Fastenal has expanded the number of products it offers by 175,000 SKUs. To handle this growth, the company installed the initial phase of a goods-to-the-person mini-load automated order picking system from TGW. The system’s 12 mini-load cranes deliver totes to ergonomic workstations where operators do order picking for 275 stores and replenish stock at 13 regional distribution centers around the country.
Fastenal will add 13 new mini-load cranes as well as carton and tote conveyor, doubling the capacity of the AS/RS to more than 250,000 tote locations.
“With over 400,000 unique SKUs in our product line, being able to quickly fill orders in a high density storage environment is a key component of our overall supply chain strategy,” said Walter Tate, Fastenal’s manager of distribution development. “It’s about applying automation where we can and trying to minimize product handling. Every time you touch a product, there’s an opportunity for a mistake and it adds cost. By eliminating those touches, we’ve reduced the opportunity for error and reduced our operating costs.”
Larry Strayhorn, president of TGW Systems, adds: “The use of mini-load AS/RS technology is a growing market in the US as many companies are including this technology to improve operations and reduce the cost of small parts handling.”