Web Based E-Commerce Order Fulfillment

Mail Order Web Based Fulfillment

Mail Order CompanyA $950-million-per-year gift merchandise mail order company that currently operates out of six buildings in Florida seeks to expand a major Distribution Center operation. Consolidating the six buildings would allow orders to be picked completely without risk of the Distribution Center’s forward pick “stock outs,” which can easily happen in multi-site operations

The Challenge:

Design and develop a system with great flexibility that can handle the diverse needs of constantly changing SKU physical attributes and dramatic fluctuations in SKU volume that change as catalogs phase through startup, peak, and decline.

The Objective:

Stay operational through the huge transition of six buildings into one mega facility of 940,000 square feet.

Due to limitations of land availability nearby, a 32-acre parcel was selected which could house an irregularly shaped building that could accommodate real revenue growth.

The Solution:

Most product’s are received from floor-loaded sea containers where the pallet unit loads are built manually. Quality control is done in the dock staging area or shuttled to a QC area in times of high volume. High-volume seasonal items and catalog replenishments SKUs are stored in reserve. A double-deep rack system housing 43,000 pallets was designed.

The “demand product” SKUs were sent right to forward pick. Each catalog of 1,400 – 1,700 SKUs is housed in a forward pick module, consisting of gravity carton flow.

The forward pick layout accommodating higher volume SKU is to have replenishment cases stayed directly behind the forward pick slot in a palletized load.

Popular single line orders are directed to a “put” system area to increase pick productivity on all of those orders. Slower catalog SKUs and catalog “leftovers” are stored in an 8,000 pallet position, VNA turret truck storage area for slower moving items. This area has full and half-slot openings to handle high-volume peak periods, and full-case pick to belt modules were put in to keep up with high-volume items. These items were then sorted and waves were developed where pre-sorted pallets optimized geographic replenishment zones so that they could keep the 120,000 orders a day going out smoothly.

All orders, after being picked, are conveyed to an upper level and checked 100% before being sorted for shipment, where 72 packing stations handle the volume.

During peak times, the system handles 120,000 orders a day while receiving 70 to 90 truckloads of product each day. That’s an incredibly high throughput!

The Results:

  • A dramatic 70% decrease in back orders due to forward pick stock outs
  • Elimination of inter-facility trucking costs and overhead associated with inter-facility transportation
  • A 20% reduction in work force
  • A 36% reduction in shrinkage and product damage
  • Ability to increase customer satisfaction levels by being more efficient