Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Casebook 2011: WCS trims waste, lowers costs

Warehouse control system helps developer of weight management products stay lean.
By Josh Bond, Associate Editor
December 30, 2010

After several years of record growth, USANA Health Sciences saw a profound need for increased capacity and improved efficiency at its Utah distribution facility. New order management and warehouse control systems quickly and efficiently improved throughput, accuracy and productivity.

Founded in 1992, USANA Health Sciences is a leading international direct sales company that develops and markets nutritional, weight management and personal care products. The existing manual process was costly and inefficient, so the company looked to upgrade its Utah facility. Goals for the new warehouse control system (WCS; QC Software, 877-984-1101, http://www.qcsoftware.com) were to improve material flow and the overall throughput of the materials handling system, to improve the accuracy of the order fulfillment process as well as to improve productivity and support future growth.

The new technology enabled the company to achieve a 99% order accuracy rate. The 20,000-square-foot distribution facility now processes 5,000 to 7,000 orders per day and has the capability of shipping 21,000 orders every day. After the WCS implementation, order fulfillment was reduced from a 24/7 operation down to two 8-hour shifts for five days per week. Since the system is faster and more efficient, the number of employees needed was cut in half and order capacity increased 300%.

The first rollout phase was completed in August 2008 with the implementation of software to manage the real-time activities of the equipment and to oversee order fulfillment. The WCS now plans orders by optimizing the size and quantity of cartons used. A wave planner screen is used to group orders together for more efficient picking based on the delivery date, item size, pick location or other predetermined criteria.

In 2009, as part of the company’s green initiative, USANA added a conveyor system designed specifically to accommodate small packaging, removing the need for employees to manually repack these orders or ship them in larger containers. The software provider developed a new process to separate these orders from the regular pool. USANA then added a third line dedicated to smaller, non-conveyable orders, which reduced waste, significantly lowered costs and further enhanced picking efficiency.

“I estimate the company has saved about 2,188 kilograms, or 2.2 metric tons, of cardboard in the first six months of operation,” says Jim Brown, vice president of operations.

About the Author

image
Josh Bond
Associate Editor

Josh Bond is an associate editor to Modern. Josh was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and contributing editor, has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce.


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!

Recent Entries

The PMI, the ISM’s index to measure growth, headed up 1.9 percent to 59.0 in August (a PMI of 50 or greater represents growth), just shy of its highest reading since March 2011’s 59.1.

Opened today, the new office, located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, will address customers’ needs to further innovate the supply chain, effectively improving order accuracy and timeliness to consumers.

IHS Technology reports 2.1% fall in revenues for programmable logic controllers; strong growth in US and food and beverage.

Razat Gaurav to lead global industries and solutions; Enrique Rodriguez appointed global sales leader.

Hosted by the Reusable Packaging Association, education forum features more than a dozen sessions over three days.



© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA