Dynamically Managing Warehouse Operations
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
7.2 Million CE’s annually
The Company: Alliance Beverage is a joint venture between Kent Beverage and B&B Distributing which formed in 2013. The issue was scalability. The issue was an inefficiency to handle large volume items post Joint Venture and anticipate growth.
The Challenge: Alliance Beverage needed to bring 4 facilities under one roof, with an eye on the future for expansion opportunity. They wanted to effectively and efficiently manage the influx of new SKU’s. Also with the facility inclusion, Alliance wanted to increase pick and load rates and accuracy,
while measuring and analyzing metrics to improve overall operations. Seamless integration would be paramount.
Prior to our joint venture, we developed a home-grown pick-to-belt system. However, it did not perform as needed when our footprint expanded, so we needed to ensure that we could easily manage the seasonality of our business without sacrificing pick rates or accuracy. Our new warehouse operations rely heavily on our RAS, WMS and WCS systems being synchronized. Rutherford’s eoStar RAS with integrated WMS works seamlessly with our new conveyor system which feeds directly back into eoStar to complete the picking process.
With eoTouch, eoStar’s IOS sales app, our salespeople create and submit orders from the field. Orders are then dispatched and processed from within eoStar, which adjusts order quantities based on inventory and stages them to be palletized. Built-in Palletization functionality lets us optimize pallets for each route. With our systems coordinated, eoStar can send partial work for our pick-to-belt crew and simultaneously deploy our pick-to-pallet team via Voice Pick. eoStar’s pick overview screen helps us monitor metrics, including pick rates per employee, short picks, out of stocks, and overall work completion percentages.
eoStar’s WMS and tablet app helps us manage additional warehouse operations. Every pallet received is recorded with the item, supplier, code date, and quantity, Each location in our warehouse is tracked so that we are always aware of the product location. Our fork lifts are equipped with long range scanners and mounted tablets to facilitate product movement in our warehouse, ensuring accuracy of inventory and FIFO activity.
After 3 months of operating with this integrated system, we saw a 39% increase in average cases picked per hour, a more than 50% reduction in warehouse breakage, significantly lower team fatigue, and improved morale overall.
Shannon Gary, Chief of Operations Officer for Alliance Beverage, on eoStar WMS