MMH    Topics 

DSW: Optimized replenishment

High-speed, cross-belt sortation enables better customer selection and service at DSW’s retail stores.

DSW Inc.
Columbus, Ohio
Size: 700,000 square feet
Products: Footwear and accessories
Employees: 220 expanding to 350 during peak seasons
Shifts per day/days per week: 3 shifts per day, 5 days per week

At DSW’s 700,000-square-foot distribution center in Columbus,  Ohio, a cross-belt sortation system delivers increased capacity and productivity improvements in a compact footprint. The result is a better selection of shoe styles and sizes in its retail stores.

Receiving: Inbound merchandise arrives at the receiving dock floor loaded in trailers or containers. The facility manages several receiving processes: A fluid unload process receives (1) cartons that will be cross-docked through the facility and a manual unload process (2) receives cartons that will be used for unit replenishment or replenishment at the size level.

Fluid unload receiving/cross-docking: During this process, the first case of a SKU is scanned by a receiver. If the item isn’t already in the system, the receiver opens the case, inspects the merchandise and enters it into warehouse management system (WMS). Once received, merchandise already allocated to the stores is inducted into the cross-docking system (3). Following an overhead scan, a case is diverted to the cross-dock conveyor line (4). Once a shipping label is automatically generated at the print-and-apply station (5), the case is diverted by the sliding shoe shipping sorter (6) to a shipping lane (7) and placed onto an outbound truck at the shipping dock (8).

Full case pallet storage: Cases that will replenish stores at full case quantities are inducted on the conveyor system (3), scanned and diverted to a separate conveyor line, where an 11-digit bar code label is applied. After traveling around a conveyor loop, a second label with a large, easily read two-digit code is applied to the case. Associates sort cases with the same two-digit code to a pallet. Once a pallet is full (16 cases to a pallet), it is delivered to a staging area for the pallet-level storage area (9). There, it is picked up by a wire-guided turret truck working in a very narrow aisle pallet-level storage area. The WMS suggests a storage location. The operator confirms the putaway by scanning a location label.

Manual unload receiving/unit level replenishment: Cases that will replenish stores at the unit level are processed in the manual unload receiving area (2). These cases are stored in a carton-level storage area (10). A second carton-level storage area (11) adjacent to this area is designated for full cases of one size that are sent to the stores. Cases are manually scanned to a pallet as they are unloaded. In this instance, a pallet may have multiple SKUs. Once a pallet is full, it is picked up by an orderpicker and delivered to the carton-level storage area (10, 11). There, the cases are scanned into a putaway location. Associates can scan more than one SKU into a putaway location.

Value-added processing: Some newly received inventory may require value-added services, such as pricing, before it is sent to the store. Those services are managed in a value-added processing area (12) next to the manual unload receiving area (2). Once the services are complete, the inventory is palletized and sent to one of the two carton-level storage areas (10, 11).

Full case picking: To replenish stores at the full case level, the WMS creates an order wave. Pallets with 16 cases to a pallet are pulled from the pallet-level storage area (9) by a turret truck and dropped off at an induction station for the conveyor system (13). Associates load the cases onto the conveyor, which are then scanned by an overhead scanner. After a label is printed and applied (5), the cases are sorted by the shipping sorter (6) to a shipping lane (7) where they are floor loaded onto an outbound trailer (8).

Unit level picking: To replenish at the unit level, the WMS creates an order wave by category. An associate is directed by the WMS to pick cases to a pallet from the unit replenishment area in the carton-level storage area (10). Once the pallet is complete, it is delivered to a four-level wave staging area (14) until it’s time to run the cartons through the cross-belt sorter (15) located on the mezzanine level (16). At the appropriate time, a light system in the wave staging area (14) indicates where the required cases have been staged. An associate goes to the lighted areas and places the cases on a conveyor that feeds the routing sorter (17). The sorter diverts the cartons to the mezzanine (16). Cases go first to one of four workstations (18), with two associates per workstation. Associates open the cases, remove the required number of shoes from the case and induct (19) them onto the cross-belt sorter (15). The system sorts the shoes to the appropriate store chutes associated with the sorter. In all, there are 500 chutes, stacked two chutes to a slot. Any remaining shoes not required at that time are sent to a residual area next to the sorter (20).

Packing: When the sortation process begins, the cross-belt sorter control system dynamically assigns chutes to stores. Each packer is assigned to multiple chutes. To initiate packing, a packer removes a corrugated carton from an overhead monorail. The packer scans the bar code label on the carton ,which associates that carton with the product in a chute. The packer then scans the bar code label on each item before placing it in the container.

Shipping: When a carton is full, a packer tapes it shut and pushes it onto a takeaway conveyor (21). It is then automatically labeled in the print-and-apply area (5) and then sorted (6) to a shipping lane (7). At shipping (8), it is loaded onto an outbound trailer.

System suppliers
Cross-belt sortation: Beumer Corp.
Project management: Sedlak Management Consultants
Conveyor: Intelligrated
Shipping sorter and conveyor: Dematic
Warehouse management system: Manhattan Associates
Warehouse control system and print and apply: Pyramid Controls
Lift trucks: Crown
Pallet racking: Speedrack Midwest

Article Topics

Crown Equipment
Manhattan Associates
Pyramid Controls
Speedrack Products Group
System Report
   All topics

Latest in Materials Handling

Services economy activity grows again in May, reports ISM
Autonomous mobile robot provider MiR marks its 10th anniversary
Hy-Tek Intralogistics and Hai Robotics announce partnership
KPI Solutions expands with a new Atlanta office
Manufacturing declines for the seventh straight month in May, says ISM
National Forklift Safety Day coming up on June 13
Made4net acquired by Ingka Group, with global software rollout with IKEA coming
More Materials Handling

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock's avatar
Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock is the editorial director for Modern Materials Handling and an editorial advisor to Supply Chain Management Review. He has covered materials handling, technology, logistics, and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. He is a graduate of Bowling Green State University. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at 603-357-0484.
Follow Modern Materials Handling on FaceBook

Subscribe to Materials Handling Magazine

Subscribe today!
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
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.

May 2023 Modern Materials Handling

An iconic American brand is partnering with DHL Supply Chain to build out a network to meet soaring demand. It’s also turning to flexible automation to optimize operations.

Latest Resources

Why Should You Deploy Autonomous Mobile Robots on the Factory Floor?
For managing material handling needs specifically, many manufacturers are deploying Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) to improve efficiency and productivity.
Warehouse Insights: Tackling Space in Micro-fulfillment
AutoStore: The Right Technology & The Right Integrator
More resources

Latest Resources

2023 Automation Study: Usage & Implementation of Warehouse/DC Automation Solutions
2023 Automation Study: Usage & Implementation of Warehouse/DC Automation Solutions
This research was conducted by Peerless Research Group on behalf of Modern Materials Handling to assess usage and purchase intentions forautomation systems...
How Your Storage Practices Can Affect Your Pest Control Program
How Your Storage Practices Can Affect Your Pest Control Program
Discover how your storage practices could be affecting your pest control program and how to prevent pest infestations in your business. Join...

Warehousing Outlook 2023
Warehousing Outlook 2023
2023 is here, and so are new warehousing trends.
Extend the Life of Brownfield Warehouses
Extend the Life of Brownfield Warehouses
Today’s robotic and data-driven automation systems can minimize disruptions and improve the life and productivity of warehouse operations.
Power Supply in Overhead Cranes: Energy Chains vs. Festoons
Power Supply in Overhead Cranes: Energy Chains vs. Festoons
Download this white paper to learn more about how both systems compare.