Wind Sorter Speeds Orders at Music Distributor

Nov. 1, 2001
Wind Sorter Speeds Orders at Music Distributor When Dart Distributing of Chaska, Minnesota, had to turnaway new customers, it was frustrating. As a wholesale

Wind Sorter Speeds Orders at Music Distributor

When Dart Distributing of Chaska, Minnesota, had to turnaway new customers, it was frustrating. As a wholesale distributor and rackjobber in the music and video industry, Dart supplies major retailers with CDs,videos, audio cassettes and DVDs. With reported gross sales of $65 million,Dart’s volume had reached the point where supply could no longer meetdemand.

“We were dealing with more that 10,000 SKUs daily on amostly manual basis,” explains Tony Kirsch, Dart’s senior vicepresident. “Labor shortages and the availability of quality personnel hadresulted in our inability to take on any new customers or business. It took toomany man-hours to perform all the value-added services our customers had cometo expect. With the evolution of EDI and growing demands from retailers to cutdistribution costs, automation seemed the only way to go.”

Dart called Professional Control Corporation (PCC), aninnovator of high-performance order fulfillment solutions. PCC had justintroduced the Wind Sorter, a high-speed sortation system that was ideal forprocessing the small products that Dart distributed.

The Wind Sorter uses air knives to label and divert product.A single infeed operator stages the product at an automatic induction point.Product is then identified by a bar code reader with read rates nearing 100percent. A high-speed label applicator applies the label while an opposingforce of air holds the product in place. Product is then wind diverted intocontainers.

Dart had planned to use the Wind Sorter to automate itsreturn processing and to recycle current product into working inventory. Itsoon discovered it could automate picking, pricing, returns and recyclingfunctions, as well as order creation, billing and invoicing.

Since installing the Wind Sorter, Dart has cut its orderprocessing steps by 50 percent. It has raised productivity and also increasedorder accuracy.

Wind Sorter high-speed sortation system by ProfessionalControl Corp.

Sensor Tracks Lift Truck Impacts

Eighty-four licensed drivers operating a fleet of 30 lifttrucks in a three-shift operation require good supervision and planning tosafely handle more than 400 million pounds of poultry products shipped annuallyfrom the Rocco Distribution Center in Mount Crawford, Virginia.

The 156,000-square-foot facility, located in the northernpart of the Shenandoah Valley, is the main shipping point from Rocco, one ofthe largest turkey and institutional chicken suppliers in the country. Roccoemploys 3,600 people and works with 450 farmers in Virginia and West Virginiato raise chickens and turkeys under strict health, environmental and safetystandards.

As activity increased in the busy distribution center, MikeCornell, the plant manager, noticed increased rack damage, product damage anddowntime for lift truck maintenance. The damage incidents increased operationalcosts, and caused finger-pointing as operators blamed others.

Rocco’s local lift truck dealer suggested theShockswitch ID system, which controls lift truck access by requiring a driverto log on with a simple key device. Supervisors use a similar key to downloadstored information from the truck-mounted ID units and input the data to theShockwatch management software on their office computer.

Each driver’s key contains an identification number.Each ID unit, on board a particular truck, senses, records and reports datasuch as:

• Abnormal impacts (adjustable to a particular environment);

• Exacttime of impact and operator identity;

• Truckoperating history — hours in use, etc.

• Truckperiodic maintenance history;

• Pendinglapse in driver certification (date when required retraining is due).

Cornell has equipped 14 of the stand-up rider lift trucksand plans to install the units on the rest of the fleet.

The lift truck operators first regarded the ID units as awatchdog and complained the impact sensors were set too low. But most see thefairness and accuracy of the units, and have become better, more cautiousoperators.

There has been a decrease in product damage. Less damage tothe racks and the lift trucks means lower maintenance, better equipmentutilization and more uptime.

Shockswitch ID system by Shockwatch.

Warehouse Is Up, Down and Moved

Victor Coffee, located in Boston, had less than three monthsto set up a working 13,300-square-foot warehouse. Not only did it need thewarehouse, but permits, flooring, heating and a connection tunnel to its mainplant.

Rubb Inc. manufactured and installed a 100-foot-wide by133-foot-long BVE Range facility with a 19.7-foot sidewall. The companyobtained building permits in less than five days, and had the warehouse andfoundation in place in two weeks.

The hybrid facility combines a high-quality, translucent,PVC-coated polyester membrane and a hot-dipped galvanized steel frame withfoam-insulated, double-sided steel panels. The steel panels cover the bottom 11feet of the perimeter of the facility. This provides security, but still allowsVictor Coffee to take advantage of the natural lighting.

Less than six months after construction was finished, theBoston Redevelopment Authority moved up the timeframe for removal of the VictorCoffee facility to make room for the new Boston Convention Center. VictorCoffee contacted Rubb and asked it to remove and resell the warehouse facility.Only the ground anchors were lost in the relocation and resale.

Relocatable buildings by Rubb Inc.

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