Amway delivers the goods
As a leading direct selling company, Amway manufactures more than 450 products in nutrition, beauty, personal care and home care. The company recently opened an order fulfillment center in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., which supports 17% of the company’s sales totalling nearly $121 million annually. To improve order accuracy and customer service, Amway wanted to update an aging system that relied on manual processes and did not provide an easy method to track packages.
The new 155,000-square-foot California Regional Service Center features a warehouse control system (WCS) that enables Amway to achieve its goal of better customer service by providing increased picking efficiency and accuracy, as well as the visibility necessary to monitor and track all cartons in the system. Such visibility is extremely beneficial for the company’s pickup business, where customers come to the facility to pick up an order in person.
“The new WCS has helped us improve customer service, increase productivity, and decrease customer wait times,” says Lindsay Rappold, regional manager of distribution at Amway.
Amway’s warehouse management system (WMS) groups orders into waves and downloads the order information to the WCS, which routes them throughout the picking zones. The conveyor system provides execution of the routing instructions provided by the WCS—eliminating the need to manually move product through the system.
Although the system is primarily an each-pick solution, certain containers are first diverted to a full-case picking area. Heavier, bulkier items can be placed at the bottom of an empty picking container before the container heads back to the primary pick-to-light area. There, the fastest moving products are stored in pallet- and carton-flow shelving with a pick-and-pass methodology, which saves time by eliminating the need for each operator to scan an order. Slower moving products are stored in a static shelving area directly after the pick-to-light area and are processed in batches with voice picking.
“Our employees love the new system and would never want to go back to the way we used to do things,” Rappold adds.
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