Automation optimizes parts inventory for M/D Totco
For M/D Totco, the need for more manufacturing space was critical. After 25 years in the same location, its 250,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility in Cedar Park, Texas, was running out of space.
The leading supplier of control, instrumentation and well data systems for drilling activities worldwide, had introduced a broader product line over the years, necessitating an increased space for manufacturing, as well as requiring more space for servicing its leased and rented equipment which constitutes a sizable and growing segment of its business.
After a review of its facilities to determine options for space optimization, M/D Totco upgraded its main parts warehouse, manufacturing tool crib and electronics center warehouse. Manual, paper-based, shelf-inventory operations were converted into a highly streamlined, automated inventory and parts control system using shuttled vertical lift modules (VLMs).
This automated storage solution reduced space by 33% and opened 16,000 square feet of floor space to manufacturing. The new system also increased inventory accuracy and cut inventory labor hours allowing workers to be redeployed to other areas of the plant.
“We liked the idea of vertical storage for our inventory,” says Wilton Hockaday, inventory control and warehouse manager. “Reducing our inventory floor space to gain more manufacturing room was very attractive to us.”
The VLMs contain a vertical series of shuttled trays that are each 34 inches deep by 8 feet wide within a 30-foot-high vertical housing and each tray can hold up to 1,100 pounds of parts.
“We are very impressed with the VLM systems, they are fantastic for organizing our inventory and for freeing up floor space,” adds Hockaday. We were able to expand our operations without adding any infrastructure and without any additional capital costs for building or construction on our property.”
The warehouse had a fulfillment accuracy of approximately 98% prior to the use of the VLMs. After VLM installation, however, the order fulfillment accuracy rate jumped to 99.5%.
“The main warehouse VLMs have reduced staffing by two workers, down to 15, a 15% reduction in labor-hours,” Hockaday explains. “In total, the VLMs have enabled the reduction of more than 100 labor-hours per month from warehousing staff, which have been re-assigned to other needed areas of the plant.”
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