Inside Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits’ DC: Meeting customer service requirements

Shuttle and case dispensing technologies help Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits keep up with demand in one of the most competitive markets in the country.

By ·

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Syosset, N.Y.
SKUS: 13,000
Throughput: 10 million cases annually
Employees: 150
Shifts per day/Days per week: 3 shifts per day/5 days per week; 7 days per week during peak

Using shuttle technology and a unique case dispensing system, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits is moving nearly 10 million cases a year through its Syosset, N.Y., distribution center, with most customers demanding next-day delivery.


The facility receives (1) 10 million cases a year, which are delivered in truckload and container quantities. The facility receives 40 trucks a day during normal periods and as many as 50 per day during peak. Most product is received on slip sheets and transferred to pallets that receive a license plate bar code that is used by the warehouse management system (WMS) to determine a putaway location. Once received, pallets are staged for storage.


The putaway process is directed by the WMS. Depending on whether there is an immediate demand for product, pallets may be scanned into a rack or floor location in reserve storage (2); delivered to one of the case pick lines (3); or cases can be sent directly to the bottle pick room (4) where they are scanned into a location for split case picking, or conveyed to the shuttle system (5), where they are automatically inducted into the system.


During the day, pick locations are replenished according to rules that determine minimum and maximum inventory levels by SKU in the various picking areas; at night, during the active picking hours, pick locations are replenished according to demand.


There are four distinct picking processes in the facility.

  1. Case dispenser: The case dispenser area (6) is dedicated to the fastest-moving items in the facility and typically accounts for 20% of the nightly picking volume. Each line is fed by 24 accumulation lanes—or a total of 48 lanes across the two lines—with each lane dedicated to a specific SKU. Once picking begins, SKUs from the accumulation lanes are dispensed onto the takeaway conveyor as needed. Cases are automatically labeled with order and shipping information and then inducted onto the sortation system (7). Lights alert associates when an accumulation lane needs to be replenished.
  2. Traditional case pick: The facility features 13 case pick lines (3). Associates receive a pick sheet with picking instructions and labels. Cases are labeled and picked to a conveyor, which delivers them to the sortation system (7).
  3. Bottle pick room: The two-level bottle pick room (4) is reserved for mixed case orders. The fastest-moving items are picked on the floor level while slow-movers are aggregated on the mezzanine level. Orders are initiated on the ground level, where order selectors are directed by voice; cases then travel to the mezzanine level if slow-moving items are required or are inducted into the sortation system (7).
  4. Shuttle system: The shuttle system (5), which holds 25,000 cases, provides a way to aggregate and automate the storage and picking of the slowest moving SKUs as well as SKUs that are ordered in small quantities. Returns are also stored in the shuttle system, which creates a much more efficient returns putaway process.

Finally, some orders that are received early in the day can be put into the shuttle as buffer storage until picking begins in the evening. At that time, the WMS sends order information to the shuttle, which dispenses cases onto a conveyor system that delivers them to the sortation system (7).

Trailer loading and shipping: A total of 17 lines—nine from one area and eight from another—feed the accumulation and merge area (8). Once picking begins, cases are released, merged and combined in wave sequence to the sorter (9), which then conveys them in loading sequence to a dock door (10). Dock doors are feed by spiral conveyors. Trucks are floor-loaded on a first in/last off basis.

Read the Full Feature Article “Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits: Designed to Last”


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!

Article Topics

Conveyors · Sortation · · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
The Overlooked Competitive Advantage: Connected Teams
57% of surveyed manufacturers believe they could reduce downtime by 10-30% by unifying their workgroup communications. What does a minute of downtime cost you?
Download Today!
From the January 2018 Modern Materials Handling Issue
PFS built one of the largest and most automated AS/RS freezers in the world in Washington state. Next up is a new design for automation. Automated Storage/ Automated Retrieval System, Cold Storage.
Lift Truck Series Part 1: Lift truck technology connects pickers to productivity
Breaking Through On Yard Visibility
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Emerging Technologies for Your Distribution Center
Come get an insider's view of the latest technologies for inside your Distribution Center. You'll learn which technologies are being piloted, which are having success and moving from concept to implementation and into production on the maturity scale, and what's coming on the horizon.
Register Today!
Trinchero Family Estates: Pallet handling in the vineyard
The second-largest family-owned wine company in the world turns to automated pallet handling and...
System Report: Rocky Brands Sees the Light
Confronting an aging materials handling system and new channels of business with new customer...

Top 20 industrial lift truck suppliers, 2017
The top lift truck suppliers list is changing with industry acquisitions causing a dramatic...
Lodge Manufacturing: Distribution Cast in Iron
In a new facility, iPhones and a new WMS allowed cookware manufacturer Lodge to double its business...