automated solutions that can handle and sort a high volume of small items with different packaging. Not only have products become smaller and more numerous, but they are now presented in a variety of ways, such as polybags, flyers and cartons.

Sorting smalls at high capacities requires sophisticated sortation solutions. And these may themselves differ depending on the individual layout and situation at a sorting centre. However, it is impossible to embrace a ‘one solution fits all’ approach.

The challenge is to deliver a solution based on the individual needs of a project. These will need to factor in such criteria as sorting capacity, footprint and product characteristics. At Vanderlande, we already have a broad portfolio of sorters and work closely with our customers to identify the ideal solution for their needs.

Innovative technology

By anticipating market needs, we can provide optimised solutions that are also future-proof, adaptable and scalable. We offer a wide range of smalls sorters, such as the COMPAXORTER, CROSSORTER 700 and TRAYSORTER, which are all acknowledged for their reliability and high performance.

Vanderlande’s COMPAXORTER also benefits sortation centres through its small footprint, efficiency and reliability. It is a high-capacity solution for handling a wide range of products, from small packages to items of larger dimensions, and is particularly adept at handling different packaging materials.

The CROSSORTER 700 offers flexibility, high availability and an in-built redundancy. It can also sort a wider range of parcel dimensions compared to the TRAYSORTER and COMPAXORTER.

Cost-effective and with the ability to be used as a standalone solution, the modular design of the TRAYSORTER allows it to be equipped with various interchangeable trays to adapt to different product characteristics. This results in the smallest footprint per destination and offers a quick return on investment.

Creating maximum value

Owing to our vast experience, we completely understand what is required in a sortation facility. We don’t only focus on a single machine or process step, but always consider the overall solution. It is our full expectation that the e-commerce market will keep growing in parallel with the need for sortation equipment to handle smalls.

Due to the peaks and troughs associated with this sector, parcel businesses also have difficulty in precisely predicting future volume. This is why flexibility and scalability are so important in helping to achieve operational excellence. As an integrator, we’re excited to be reaching out to parcel companies in this way to define state-of-the-art solutions together.

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