UNEX keeps spirits flowing at two distribution centers
Southern Wine & Spirits’ Santa Fe Springs, CA and Louisville, KY facilities use Span-Track flow rack systems to keep the product rolling
The largest distributor of wine and spirits in the country, Southern Wine was serving Southern California from a total of 800,000 square feet spread over five different warehouses and 35 miles with the city of Los Angeles in between them.
The logistics of balancing inventory of 12,000 SKU’s over five warehouses while servicing customers in the LA market posed areal challenge. A major issue was no single facility could store all 12,000 different items. This required Southern Wine & Spirits to transfer 4 million cases a year between their facilities. Additionally, the distributors business continued to expand.
Robert Pavone, VP of Operations for Southern Wine and Spirits realized the only way he could better serve his customers while improving the efficiencies of the supply chain was to consolidate their operations.
Design for the Future
The goal was to create a world class facility with the capability to handle today’s demands plus room to grow during the next 20 years. The facility consolidated five regional warehouses into one 620,000 square foot high-speed distribution center. Working with W&H Systems, Southern Wine designed a facility with automated technologies including voice-based logistics, high speed conveyor/sortation systems and four tri-level pick module with UNEX Span-Track. The new system in place at the Santa Fe Springs, CA distribution center has been producing one of the highest throughput rates in the industry (15 million cases per year)(1) while increasing operational efficiencies and allowing for future growth.
Operating from a 217,000 square-foot building in Louisville, SW&S distributes liquor, wine and other beverages to retailers, restaurants, bars and clubs across the common wealth. Since moving from paper to voice software for its split-case bottle picking, it has increased speed, accuracy and flexibility, while improving its allocation of labor. UNEX Span-Track flow racks store fast-moving SKUs that are readily accessible for workers using voice-based picking software in the split-case fulfillment areas. Span-Track is also used throughout the rest of the facility where up to 17,000 full cases of wine and spirits are shipped out every night.(2) Southern Wine & Spirits’ Kentucky distribution center has nearly doubled productivity and dramatically improved accuracy, thanks to voice picking and UNEX Span-Track flow racks.
(1) “Spirited Distribution” by Bob Trebilcock (excerpts) Modern Materials Handling, December 2006
(2) “The Speed Challenge” (excerpts) DC Velocity