Distributor Eliminates Manual Scanning Process

The ability to efficiently receive, store, and retrieve goods in a storage facility is one of the key ways to reduce costs and stay ahead of the competition. GENCO Supply Chain Solutions, North America’s largest U.S.-based 3PL and a Global Top 50 logistics provider, adopted the TotalTrax™ system from Sky-Trax for their 328,000 sq.

The ability to efficiently receive, store, and retrieve goods in a storage facility is one of the key ways to reduce costs and stay ahead of the competition.

GENCO Supply Chain Solutions, North America’s largest U.S.-based 3PL and a Global Top 50 logistics provider, adopted the TotalTrax™ system from Sky-Trax for their 328,000 sq. ft. reverse logistics facility in Atlanta, GA. Total-Trax is a complete vehicle and inventory tracking system for the production environment, consisting in this case of 10 forklifts and 120+ teammates.

The value of Sky-Trax’s Total-Trax System is in the ability to track and verify each and every pallet move from put-away to picking, staging, and shipping, with 100% accuracy. The Total-Trax solution “mistake proofs” the operational process by removing human interaction completely. No human errors can occur, and the operator doesn’t take time to use a scanning device to acquire load or location ID.

“Manually entered data provides the opportunity for inaccuracies,” says Cary Cameron, senior vice president, strategic processes and technologies, of the Pittsburgh-based company. “When an operator has to reach for a device to scan or manually enter location and pallet information, they are losing productivity. We wanted a solution that allows the operator to simply drive product to and from locations – a solution where we didn’t have to rely on the operators to assign locations.

Before Sky-Trax

Prior to installing Total-Trax in their Atlanta facility, GENCO worked on an Active/Passive RFID project to automate the “What” and “Where” of their operation, but after two painful years of working on the project GENCO decided that RFID was costly, inaccurate, and unreliable.

“Our flaw was improper location identification of pallets,” she says, “and we wanted a solution that corrected the root cause of the problem.”

Solution and Value:

The value of Sky-Trax’s Total-Trax System is in the ability to track and verify each and every pallet move from put-away to picking, staging, and shipping, with 100% accuracy.

The Total-Trax solution “mistake proofs” the operational process by removing human interaction completely. No human errors can occur, and the operator doesn’t take time to use a scanning device to acquire load or location ID.

The Results:

  • 100% Accuracy of the “Where” (location)
  • 100% Accuracy of the “What” (pallet)
  • 47% Productivity gain
  • Training cost reduction, from several hours to 10 minutes

Two days after Total-Trax was installed, the site was averaging 18.5 pallet moves per hour; exceeding the goal of 15 pallets per hour, which had never before been achieved.

Three weeks after implementation the facility documented the capability of reaching upwards of 40 pallet moves per hour – 160% over goal. As a result, GENCO was able to remove one forklift driver per shift from operations. Twenty weeks after implementation GENCO was averaging 22 pallets per hour, realizing a sustained 47% productivity increase.

The Results Continued:

  • 10% Equipment reduction
  • 61% labor reduction in three operational areas
  • Customer satisfaction improvement
  • Enthusiastic teammate acceptance

“It’s the Grab and Go system”, says one operator. “All we have to do is drive, and we don’t get blamed for putting things in the wrong location.”

Additional features implemented after initial installation have included task interleaving and routing optimization, which increase forklift utilization by reducing travel distance. Shipment verification is done by recording each pallet ID as it is loaded through the correct dock door.

“We have proven this technology can replace manual data collection to truly provide automatic identification,” says Cameron. “We have determined our baseline without interleaving and routing, and we expect a 50 to 60 percent efficiency gain once it is fully tested.”

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