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Dankso: Optimized storage and fast picking

In Dansko’s new 200,000-square-foot distribution center, conventional full case picking and mobile robotic split case picking come together for an efficient, ergonomic and unique solution.
By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
October 01, 2013

Dansko LLC,
West Grove, Pa.

Size: 200,000 square feet
Products: Shoes and promotional items
SKUs: 4,000 active SKUs
Throughput: 1,500 cartons per day, which equals 18,000 to 20,000 pairs of shoes per day
Employees: 70
Shifts per day/days per week: 1.5 shifts, 5 days per week.

Receiving: When containers arrive at the receiving dock (1), cases are unloaded onto a conveyor and delivered to a quality assurance and staging area (2).

Once the cases are opened and the contents verified, they are scanned by an inventory control associate and palletized 28 cases to a pallet. A license plate bar code label is applied and completed pallets are staged for putaway into storage.

Storage: The warehouse management system (WMS) determines if the product will be sent to reserve storage (3) or is needed to replenish the mobile robot Kiva picking system (5).

  • Reserve storage: Storage in the reserve area (3) is not directed by the WMS. Instead, an associate scans a pallet in the staging area, chooses an open storage location in the pallet rack and then scans the location bar code on the rack to confirm the storage location and completion of the task. The pallet is now available in the WMS. Some items are stored in a slow-moving storage and picking area (4).

Mobile robotic picking system: Pallets with product for the Kiva picking system (5) are delivered to a replenishment station (6) and dropped onto an accumulation conveyor. An operator scans the bar code label on a pallet and the label on a case. The operator then places an electronic puck on the case that communicates with the Kiva system. The system sends the appropriate storage pod for that case. When the pod arrives, a laser light indicates which shelf the case should be placed on for storage. The operator confirms the task by pressing a button on the pod. The inventory is now available in the WMS.

Picking: Just as there are two storage processes, there are also two picking processes: One for full case picking from the reserve storage area (3) and another for split case picking from the Kiva picking system (5).

  • Full case picking: Pick tickets with storage locations for the cases required for an order are distributed to order selectors. Cases are picked to a pallet from the reserve storage area (3) and are then dropped at an induction station (7) for a spiral conveyor. The conveyor transports cases to an order processing area (8) on the mezzanine. Some items will be picked from the slow-moving storage area (4).
  • Mobile robotic picking system: Orders for mixed cases are filled by the Kiva picking system (5). Mobile robots bring storage pods to a work station area (9) where order selectors work on six orders at a time. Lights point to a shelf on the inventory pod while a display indicates how many items are required for the order. Once a shipping case is complete, the order selector places it on a conveyor (10) that will transport it to the mezzanine level for order processing (8).

Processing: Once an order is complete, cases are sent to the order processing area on the mezzanine (8) where cartons are finalized with any customer service requirements. Once that is complete, parcel shipments are conveyed (11) to a manifest station (12) where a FedEx or UPS shipping label is applied.

Orders that are shipped by truck are automatically taped and then sorted to one of five shipping lanes (13) based on the shipping method.
UPS orders are conveyed directly into a trailer (14). FedEx or truck shipments are manually palletized and loaded onto a trailer. 

System suppliers
Systems integrator and warehouse control system: enVista
Picking system: Kiva Systems
Conveyor/sortation: Hytrol
ERP: Microsoft Dynamics (Navision)
WMS: Lanham Associates
Lift trucks: Crown
Mobile computing and bar code scanning: Motorola Solutions
Rack: REB Storage Systems

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.


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