Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Conveyor is perfect fit for clothing retailer

Motorized driven roller conveyor is tailored to suit the needs of high-end apparel retailer Christopher & Banks.
By Noël P. Bodenburg, Executive Managing Editor
September 17, 2010

Some retailers bank on steep markdowns to move merchandise. Christopher & Banks, a retailer of specialty women’s apparel with 789 stores in 46 states, strives to keep customers coming back with frequent additions of new clothing on the racks. Faced with aging equipment, a paper picking system and an inefficient work flow, maintaining a steady flow of product had become a challenge. The Plymouth, Minn.-based company determined that upgrades were needed to continue to support just in time delivery and direct-to-consumer fulfillment operations.

The 200,000-square-foot DC was retrofitted with a semi-automated fulfillment process that eliminates manual lifting and floor clutter, and provides a safer, quieter solution.

“This DC has been transformed from a dark, inefficient building into a much more vibrant workplace,” says Mike Tripp, vice president of supply chain and logistics. “By the end of the project we had in our possession a cleaner and more efficient operation that increased associate safety, productivity and morale, along with an impressive return on investment.

Once individual store orders are complete, cartons are now pushed onto a central take-away belt conveyor to a two-level motor driven roller conveyor (Intelligrated, 877-315-3400, http://www.intelligrated.com). Featuring run-on-demand independent zones and zero-pressure accumulation, this conveyor reduces wear and energy usage, eliminates product jams and allows for the entire length of the conveyor to be filled. Order picking continues independently of shipping activity. Cartons continue to a central merge and sorter where they are routed to one of three shipping lanes. On each shipping lane, cartons are automatically sealed, then weighed and labeled at a workstation and conveyed directly into a trailer at the shipping dock doors.

The system achieved an ROI in 10 months. The company increased productivity in the shipping department by 160% and reduced labor requirements. They improved turn-time by 50%, increased accuracy to 99.9%, increased shipping productivity by 160%, and reduced noise and ergonomics concerns.

About the Author

image
Noël P. Bodenburg
Executive Managing Editor

Noël P. Bodenburg, executive managing editor, has been with Modern Materials Handling and Material Handling Product News since 2006. She is a graduate of Boston University. Prior to joining the Supply Chain Group magazines, Noël worked as a production and managing editor at other industry business-to-business publications.


Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Supply chain visibility is the Holy Grail for warehouses and distribution centers where the fast and efficient movement of goods is the solution to satisfying customer demand. This is especially true for the 68% of companies which are not satisfied with material movement efficiency from source to destination. These companies are seeking new ways to get the right goods to the right place at the right time. They are finding that change, complexity, compliance, competition, and connectivity are leading to further confusion.

Instead of ignoring a forklift fleet and its associated costs, asking the right questions can lead to substantial savings.

This white paper outlines five ways to increase profits with automation. By implementing automated storage and retrieval equipment-such as horizontal carousels, vertical carousels and vertical lift modules, multiple areas of a manufacturing or distribution facility will benefit from savings in inventory accessibility, floor space, time, improved ergonomics and better accuracy.

Citing difficult winter weather, executives anticipate the release of pent-up demand.

First edition takes place in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 9-12, 2014.

Article Topics

· Automation · Conveyors · Intelligrated · All topics