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TriFactor White Papers

 

TriFactor shares thoughts on effective ways to reduce costs, increase capacity and improve the accuracy of your distribution facility.

Ways to Improve Material Handling Efficiency

 
Critical Factors when Choosing an Order Picking System

 

Planning a Warehouse or Distribution Center

 

Choosing a Conveyor System

 

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Articles featured in trade publications that highlight our Client Partners projects, TriFactor and information written by TriFactor's staff. 

 

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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Material Handling Case Study - Undisclosed eCommerce Giant

Company Description

To protect the privacy of TriFactor’s client, the company name will remain confidential and shall be referred to as a “eCommerce Giant” company. The undisclosed customer is the largest Internet-based retailer in the world by total sales and market capitalization

Situation

The customer's distribution network includes an extensive amount of 1.2 million square foot warehouses throughout the US called ‘fulfillment centers’ along with their growing number of ‘sort centers’ and ‘parcel delivery stations’. The sort centers range from 200,000 square feet in size to over 350,000 square feet, while the parcel delivery stations are typically under 200,000 square feet. The mission of the parcel delivery stations are to provide the ‘last mile’ delivery service to the eCommerce Giant's customers using their own fleet of vans and delivery personnel. This last mile delivery had been accomplished through carriers such as FedEx or UPS and is still largely being accomplished by them in areas where the customer has not established their parcel delivery stations. The sort centers are the in-between operations and act typically in the same manner as a cross dock where truckloads of packages are received from Amazon’s fulfillment centers and then immediately sorted for outbound delivery, either to contracted parcel carrier service or to the customer's own parcel delivery stations.

Assessment

The eCommerce Giant's 2017 strategic plan included targeting the Mobile, Alabama market where they decided to build a large sort center with space available for future year’s growth. The sort center requirement was to support receiving up to eight truckloads at a time, sorting 12,000 packages per hour into eight different outbound delivery methods.

 

eCommerce Case Study 1

Solution

A new 350,000 square foot sort center was constructed in Mobile, Alabama and TriFactor was tasked to design and install the material handling system to support the design requirements. As such, TriFactor provided a system with four functional areas; small sorts, unloading, primary sort and run-out. The small sort area includes the use of two automatic gaylord dumpers, each dumping lightweight and small packages to a custom designed manual sort table where associates separate the packages in to four different narrow belted conveyors. The associates stationed along the narrow-belted conveyors then place the small parcels into small-binned carts. The unloader area consists of a large platform where eight telescopic extendible belts interface with each of their respective incline belts. When trucks back up to the receiving docks where these telescopic extendibles are located, the packages are conveyed up the inclines and deposited onto the main collector belt in order to convey to the sortation area. The sortation area consists of a large, custom design primary sort platform with seven associate workstations. The conveyor system distributes the inbound packages to each of the associate workstations. The associates read the labels of each package sorted to them and then place the package on one of four adjacent chutes, each of which are associated with a run-out line. The run-out lines convey the packages to their final destination within the facility, which is a manual pallet building station where built pallets are then loaded on to trucks for outbound delivery to either the customer's parcel delivery station or to their contracted parcel carrier.

Result

The project was completed on budget and on schedule. The customer now has the ability to sort 12,000 packages per hour, enhancing the quality of its local delivery service, including 1 and 2-day delivery.

ROI

2 - 3 Years

System Summary

Customer: Undisclosed eCommerce Giant

 

TriFactor Provided:
Detailed Design Engineering
Equipment Selection and Procurement
Mechanical and Electrical Installation
Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Control Systems Programming
Operator Training

 

Size: 350,000 Square Feet

 

Facility Type:

Parcel Package Crossdock

Products Handled:

Parcel Boxed Packages

Parcel Soft Packages

Parcel Envelopes

 

Markets Served:

Direct to Consumer

 

Products Utilized:

Parcel Handling Belt Conveyor

Package Sortation System

Primary Sort Platform

Unloader Platform

Automatic Gaylord Dumpers

Spiral Gravity Chutes with UHMW Lining

Straight Gravity Chutes

Split Lane Gravity Roller Conveyor

UL Listed Conveyor Control Panels