When you’re one of the country’s largest wholesale distributors of pharmaceuticals and related healthcare products and services, you have to be fast, efficient, and accurate. This industry leader works through a network of 19 distribution centers around the country to ship critical products to hospitals, healthcare facilities, and retail outlets that range from independent drug stores to the big mass merchandisers.
Streamlining The Flow
One of their distribution centers recently underwent a major expansion and upgrade to ensure the needed productivity and accuracy. A new conveyor system coupled with some advanced automated picking equipment has led to record performance levels. The distribution center can now handle up to 3,000 totes and 2,300 cases a day with an order accuracy of 99.9%!
“The new system has been operating great from the beginning. It’s done everything we wanted it to do-and more.” – Systems Manager
In creating the new distribution center, management wanted to automate a large portion of the picking process and at the same time streamline order flow. Those objectives were accomplished through the combination of advanced computer controls, automated picking equipment, and a network of Hytrol conveyors that featured the EZ Logic accumulation system.
The Distribution Facility
Order fulfillment in the main 156,000 square-foot center begins at the order origination area. The scanned totes move through a series of powered conveyors either to the manual or the automated picking areas. Once the orders are completed, they travel through weighing and strapping stations on to shipping. The shipping area has a re-circulating loop of elevated power conveyors and nine high-speed diverts that direct the orders down the shipping lines. Full-case and replenishment merchandise is also transported by conveyor from the adjacent building and integrated into the storage and shipping operations. An overhead trash takeaway conveyor runs through the picking areas. Throughput is currently at 3,000 totes and 2,300 cases a day.
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