Automated Carton Routing Reduces Labor and Eliminates Material Handling Errors in High Volume Split-Case Shipping

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Numina Group’s Realtime Distribution System combined with its Vision Pack & Audit System achieves high-volume split-case pick routing with 100% order validation.

CDW wanted improved order throughput, picking validation, and reduced labor in order processing for both the split-case and full-case order fulfillment process

CDW, one of the world’s leading distributors of computer equipment, needed a system with the ability to deliver high volume, accurate, order fulfillment for item-level shipments. To meet the demand of their increased order volume, an advanced pick-to- carton process with the ability to process 30,000 to 50,000 a day split-case orders was developed and installed at the new North Las Vegas distribution center. In addition, CDW wanted an automated means to validate the customer shipments to prevent shipping errors.

To obtain the latest material handling automation technology for the project, CDW enlisted the services of Numina Group, a system integrator and material handling automation provider that provided the controls and automation at its existing Distribution Center

“CDW wanted improved order throughput, picking validation, and reduced labor in order processing for both the split-case and full-case order fulfillment process,” says Dan Hanrahan, Numina Group President. “CDW demands a fast order fulfillment process that lowers the cost while eliminating the picking errors, by validating what is shipped to its customers. Picking was improved and order fulfillment time and labor reduced across the whole operation including customer service labor costs by eliminating sources of error and validating shipments.”

Numina collaborated with the CDW Operation and WMS Development Team and Matco Distributors to design an order-demand-driven Warehouse Execution and Control System (WCS). The WCS manages carton construction and delivery, as well as order pick routing through a bank of 36 pick zone storage modules. The system also incorporated automated pick weight and image capture of case contents. A Packing Sorter at the exit to the process is used to route pick completed cartons to automated sealing as well as special handling and inspection lanes. The validated and sealed cases are then routed to a series of three print and apply labeling systems that automatically apply packing slip and shipping labels prior to shipping.

Numina's Real-time Distribution System (RDS) manages the entire operation along with the intelligent carton routing, pick validation and labeling process at the new 600,000 square foot facility. RDS combines the real-time control and decision logic for the conveyor control and other material handling equipment while simultaneously communicating with level II and III enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems such as SAP and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS). RDS is a proven automation platform with a collection of software resources, sub-systems, methodologies and application templates that allow quick implementation of warehouse control and execution requirements for automated material handling and distribution centers.

In CDW’s new split-case process, RDS receives customer order routing instructions from the warehouse management system, and routes empty cartons (automatically built by a bank of five Auto-Carton Erectors) to the initial order pick zone. Each customer order is automatically routed only to zones where picks are required, eliminating redundant handling labor and reducing order completion time. The carton route path is tracked, verified and recorded throughout the picking process.

Using Numina’s RDS and Zone Routing and box Demand Module, intelligent carton and pick routing provides distribution operations tremendous savings on labor and order fulfillment time.

As a carton exits the picking area, it travels across an in-motion weigh station where the weight is validated against the estimated order weight. If the case passes, the weight is transmitted to the warehouse management system. While the carton is being weighed Numina’s VPAKS Vision Pack & Audit System captures a digital image of the inside carton contents to visually validate each carton’s contents.

The new CDW material handling system not only processes split-case orders, but includes an automated full-case pick, validate, and label system for automating the fulfillment process for full-case orders, increasing throughput while reducing pick labor by approximately 60 percent.

For more information:

Dan Hanrahan

Numina Group

60 Shore Drive,

Burr Ridge, IL 60527

Phone: (630) 323-0110

Web site: http://www.numinagroup.com

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