Labor-Saving Sortation

April 1, 2006
Flat tray sorters enable children's clothing retailer, Gymboree Corp., to sort directly to totes and shipping boxes.

Childrens' clothier, Gymboree Corp. (Dixon, Calif.) has a rapidly growing direct-to-consumer business. To keep up with its increasing sales volume, it needed greater efficiencies and a high-speed sorter. EuroSort Inc.'s (Owings Mills, Md.) flat-tray sorter met Gymboree's four main requirements: dual tray capabilities to increase throughput; a small DC footprint; short installation time (26 weeks); and simplicity of operation and maintenance.

Gymboree has nearly 600 stores in the U.S. and Canada that carry colorful, fashionable clothes for kids up to nine years old. It also operates 60 Janie and Jack (newborn and toddler apparel) and nearly 16 Janeville (women's apparel) stores nationwide. Its 2005 sales reached $595 million.

The company currently processes 6,200 orders and 62,000 units a day in its 270,000 sq.-ft. warehouse that supports both direct and retail distribution. EuroSort's sorter sorts 14,400 pieces per hour while saving more than 10,000 sq. ft. of floor space. What's more, the working heights for induction, the packing chutes, packing tables and supply shelves, were ergonomically designed for worker safety.

"Even though the system is not at full capacity," says Dan Allison, Gymboree's v.p. of logistics, "we have been able to dramatically improve our total throughput [190% increase] while significantly reducing labor cost [43%]."

The ESF Flat Sorter's carriage includes a patented synchronized rod that allows both tray blades to open simultaneously and a shock absorber that takes out the energy just before the tray blades reach their full opening position. These features give the sorter the ability to gently, quietly and accurately place product into a shipping box, tote or special consolidation chute. By sorting directly to a tote or shipping carton, the sorter reduces the amount of labor needed to manage the items after they are sorted.

When special stacking, buffering or other post-sort processing is required, a specialized chute can be added under the sorter carousel preserving maximum floor space in a facility. EuroSort Inc.,

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