Integration of a high-density AutoStore system, Geek+ AMRs, Sealed Air void reduction and autobagger systems, custom-sized cartoning systems and inbound/outbound conveyor lines
Outdoor Network is a U.S. dealer and distributor of vehicles, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, and optional accessories for marine, powersports, and small engine power equipment brands.
Outdoor Network’s East Coast DC in Albany, Georgia, held inventory in two facilities. One stored small parts in goods-to-person (GtP) horizontal carousels; the other held stored larger, oversized items. Consolidating multi-line orders from the two buildings was challenging.
Further, the horizontal carousels were approaching end-of-life. With more than 50% of orders being single line item, the system’s processing capacity could no longer meet peak requirements. The warehouse management system (WMS) was also outdated and unsupported.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 prompted a significant surge in demand while staffing two shifts had become increasingly difficult. Moreover, the company was not immune to global supply chain disruptions, with many parts being out of stock or unavailable for months.
Outdoor Network engaged KPI Solutions™ to increase fulfillment rates by 150% over peak demand and expand safety stock storage. The company also wanted to explore fresh GtP automation, consolidate staffing into a single shift, and transition operations into a larger, refurbished facility.
After analyzing Outdoor Network’s data, surveying existing operations, and touring the new location, KPI proposed a partnership-based, design-build project structure. KPI’s data analysts, design engineers, and process specialists worked closely with Outdoor Network’s team.
Together, they assessed multiple layouts, methods, and equipment against numerous factors, including storage capacity, throughput rates, peak order volumes, scalability, and lead times.
Ultimately, the decision was made to implement:
- A high-density AutoStore system housing more than 28,700 bins stacked 11 high. Served by 75 robots, the system covers nearly 14,000 square feet and holds more than 80,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs). It is accessed by 14 GtP picking ports and 10 putaway ports for restocking.
- Ten Geek+ autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) transport 75 carts of oversized items to static shelving and pallet rack for putaway, and move oversized picks in carts to a consolidation area for outbound shipping.
- A Sealed Air I-Pack void reduction system creates right-sized corrugated trays and lids for orders picked from the AutoStore. Five Pregis Sharp tabletop autobaggers package single-item orders. Together, the two systems package more than 70% of orders.
- New inbound and outbound 24V motor-driven roller (MDR) conveyors move received SKUs and corrugated picking trays to the AutoStore system, plus transport completed picks through packing and shipping for automatic loading of trailers.
- Two PackSize cartoning systems create custom-sized shipping cartons for oversized picks. Supported by KPI, Outdoor Network’s internal team developed its own WMS software and automation controls. KPI provided interface training, simulation tools, and design insights to facilitate software development.
- The automated system significantly minimizes touches, enabling Outdoor Network to handle up to 150% over their highest recorded peak volume — or 22,500 picks per day.
- All orders are processed in a single shift, reducing labor dependence by nearly 50%.
- Single-line picks are completed at an average rate of 400 per hour. Multi-line orders are picked at an average rate of 300 per hour.
- Supported by automation, receiving staffers process nearly 200 items per hour.
- Most orders for in-stock inventory are fulfilled, packed, and loaded onto a trailer within 15 minutes of receipt.
- For accuracy, software controls are customized for each task and work position. Multiple scanning and verification systems further enhance accuracy.
Increase in peak order throughput capabilities in 230K sq. ft. facility handling 110,000 SKUs
Increase in safety stock to mitigate supply chain disruption thanks to dense, cube-based storage
in labor costs thanks to combining storage & picking into a single facility