Modula VLMs Free Up 40,000 Sq. Ft.

The Client & Objective

Our Client, a global electronic distribution center, had the good-fortune of its business volumes increasing to levels never before experienced.   They needed to figure out how to process more orders, more quickly while utilizing the existing space that was already relatively full.

The Challenges

  • With this rapid growth, management quickly realized their current material handling equipment and system wasn’t allowing them to operate as quickly or efficiently as they would like.
  • Despite the distribution center’s size of over 800,000 square feet, room was still at a premium and order picking personnel were touching orders multiple times and traveling extensively throughout the facility resulting in order errors and unacceptable lead times.

The Solution

MMCI started by meeting with employees ranging from managing directors to day-to-day operations-level employees to discuss and evaluate the challenges they were facing in handling the large influx of orders.

The first area they set out to correct was in the parcel shipping operation in which only 60 percent of their daily shipments were being filled on-time.  By installing new processes, overhead transfer conveyor and other specialized self-sorting conveyors we increased capacity from 3.4 boxes per minute to nearly 25 boxes per minute with increased accuracy.

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However, space was still at a premium. So, we then installed 12 vertical lift modules (VLMs) and a goods-to-worker picking process that streamlined operations and allowed us to optimize floor space by taking advantage of the high ceilings in their facility. We also implemented a pick-to-light conveyor system and self-delivered totes that shuttled directly to the operators at the VLM locations.

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The Results

The use of the VLM and pick-to-light conveyor systems reduce travel time related to picking to 1/16 of its previous time and freed up over 40,000 square feet of floor space. Also, since the new system only required 4 operators and integrated with the existing pack-out stations, throughput increased by 40% while labor costs decreased by over 50%.

Best of all, the ROI of the complete implementation was less than 16 months.

How Can We Help?

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