Creating Pick/Pack Efficiency

This case history about Gardner comes courtesy of VARGO. It has been selected and edited by the MHM editorial staff for clarity, content and style.

Gardner is one of the leading wholesale distributors of engine and component parts for lawn and garden tools in the United States. The company serves over 30 states from its eight regional distribution centers. The Bessemer, AL facility opened in November of 2003 and has a total of 52,000 square feet. The mission of the DC is to pick, pack and ship parts and complete products to customers in the Southeastern U.S. within 1-2 days.

Gardner was interested in applying a low cost but efficient means to pick, pack and ship parts to their dealers. Previously, this business was serviced out of Tennessee. However, the growth in business along with the imperative for next day service drove the decision to relocate to Birmingham, Alabama.

Gardner solicited bids for a system design created by a third party consulting firm. During the proposal evaluation process, Gardner and Vargo developed a partnership based on Vargo's continuing commitment to accountability, engineering design, and partner education. Knowing that cost was a driving factor, Vargo refined the system design and proposed a system consisting of equipment recently installed at another company but no longer operational. As a result, Vargo was awarded the contract. The system included reserve pallet storage and a pick and pass forward pick module based on pallet flow, carton flow and shelving along with a "pick to tote" conveyor system. Larry Hanchin, Director of Distribution states,"Dismantling the equipment at the previous facility and then setting up the new system was not without some pretty exciting moments. Vargo was very flexible in their approach and made numerous changes without adversely affecting the budget or the schedule."

With the new "pre-owned" system in place, Gardner could not be more pleased. "The Siemen's accumulation conveyor is very quiet and functional. The employees are proud of their new facility and have taken ownership of the new system," states Larry. "We are well on the way to meeting the delivery needs of our dealer network." welcomes relevant, exclusive case histories that explain in specific detail the business benefits that new software and material-handling equipment has provided to specific users. Send submissions to Clyde Witt([email protected]), MHM Editor-in-Cheif. All submissions will be edited for clarity, content and style.

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