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November 2017

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Warehouse Grows Vertically

With more than $38 million in parts inventory, Okuma's aftermarket parts facility in Charlotte, NC, recently integrated three Shuttle XP Vertical Lift Modules from Kardex Remstar. With the mechanical repair area in need of expansion, Okuma considered two options - a building expansion or using vertical storage to decrease the warehouse footprint.

"As we researched, we found automated vertical storage would provide improved worker ergonomics and productivity, tighter inventory control and the space savings we were looking for - it was the best choice," said Mike Vassil, Senior Manager Service Parts.

A 1,200 sq. ft. mezzanine parts storage area was replaced with three 18' tall Shuttle VLMs occupying 400 sq. ft. - a 66% floor space savings. "The renovation gives us better control of inventory accuracy and expedited shipping of parts," Vassil said. "By streamlining storage and maximizing space in our warehouse, we were able to expand the mechanical repair area, increasing mechanical exchange capabilities to service more spindle and cam box repairs."

The VLMs deliver all parts to the worker, eliminating walking, searching and stair climbing associated with the previous mezzanine shelving. Further, parts are presented at an ergonomic access opening eliminating bending, stooping, reaching to retrieve parts. "Now workers are standing within 10 feet of every part," Vassil said. "Removing excessive walking, bending and reaching from the parts fulfillment process has increased productivity and made the job easier for our warehouse staff - allowing us to easily maintain our 7 PM order cutoff time."

The VLMs are integrated with Power Pick Global inventory management software providing tighter control and more accurate inventory counts. Warehouse employees must scan their badge before the machine will store or retrieve a part. "Every part is tracked from when and who receives it, where it is stored within the unit and when and who retrieves it; ensuring all parts are accounted for," Vassil said. Transaction logs and inventory reports are available to managers on demand.

When parts fulfillment is needed, the ERP system generates a series of labels for each order that print in the warehouse. Each label indicates V1, V2 or V3. The warehouse worker takes the labels to the correct VLM where the parts are stored. When at the VLM, the worker must scan an employee badge to gain access. The worker then scans the barcode on each label within the order, and uses a touchscreen monitor mounted at each VLM to begin the picking process.

The VLM moves to retrieve the part required and delivers it to the access opening. Equipped with pick to light technology, the transaction information center (TIC) uses a light bar to direct the worker to the exact location of the pick and indicates the part number and quantity to be picked. Once picked, the worker labels the part and pushes the confirmation button and the VLM moves to retrieve the next part required. The worker moves from V1 to V2 to V3 collecting all of the parts for the order on a cart. An auto log out feature within the software automatically logs the worker out for security.

Once all of the parts required for the order are collected, the worker uses the pack counter located just next to the VLMs to prepare the order for shipment. There is a small portion of larger bulk items stored on adjacent shelving. When required for an order, these parts are retrieved and matched with the VLM parts to complete the order.

Replenishment is easily handled seamlessly between Power Pick Global and the ERP system. Minimum quantity levels are set and Power Pick Global automatically generates reorder reports that are sent to procurement. Parts are received and replenished by the warehouse in the morning when order volume is lower.

For more information contact:

Kardex Remstar

41 Eisenhower Drive

Westbrook, ME 04092


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