Wine & Spirits – General Merchandise

Beverage Industry Distribution

Wine & SpiritsOne of the nation’s largest wholesale liquor and wine distributors had experienced strong regional growth and was looking for fulfillment expansion capability in its current Southeast Distribution Center to help bridge the 24-month gap between a new mega-DC being designed & planned.

The Challenge:

To clear out a critical 30,000 sq. ft. area in a Distribution Center and then quickly install a unique two-level, full-case pick module without interrupting the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week Distribution Center operation.

For the project to be a success, we needed to have significant contractor trade overlap in order to be 100% complete in three weeks.

Sensible budget constraints forced the team to focus on pre-owned equipment where it made sense. This allowed for a strong ROI, but it also made the engineering coordination a challenging one, as we needed to co-mingle “used” and new pick module equipment.

The Objective:

To clear the area and have conveyor fire protection and racks work simultaneously and have pick module construction completed and ready to load racks in four weeks.

The module creates approximately 144 new SKU faces of four-deep pallet flow, for medium- and high-volume SKUs. 576 pick area pallets could be stored in the new forward pick module.

The Solution:

The high-volume SKUs are four deep, one SKU per lane. Then the medium- and slow-volume lanes have a 30-inch aisle between the lanes. This allows for four different SKUs in each lane to be accessed via an auxiliary pick aisle that gives access to the sides of each pallet in the lane. It also gives the great flexibly for slotting varying SKU order demand.

Another goal with this forward pick module was to balance the nightly pick demand without jamming the existing pick area. This was accomplished by allocating super high-volume SKUs. This approach also enabled them to balance volume with waves to handle peak volume at key scan, merge, and sort points.

The Results:

Although the module manufacturer design was custom-built, they managed to ship in less than eight weeks, which allowed the warehouse management systems and the client to coordinate their needed software changes.

The system was substantially complete in three weeks after shipment, and we went through system debugging in a week.

Our system helps the nation’s largest liquor distributor support regional growth for two years while additional expansion plans are solidified. Old bottlenecks in pack pick shifts have been eliminated. Due to double slotting of SKUs, higher volume items rarely incur “in shift stock-outs.”