Beverage Industry

Beverage Industry – Dunkirk, NY

Beverage Manufacturer Dunkirk, NYThe Situation:

A major juice bottler has an expanding business base, SKU proliferation, and a warehouse out of capacity.

The beverage manufacturer was leasing outside storage locally at cheap rates but still had great challenges in coordinating the tightly scheduled deliveries of over 90 tractor trailer loads a day with less than 27 dock doors available in a narrow & busy parking lot. The current layout yielded 7,000 pallet positions of selective racks and 1,100 pallet positions of 12 deep-lane pallet flow racks. The current facility had used all available land and there was no room for expansion.

The Challenge:

The beverage manufacturer is a growing company investing in production capacity technology – an SAP WMS system – so they had a limited budget for a warehouse consolidation/expansion project. Also, the beverage manufacturer is a high volume bottler running three shifts per day, leaving little room for warehouse racks, reconfiguration, and new construction without interrupting the day-to-day operations.

The Objective:

To develop a means by which warehouse pallet storage capacity could be expanded without compromising selectivity requirements. A key factor in any capital equipment expenditures was to close short-term leases of off-site warehouse space. A by-product of the warehouse consolidation/expansion project was to improve the ability of the warehouse D to service the expanding volume and increase the number of inventory turns they could get annually. There was also a mandate to client truck call-ins for order pickup to be fully loaded within two hours of notification by drivers.

The Solution:

Several companies were invited to bid and several solutions were developed.

Direct Distribution Resource was selected for the project. In collaboration with the client, we had several suppliers produce portions of the required material handling equipment. With a busy manufacturing schedule, the beverage manufacturer operations selected Greg Herzog to project manage virtually all the daily aspects of the implementation. This freed their staff up to ready themselves for a WMS switch-over, train associates on how the new system would work, and do the needed equipment training.

A complete re-configuration of the existing rack system was the best way to go. A very narrow aisle turret truck layout with over 800 foot-long runs (with three main intersecting cross aisles), coming right off of the production lines was designed. To allow for some tractor trailers to be loaded within one hour of pulling up, an expanded order staging area was created to utilize more of the 12 deep pallet flow and three deep push back racks.

The new layout yielded over 14,600 pallet positions in the same square footage, eliminating any need for an off-site bricks-and-mortar expansion. This 108% increase in pallet storage capacity was going to be difficult to implement at a busy production facility, so Greg Herzog of Direct Distribution Resource was called in to assist with the project management as well.

A new fleet of sit-down forklifts was purchased to service inbound and outbound P&Ds and the dock areas. Six turret trucks were ordered, along with several double-length walkie riders to enhance productivity throughout the plant. In the dock area, the staging racks were designed to accommodate double-wide forklift carriages to further increase productivity in the loading of trailers.

Direct Distribution Resource was to handle the rack construction, fire protection modifications, electrical lighting modifications, wire guidance coordination, coordination with the beverage manufacturer team on the WMS implementation, bar code labels, and daily coordination with the beverage manufacturer warehouse management staff. The work was to be done on Saturday to Wednesday on the 3:00 PM to midnight shift to mitigate the potential for interference with warehouse operations.

The Results:

Over a six-week period, the six-phase implementation plan transformed the beverage manufacturer warehouse. By the fourth phase, the extra gains in pallet position capacity actually began to make the project flow very smoothly. The warehouse operation, once the bottleneck of the beverage manufacturer’s ability to service and grow, is now the future model for the other beverage manufacturing facilities. A 108% increase in storage capacity!

Their engineering manager and Sr. management team both agreed, “now that it is operational, we can see the investment will produce even a better payback than originally anticipated. Direct Distribution Resource’s team did a great job in some very difficult circumstances.”