Experience: Case Studies

State-of-the-art capability studies and demonstrations

University Textbook Distribution Center

KLG implemented two different systems for a major college textbook distributor. The first of these projects was a library storage system involving receiving, storage, picking and shipping. The second was a system enhancement to an existing mini-load picking system.

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Library storage

A 27'H three level shelving storage system was installed for book storage. This included over 12,000 sections of shelving and more than 75,000 shelves. Catwalks were supported from the shelving for pick aisles and racking was used for supporting end of row aisles.

A conveyor sortation system was implemented for all inbound inventory. This system separates books into totes for delivery to each aisle and level of the library. An additional system was installed for the return of empty totes to the sortation area.

Similarly, on the opposite side of the structure, an outbound conveyor system was installed. This system delivers picked inventory from each of the three levels to shipping or to a further consolidation area. Another conveyor system delivers empty boxes and totes into the library area for picking.

Automated picking/consolidation system

This two part system involves a mini-load picking enhancement and an order consolidation process.

For this project KLG was charged with improving the picking process of an existing mini-load system. The existing system required an operator stationed in front of each mini-load to pick books. The operator would then send them individually to a consolidation area. The primary issues with this system were workload imbalances between the pickers and the cranes as well as not enough order consolidation positions to maximize the batch picking potential.

KLG solved the first issue by creating a new conveyor system which delivers all mini-load items to a central pick area. This allows any available operator to pick books from any mini-load tote. This greatly improved the efficiency of the crane activity.KLG answered the second issue by creating a large order consolidation area located on a mezzanine. We increased the number of potential open orders from 300 to more than 1,700. With more available slots for consolidation, the likelihood of commonality in picks among open orders was greatly enhanced. This further improved the efficiency of the system.

Since the improvements were finished, record days of more than 30,000 individual orders being picked and shipped have taken place. Additional improvements in accuracy and efficiency are still being discovered.