Tognum America brings goods to the person

Tognum’s mini-load automated storage and retrieval and warehouse management systems are the primary engines behind order fulfillment in the Brownstown DC.

By ·

Tognum America
Brownstown, Mich.
Size: 350,000 square feet
Products: Heavy duty diesel engine parts
Stock keeping units: 40,000 SKUs with capability to expand to 80,000
Throughput: Designed to handle up to 4,000 lines filled per day
Employees: 100 employees
Shifts/Days: 2 shifts/5 days per week

Receiving: Most inbound product is shipped from overseas in shipping containers. Prior to shipment, Tognum America receives an advanced ship notification (ASN) from the freight forwarder that aggregates the shipments. Domestic suppliers provide a notification through electronic data interchange (EDI). Regularly scheduled deliveries by specific trucks are created in the warehouse management system (WMS). As soon as Tognum receives a bill of lading and packing slips for a load, that delivery is assigned to one of the trucks scheduled in the system. That allows them to post the delivery as soon as it is unloaded from the truck in the receiving area (1). Once the load is counted and inspected in the staging area (2), the receipt is confirmed and the product can be prepared for putaway.

Preparation for storage: Prior to putaway, inventory is prepared for storage. A significant amount of material is removed from its transport packaging and repacked in a pre-packing area (3) according to how it will be handled in the future. For instance, an item that is sold as an individual part will be packed in its final packaging before putaway. Other products may be kitted with companion items before they go into storage. Small parts are stored on carts that can be rolled to an induction point for the AS/RS. Larger parts are palletized. Once all the parts have been counted, accepted and are ready for storage, an associate places a green cone on the material. That is a visual cue that the product is ready for storage.

Putaway/replenishment: Once a cone is on product that is ready for putaway, an associate will scan a bar code on a pallet or cart. The system will then direct the materials handler to a storage location. As much inventory as possible will be directed to the automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) (4). At the induction station, an associate scans a bar code label on a cart holding multiple parts. The scan releases all the necessary trays from storage to the station. When the tray arrives in the station, an operator scans the parts and a light system identifies the slot on the tray for that part. Once all the parts have been loaded, the operator releases the tray. It travels through an automated weight and height check station. This verifies that the weight and ensures that no parts are hanging over the tray that may get caught in the automated system. The tray is automatically putaway into the correct storage location.

The rest of the material will go into one of several reserve storage areas. Large parts are stored in racks in a large parts area (5) or on the floor in a bulk storage area (6). Medium size parts are stored in racks in a special area (7). A lift truck operator is directed by the WMS to a putaway location in the right reserve storage area. The operator scans the location bar code on the rack to confirm the putaway.

Picking: Nearly 85% of orders are picked at one of five goods-to-person picking stations located at the AS/RS (8). When an order selector logs on to their station, they choose an order that is available to pick. The AS/RS then begins to deliver trays for that order to their workstation. A pick-to-light system identifies the part to be picked from the tray. The order selector confirms the pick by scanning a bar code label on the part and then places it in a cart. Once the order is complete, the order selector scans the cart, which is then delivered to an outbound staging and packing area (9) where it is married to any other parts for that order. Parts may also be picked and sent to a kitting area (12). Examples may include all of the parts for an engine overhaul. Once kitting is complete, it is returned to a storage location according to its size.

Packing and shipping: Tognum uses a series of colored lights as visual cues in the packing area (9). Each packer has a monitor that displays the available orders for that station. A yellow light indicates that some of the items for an order are available for packing. A green light that all of the items are available for that order. Once the packer decides to begin packing an order, parts belonging to that order are pulled from the staging area. Items are packed in a shipping carton and placed on a pallet or cart. Once the order is complete, a materials handler delivers it to the appropriate outbound staging lane (10) based on planned mode of transportation. There, a shipping coordinator verifies that the right items and the right quantity have been prepared for shipment, and the required paperwork/labeling has been attached. Once the quality check is complete, the order is loaded onto an outbound truck or a shipping container at the shipping docks (11). Once the truck or container is fully loaded, the order is closed and the inventory is removed in the WMS. 

System suppliers
Consultant:
i+o Industry Planning + Organization, io-consultants.com
AS/RS and conveyor: TGW Systems, tgw-group.com
Lift trucks: Crown Equipment Corp., crown.com
WMS: SAP, sap.com
Bar code scanning: Motorola Solutions, motorolasolutions.com
Rack system: Pallet rack, Ridg-U-Rak, ridgurak.com; Cantilever rack, Unarco Material Handling, unarcorack.com
Metal containers: Tiffin Metal Products, tiffinmetal.com

image

click here to download the PDF article
click here to download PDF article


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
Mobile Solutions: Improving Supply Chain Efficiencies
To meet customer's ever-increasing service expectations and improve their business efficiency, companies are looking to their supply chain operations – especially material handling and warehouse operations managers.
Download Today!
From the February 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
In warehouses and DCs, planning solutions tend to take a back seat to execution system functions. Vendors are working to boost the trust factor using tools that break down forecasts and blend with analytics.
Automated Storage on the Move
Receiving 101: Setting the Table for Success
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
Johnson & Johnson: A vision for automation
J&J Vision Care brings together a variety of automated technologies, including an innovative...
Using AGVs at LEDVANCE
The lighting manufacturer reaped savings by reducing maintenance costs and product damage, and using...

System Report: Sustainable Distribution at REI
Specialty outdoor retailer REI’s new distribution center brings together the next generation of...
System Report: Whirlpool puts mobile robots to work
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to...