The Sam’s Club Import Logistics team awarded UTi Worldwide Inc., a global supply chain services company, its “Innovation Award” for optimizing the fixed racking storage profile in the Sam’s Club Charleston, South Carolina, distribution center.
“UTi faced a challenge on how to increase the capacity utilization of the distribution center to eliminate the need for overflow storage during peak seasons,” said Gerald Perritt, UTi senior vice president, Contract Logistics, Americas. “The most difficult freight to store effectively is double-wide pallet inventory such as living room and bedroom furniture that requires one pallet stack heights. This freight type had traditionally been bulk stored on the floor, failing to gain the utilization by storing vertical.”
UTi partnered with Sam’s Club to install fixed pallet racking with the appropriate opening widths and heights to accommodate the various pallet heights of the double pallet products. The UTi team then developed a method that would allow system directed put-away into the fixed rack pallet locations so that the correct freight type and height pallet was sent to the appropriate location designated for the profile of that item, according to Matt Mehlenbacher, UTi’s facility manager for the Charleston, SC Import Distribution Center.
“By defining storage type and product type profiles and leveraging the warehouse management system to store them accordingly, each storage location was fully utilized,” he said. “This maximized the storage of the double wide inventory into the racking and increased our storage capacity by 11% and eliminated the need of overflow storage. UTi is now able to use each location to its fullest, avoiding significant expense of outside storage and transportation costs.”