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Retailer optimizes storage – Supply Chain Management Review

A retailer’s managers encountered difficulties as they strived to accurately and efficiently monitor inventory storage in their DC, dealing with thousands of stock keeping units (SKUs) on a daily basis. When new items would come in, the dimensioning data, surrounding the new items, would often be entered into the retailer’s warehouse management system (WMS)—however, most of the time, that data would either be default values or not accurate to the item.

Merchandise would be packed into totes (sometimes to the point of bursting) and cause uneven distribution within the facility. As totes moved throughout the facility, merchandise would frequently spill out, too, leading to unnecessary delays.

A factory, logistics and process automation technology manufacturer determined that a dimension-weighing-scanning (DWS) system would be the best way to improve processes and operations in the company’s retail supply chain. The manufacturer’s Master Data Analyzer (MDA) provided the retailer a reliable way to optimize storage, resulting in no empty space in totes and no overstuffing.

Now, when items arrive at the warehouse, a worker scans the bar code of each item. The MDA can read 1D or 2D bar codes. If the item is new and not currently in the system, the worker will place it on the MDA to analyze it and obtain the “master data” or dimensioning data of the item. The dimensioning data includes the object’s length, width, height, weight and volume.

The retailer’s data is then sent to its WMS, which tells the worker exactly how many of each item should be placed in a tote. This data is then associated with the bar code for future scans, so the WMS can instruct the worker on how many to place in each respective tote. Each tote is then sent to be stored in the facility, enabling workers to pull items, as needed, more easily—by not dealing with overstuffed totes.

By implementing the manufacturer’s MDA, the retailer has consistently witnessed its speed, high accuracy and low error rate. Sixty MDAs have been installed at its new facility so far, primarily to analyze items of varying shapes and sizes, even if they are in polybags or other packaging.

Due to the success the retailer experienced in the first facility, it now has plans of buying an additional 60 MDAs to optimize operations in its other facilities.

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