Case Study: Major Retail Book Distributor

Case Study Specifications

Equipment | Vendor

Vertical Carousels
System Logistics
Horizontal Carousels
System Logistics
Cirrus Tech
Tilt Tray Sortation
Pick to Light
Innovative Picking Technologies, Inc.
Carton Flow Module
Unarco Material Handling, Inc.
Unarco Material Handling, Inc.
High Rise Shelving
Schaefer Systems International
Accu-Sort Systems

Since 1994 KLG has completed more than 75 different material handling projects totaling more than $40 million for this major book retailer. Major systems include:

  • Master Distribution Centers
  • Flow through facilities
  • Returns Center
  • Internet Fulfillment Center
  • Multi-Media Facility
  • Remainders Facility
  • Calendar Facility

Listed below are descriptions of a couple of these projects:

Carousel Put Systems:

Three different projects involving carousels have been implemented. Two systems using vertical carousels were installed for medium and slow moving titles and one system using horizontal carousels was installed for fast moving titles. In total, 26 carousels are being used.

The basic concept involves using the carousels for putting books as opposed to picking books. Shipping boxes are located on the shelves of the carousels. Each box represents a store. Bulk quantities of an individual title of a book are brought to a pod and the operator scans the ISBN code on a copy of the book. The carousels are then used to present the boxes for every store that requires copies of that particular title. Light trees and/or bars display signals to the operator indicating which box requires books and how many copies.

This design is producing pick/put rates of 350-1,000 pieces per man hour (all operators associated with the process including pulling books for the carousels and packing the books are included in the rate). This is comparable to rates being achieved by tilt tray sortation in same distribution center. The advantage to this concept over tilt tray sortation however is that it is easily expanded in the future by adding additional carousels and during slower times less manpower can be used by simply turning pods off.

Internet Fulfillment Center:

A massive 3 story high rise shelving system was installed to inventory more than 750,000 book, CD, tape and DVD titles. More than 12,000 sections of shelving were installed in a three story structure. Inbound inventory is delivered to the structure and sorted initially by level on to three separate conveyors and then sorted by area on each level for putaway.

Pickers are located throughout the structure in different zones. They pick titles with R/F directed picking carts. All titles are batch picked in waves into totes. Each tote is assigned to a consolidation station. When a tote is released from the pick area it is sorted into one of 16 different consolidation stations where it is further sorted manually into actual order slots. These titles are “married up” in the order slots with titles for that order from other pick zones.

All of these finished orders are then released to a manifestation area.