Numina Material Handling Assists CDW with Combined Automated Scanning and Labeling Technology to Streamline High-Volume, Full-Case Picking

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Numina Group's One-Step Fulfillment System, including print-and-apply labeling coupled with advanced barcode recognition technology, creates major savings that automates application of packing slips and shipping labels to full-case cartons.

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Speed and accuracy are essential factors we use in evaluating distribution process improvements. Our mission is to optimize our operations to ensure quality, accurate, next day deliveries for customer orders

CDW Corporation has a customer-centric philosophy of responding to their customers needs with a sense of urgency. As one of North America's leading providers of computer systems, technology and services for business, government, and education, that philosophy is demonstrated by a commitment to developing and applying the latest advancement in material handling automation at their Distribution Centers.

"Speed and accuracy are essential factors we use in evaluating distribution process improvements. Our mission is to optimize our operations to ensure quality, accurate, next day deliveries for customer orders," stated Doug Eckrote, senior vice president of operations.

Those objectives led the CDW team to improve on their advanced full-case picking process.

In the past, CDW warehouse workers picked by individual orders, using pre-printed labels and packing slips to label cartons. Using hand scanners, they would scan the product number to make sure that was the right item, and additionally scan the serial number. Because the location of the serial number bar code could be on any side of the carton, the picker had to search multiple sides of a carton before locating it. Capturing the information and then hand applying the shipper label and the packing slip could take up to 45 to 60 seconds.

To develop and integrate the technology needed for such an innovative solution, CDW turned to The Numina Group, a Burr Ridge IL-based system integrator and material handling automation provider.

Numina provided the Panther Industries Print-and-Apply Applicators, its RDS TRAK3 real-time control software, Vitronics Vision Scanning Tunnel and teamed with Matco Integrators who supplied the material handling conveyor belt and mechanical modification for the carton transportation and tracking to support the auto identification and labeling applications.

Today, after cartons flow onto the shipping conveyor they arrive at the Scan Tunnel, where the Vitronic Camera System scans all sides of the case, and captures the product ID and serial number barcodes. The barcode data is transmitted by the Numina RDS control system to the CDW warehouse management System. That system validates the case pick and transmits the labeling requirements and content for both the packing slip and shipper label required for each case. Immediately after the Scan Tunnel, an automated labeling system consisting of dual Panther Industries print-and-apply label applicators are used to apply a combination packing slip and shipping label to order shipments.

"If an extra carton or a picking error occurs the data from the Scan Tunnel sent to the warehouse management system is used to check and validate all case picks match the currently active orders," explains Numina president Dan Hanrahan. "If the case is a miss pick or a no-read condition occurs the case will not be labeled and will be diverted as a 'not assigned pick' to an inspection-exception station for human disposition."

CDW’s Eckrote summarized the substantial improvements in material handling automation: "Essentially, we've reduced the pick labor by approximately 60 percent on full-case items," he says. "This has proven to be the right technology to increase throughput at our operations while improving productivity and enhancing accuracy."

For more information:

Dan Hanrahan

Numina Group

60 Shore Drive,

Burr Ridge, IL 60527

Phone: (630) 323-0110

Web site:

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