How Kenco manages service parts

Very narrow aisle racking and system-directed picking result in efficient storage, accurate inventories and virtually error-free picking.

By ·

Kenco, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Size: 478,000 square feet
Products: Spare parts
Throughput: 1,800 to 2,000 lines per day
Employees: 80
Shifts per day/days per week: 2 shifts per day, 5 days per week

Kenco turned to a combination of floor storage, very narrow aisle racking and conveyor to optimize a conventional warehouse dedicated to spare parts order fulfillment. The facility picks and ships approximately 1,800 lines per day.

  • Receiving: Product arrives at the receiving docks (1) in a variety of ways, including small parcel, less-than-truckload (LTL) and full truckload shipments.

  • Small parcel: The facility receives about 120 small parcel deliveries a day. These are scanned and compared against an electronic purchase order. Most of them will have to be packaged before they are put away into storage. For that reason, they are placed on a pallet and then delivered by forklift to the packaging area (2). Once packaged, they are staged for putaway into one of several storage areas (3, 4, 5, 6).

  • LTL and full-truckload shipments: Pallets on LTL and full-truckload shipments are unloaded, scanned and compared against an electronic purchase order. Once they are received in the warehouse management system (WMS), they are tagged with a license plate bar code label and sent directly to a storage location (3,4,5,6).

Storage: Product is stored in four different types of areas. Pallets are stored on the floor in bulk storage areas (3), in very narrow aisle (VNA) rack storage areas (4), or in a VNA bulk storage area (5).

Small parts are stored in very narrow aisle, dense rack storage area (6). To initiate the storage process, a lift truck operator scans a bar code label on the paperwork associated with a pallet. The WMS directs the operator to a storage location. There, the operator scans a location bar code label and the bar code associated with that pallet to confirm that the pallet was put away in the right storage location. 

Picking: Since this facility is filling orders for spare parts, the typical order is just two lines and 1.2 items per line—or a total of 2 to 3 items per order. For that reason, one associate is responsible for picking all of the lines in a multi-line order. The picking process is initiated when an order selector scans a bar code on a pick list. The WMS will identify the locations and items to be picked for the first order. Items in the very narrow aisle storage areas (4) are accessed with a turret truck while items in normal aisle storage areas (3) are accessed with a lift truck. Small parts stored in the dense racking storage area (6) are picked and scanned to a tote and larger items are picked and scanned to a pallet. Meanwhile, the largest items are stored on a pallet.

Packing and shipping: After picking, product is conveyed to packout stations in the shipping area (7) area to be prepared for shipping. One conveyor line handles small parcel shipments (8) while another conveyor line conveys LTL shipments (9). Smaller orders are packaged and sealed. Pallets are wrapped for shipment. Once they are packaged and ready to ship, small parcel packages are conveyed directly into a truck in the shipping docks (10). Similarly, palletized orders are removed from the conveyor and loaded onto an outbound trailer (10).

System suppliers
System integrator, warehouse control and warehouse management systems: Kenco, developed in-house.
Pallet rack and very narrow aisle rack: Ridg-U-Rak
Lift trucks: Toyota Material Handling U.S.A.



About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

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
Hydrogen, the Future of Materials Handling
Large, successful organizations are integrating hydrogen fuel cell technology into their lift truck fleets and benefiting from lower operational costs, reduced emissions and improved reliability.
Download Today!
From the October 2016 Issue
Brownells’ new Iowa distribution center has taken touches—and miles—out of the order fulfillment process and increased throughput with near 100% accuracy.
System Report: Brownells new DC is flexible and responsive
Pallet Usage Report: Pallets Remain Critical in the Modern-Day Warehouse
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Pallets: Supporting Product, Processes and the Enterprise
The smallest leak in performance or cost can bring a lean, nimble and speedy supply chain to a halt. During this 30-minute webcast we'll examine how Modern's readers use pallets to keep the wheels turning as they maneuver a road filled with sharp edges and potholes.
Register Today!
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...

American Eagle Outfitters’ omni-channel journey
The fashion retailer has used warehouse execution software and automation to create a true...
The data-driven lift truck
Now that manufacturers and distributors are using the data from their automated systems to drive...