2017 Productivity Achievement Awards

Modern’s annual Productivity Achievement Awards honor companies that have made exceptional operational improvement through materials handling systems.

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Each year, Modern’s Productivity Achievement Awards honor those companies that made outstanding operational improvements through materials handling systems and related information systems. Modern’s editorial team selects finalists from among the monthly system reports published by Modern in the previous year. A panel of industry experts then reviews the finalists in each category, selects a winner and explains his or her thoughts on what set each winning company apart.

Finalists in the Manufacturing and Warehousing/Distribution categories are recognized for their ability to provide outstanding customer service, quickly respond to changing business conditions, deliver orders that meet customer requirements, and improve operations. The Innovation category recognizes a company that successfully employed a solution that defies convention.

In addition to achievements in productivity, throughput or efficiency, winners were also judged on how projects inside the four walls enable or complement the broader business objectives of the company.

This year’s panel of Productivity Achievement Awards judges was: Brian K. Reaves, executive vice president of MHI; Norm Saenz, managing director of St. Onge Company; and Kimberly Ellis, associate professor with the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech and liaison to the MHI Board of Governors for the College Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE).

The judges were split this year, and they noted remarkable results from each of the finalists. The winners offer models for success in their respective fields as well as for the future of the industry as a whole.

The 2017 winners are:

Warehousing/Distribution Award:


Like many global companies, L’Oreal is facing new demands from its customers in a dynamic market. Robotic layer picking and slotting software are two of the tools the health and beauty leader is using to stay competitive.

Judges’ Comments:
“L’Oreal has addressed its internal challenges in distribution while also watching how global demand has been a key factor in how it supplies orders to both distributors and its direct customer base. L’Oreal has done a continuous evaluation of order fulfillment and product slotting to keep up with the demands of the future.”

Read the full article here…

Manufacturing Award:

VSP Global

VSP Global turned to automated storage and robotic piece picking to increase the throughput of its state-of-the-art optical lab in California.

Judges’ comments:
“VSP continues to lead the way in manufacturing by investing in leading technology to eliminate time between customer orders and the amount of employees it takes to create products. They have taken the time needed to not only understand their problems but to make sure their solutions will work.”

“They fundamentally changed their processes to meet their goals. First they manually implemented the changes and later they implemented automation in a unique way. They improved all of the measures described for the Productivity Achievement Awards.”

Read the full article here…

Innovation Award:

REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.)

Specialty outdoor retailer REI’s new distribution center brings together the next generation of materials handling and sustainability into one facility.

Judges’ comments:
“They integrated their corporate core values into both the design process and the design outcome of their distribution center. For example, they used a design charrette process to integrate input from key stakeholders and to incorporate important features such as energy efficiency and omnichannel fulfillment.”

“REI has taken innovation to the next level with their new DC. They have not only looked at what they need for best-in-class distribution to their customers, but also the impacts they can have on their employees and the environment.”

Read the full article here…

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