After pilot program, slotting solution takes flight

Rolled out in 18 months, software helps distributor improve productivity by 35%.

By ·

The 5,100 employees and 55 distribution centers of Owens & Minor allow it to provide medical and surgical supplies to more than 4,500 hospitals, integrated healthcare systems, alternate care locations and government agencies across the country. A few years back, the company recognized a need to upgrade its systems and solutions, as well as practices within the distribution centers.

“We were manually slotting the top 500 SKUs based on the frequency of picks,” says Charlie Winnagle, director of corporate operations at O&M. “This was difficult to keep current. At best, we updated annually.”

The company piloted a slotting solution at one of its facilities and according to Winnagle, “The results were incredible.” The site saw a 17% pick-up in productivity after adopting the slotting plan, and moved forward with a company-wide rollout.

The 18-month rollout required consideration of things like x/y axis, rack placement and slot size by type (bulk, handstack and small bin). This system allowed operations to create an active data map of each DC.

“We managed training the trainers, IT integration, capturing data for maps, and everything else in the time we wanted,” says Winnagle.

Following implementation in all facilities, productivity has improved by 35%. “Not all of the improvement can be attributed to the software,” says Winnagle. “However, we recognize that it played a pivotal role.”

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About the Author

Josh Bond, Contributing Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

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