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Critical Factors when Choosing an Order Picking System

 

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The Five Most Common Mistakes When Planning a Distribution Center by TriFactor's Craig Bertorello and featured in Supply & Demand Chain Executive (online).  

 

Seven Factors to Consider When Choosing an Order Picking System by TriFactor's Richard Gillespie and featured in Industrial Distribution (online).

 

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TriFactor Home / Material Handling Systems Case Studies / Home Depot: Home Improvement Retailer

Material Handling Case Study- Home Depot - Major Home Improvement Retailer

Company Description

The Home Depot, founded in 1979, is the world’s largest home improvement retailer with nearly 400,000 employees and more than 2,200 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Situation

The Home Depot’s fulfillment center in Carlisle, PA was the designated location to fill orders for all Home Depot stores in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. The store order fulfillment processes included using full case picking with order pickers out of the storage racks, a batch picking operation using 40 horizontal carousels and a small split case pick operation utilizing a put-to-light system and carton flow rack. All of these functional areas are joined via a high speed conveyor and sortation system that provides for 200 sort locations that corresponds to pallet building stations for Home Depot store orders. Since the product categories that Home Depot was tasking the Crown Bolt division to fulfill had been increasing and forecasted to continue to increase, major modifications to the order fulfillment process was necessary in order to provide the necessary distribution capacity.

Solution

The system utilizes an inbound sortation line, four put-to-light rows of shelf bays, an outbound full case take-away line, a trash conveyor system for empty corrugate boxes and an empty carton replenishment line. 

The inbound sortation line has Home Depot associates pick cases from bulk storage and place on the induction conveyor located on the floor level adjacent to the mezzanine. The cases are conveyed up to the mezzanine until they reach the 4-sided camera scan tunnel. After the scanner, cases are sorted to one of the four workstations where associates scan the barcode and the appropriate Lightning Pick lights mounted on the shelves are energized designating the quantities to be placed in each of the required boxes.

During this process, a significant amount of empty corrugate boxes are left behind. When the last item is taken from the inbound box, the empty box is then thrown on to the trash belt located above the full case take-away conveyor.  This trash line conveys the empty corrugate to the main trash belt that feeds the compactor located a dock door.

Additionally, since associates are constantly taking away the full cases from the put-to-light shelves when they are complete, new empty cases must be placed in the put-to-light shelving in order to continue the process for the next store order at that location.

Therefore, the new system includes an automated carton erector integrated with an empty carton replenishment line. This line sorts the newly erected cartons to each of the four put to light workstations, keeping them full in order for associates to quickly replenish the shelf locations when orders are completed.

Result

The project was completed on budget and on schedule. Home Depot’s Carlisle facility now had the capacity to fill more orders and to better service its regional stores.

System Summary

Customer:

Home Depot

 

TriFactor Provided:

Detailed Design Engineering

Equipment Selection and Procurement

Mechanical and Electrical Installation

Mechanical and Electrical Engineering

Interface with Host Warehouse Management System

Human Machine Interface Programming

Control Systems Programming

Operator Training

 

Size: 350,000 Square Feet

 

Facility Type:

Warehouse & Distribution

 

Products Handled:

Full and Empty Cartons of Hardware

 

Markets Served:

Distribution to Home Depot Retail Stores

Products Utilized:

 

24VDC Zoned Accumulation Conveyors

Belted Trash Conveyor

Put to Light Shelving

Multiple Array Scan Tunnel

Automatic Case Erector

UL Listed Conveyor Control Panels