Johnson Stephens Consulting was engaged to assess a Witron proposed high automation MHE system concept, develop a capacity plan for the central facility, and propose alternative MHE solutions to solve the determined operating constraints. The facility was comprised of a 76,000 square foot Witron AS/RS high bay pallet storage system (100 ft. tall) attached to a low bay manual warehouse. While the facility had sufficient storage capacity to support business growth plans, pick slots and throughput capacity were constrained. Witron proposed a layer tray AS/RS system allowing the facility to utilize automation to address ~1,300 slower moving items. JSC was tasked with assessing the application of that technology to the client’s environment, modeling the current operation to identify and quantify the constraints, assessing/recommending alternative technologies, and determining operation / process improvements that could also alleviate the constraints.
After identifying the exact operating constraints in the modeling process, JSC ‘s analysis indicated that the proposed Witron automation would only partially solve all facility constraints, and that the labor and space savings resulting from the automation would not overcome the high investment required. An alternative recommendation balancing capacity, throughput and capital was provided; in addition to tactical process enhancements and broader network considerations that helped solve the facility’s immediate constraints and defer the expansion.
How We Did It
Following a detailed analysis of the SKU profile strategy in the central facility, JSC determined that the network SKU profile strategy needed to be realigned between the central and regional facilities, which would help alleviate the capacity constraints felt in the central facility for the immediate future. With this taken into consideration, JSC provided an MHE technology solution and a detailed design for a 4-level module and high-speed conveyance system that would supplement the existing AS/RS. This design provided a long-term capacity solution in the form of SKU slots and throughput. Since the SKU realignment provided additional interim capacity, the expansion was deferred until business and SKU growth necessitated the expansion in future years. In addition, JSC provided a road map for process and operating enhancements, which further improved the interim capacity of the facility with low to medium capital investment levels. This included optimization of current pick slots (SKU slotting, “right-sizing”, storage medium type changes), reconfiguration of dock space to provide additional capacity, introducing automated stretch wrappers to remove touches, etc.