Empire Merchants overhaul prepares company for future growth

Distributor replaces paper system for improved accuracy and productivity.

By ·

Empire Merchants, a leading distributor of wine and spirits in metro New York, was facing growing order fulfillment and maintenance problems with a 35-year-old paper-based, manual console-merge system. Managers knew they needed to invest in a new warehouse control system that would allow them to be more competitive and better meet customer delivery schedules. A comprehensive wave-pick overhaul included new conveyors and scanners, and has contributed to a manifold increase in cases per hour.

“Our entire system was simply antiquated,” says John Magliocco, chairman for Empire Merchants. “We were struggling to keep up with the volume demands and service levels that were being dictated by our customers.”

The 500,000-square-foot Brooklyn facility consists of five contiguous buildings, which have multiple floor elevations and roof lines. System installation required substantial building rework including the building of a new shipping dock and the installation of a concrete mezzanine.

Much of the system’s nearly 5 miles of conveyor is accumulation conveyor, which provides a buffer for optimal operations. As the cases leave the picking, photo-eye sensor accumulators are utilized in all of the key merge areas to allow for maximum release efficiency, speed and gap control.

The new wave-picking system coordinates order and shipping details for 16 separate pick lines. The operators affix a bar code to each case, which is scanned before a case exits each module. On the split-case pick line, completed cases are also shrink-wrapped before being transferred to a different area. Cases are scanned, photographed and verified at least six times from the pick station to the dock doors. These steps increase accuracy and reduce problems downstream.

An empty carton monorail travels through the pick area and is equipped with an automatic trash blow off device that automatically feeds an outside trash compactor. Reusable empty cartons are circulated on the monorail for future orders.

Multiple waves are on the conveyor system at any given time throughout the night shift and they are processed sequentially and fluidly, achieving rates of 10,000 cases per hour during peak demand. Both system breakage and non-conveyable cases have virtually been eliminated.

W&H Systems
201-933-7840
http://www.whsystems.com

Read more Casebook 2013


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.

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!

Latest Whitepaper
Download the full 2016 Modern Materials Handling Salary Survey
How does your earning power match up with your peers across the material handling industry? Materials Handling salary survey, Warehouse manager salary survey, Warehouse Salary Research
Download Today!
From the November 2016 Issue
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to the line. The result is a more consistent, efficient and safer operation.
Optimizing home delivery: It takes more than planning
9th Annual Salary Survey: Success and Satisfaction Continue to Reign
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Systems Report: Whirpool puts mobile robots to work
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to...
Modern Materials Handling’s 2017 Casebook Collection
The 2017 Casebook features more than 35 case studies that put the spotlight on successful innovation...

Brownells: Designing for Efficiency and Growth
Brownells’ new Iowa distribution center has taken touches—and miles—out of the order...
Industry celebrates National Manufacturing Day
Fourth annual Manufacturing Day is a grassroots effort by U.S. manufacturers to improve the public...