Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Casebook 2011: Automated order fulfillment system provides for growth

Strained distributor improves speed and accuracy from the warehouse to the store shelf.
By Josh Bond, Associate Editor
December 29, 2010

Dallas-based Michaels Stores, the world’s largest retailer of arts and crafts, was rapidly growing, but the growth had its supply chain bursting at the seams. To handle the growth, Michaels’ senior management called on its logistics team to develop a solution that could support the company’s long-term inventory management initiatives and shorten order fulfillment times.

The team at Michaels aimed to reduce direct-to-store shipments and the overall number of SKUs held in total inventory at any one time. A new 690,000-square-foot automated DC in New Lenox, Ill., was proposed to serve the chain’s Midwestern and Canadian expansion. The cornerstone of the Michaels’ supply chain optimization plan was a change in order fulfillment operations to complement the company’s supply chain initiatives.

To simplify in-store receiving, an order fulfillment system was designed to pick, pack and ship items by departments corresponding to store planograms. This system (Intelligrated, 866-936-7300, http://www.intelligrated.com) dramatically reduced in-store replenishment time and cost, freeing up staff to better serve customers.

The pick-to-light and control system guides eight pickers at 13,100 pick locations throughout the DC, managing both full and split case picking and conveyor zones to maximize efficiency and minimize the number of touches per case. Tight integration with the warehouse management system enables a perpetual inventory fulfillment/replenishment cycle and ensures order accuracy, labor management and real-time information.

The DC also uses pick-and-pass motorized roller conveyor that scans and transfers open items or totes to conveyors feeding product pick zones, minimizing walk times and improving order fulfillment accuracy.

Picking accuracy at the DC now runs at 99.5%, and the system incorporates the flexibility needed to accommodate the company’s continued growth and expansion.

About the Author

image
Josh Bond
Associate Editor

Josh Bond is an associate editor to Modern. Josh was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and contributing editor, has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce.


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

Transportation & Logistics companies are winning customers and improving profitability by taking a fresh look at their operations. Don't miss this brand new ebook from Barcoding, Inc. and Honeywell, "Automating Transportation and Logistics: How automation and assessment programs are helping T&L companies cut costs, increase cash, and improve customer experience."

After 53 years in Jonesboro, Ark., the company will add new manufacturing capabilities and 75 permanent jobs.

Loscam, Asia Pacific’s leading pallet pooling service provider, recently opened a new depot in Kota Kinabalu, capital city of the state of Sabah Malaysia, further extending its services to East Malaysia.

The PMI, the ISM’s index to measure growth inched up 0.7 percent to 53.5 over May’s 52.8 (a PMI of 50 or greater represents growth). This reading marks sequential growth for the third month in a row.

More than 30 leading suppliers of reusable products and services will be available in the Reusable Packaging Pavilion. The exhibitors include manufacturers, material suppliers, providers of washing and other specialty equipment, and service providers of reusable packaging systems and solutions.



© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA