A family-owned supplier and distributor of alcoholic beverages, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits (SGWS) began as a small bottling operation in Texas in 1909. However, it has expanded considerably ever since—to a team of more than 20,000 employees, as it distributes more than 150 million cases of wine and spirits annually across 44 United States markets, the District of Columbia, Canada and the Caribbean.
The company continues to grow and recently expanded its Lakeland, Fla., distribution center from 800,000 square feet to 1.2 million square feet to meet growing customer demand.
During the expansion process, SGWS wanted to make the most of its additional floor space. In particular, it decided to construct a narrow aisle facility that would accommodate nine levels of racking. The additional height required lift trucks that could accommodate the lift height and capacity, while also meeting the company’s throughput requirements. In addition, SGWS implemented a pallet conveyor into its system, which required operators to place pallets on the conveyor as quickly as possible and, in turn, avoid any potential equipment damage.
To meet the lift height and capacity requirement, SGWS added a very narrow aisle turret truck to its fleet, which maximizes cube utilization throughout the warehouse. The company used the turret truck’s optional auto positioning system (APS), which automatically guides the trucks along the most efficient route to each pick location.
Mark Booth, vice president of supply chain technology for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, believes the APS option has enabled its operators to perform at an expert level, thus reducing its training time by 50% and increasing productivity by almost 20%.
“[Due to] the productivity enhancements we gained, our pallet movement throughput increased just over 20%, which was an eye opener,” Booth says.
SGWS also selected the optional auto fence feature for its turret trucks. Auto fence controls trucks’ speed and access to specific areas of the warehouse, thereby enabling operators to confidently place pallets directly on the company’s pallet conveyor with high precision. As a result, productivity increases while potential equipment damage is avoided.
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