Fulfillment Automation Project – Monroe
WOW! Talk about stepping out of the flipped-up door of a DeLorean and into the future…but wait, the future is now. For many years the Monroe Food Fulfillment process has been very labor intensive from the printing of our orders directly from the Mainframe to manually sorting all our packages onto the correct trailer. As of July 29th,2019, we turned off our old processes and turned on the new Automated Sortation System.
Where did we come from? Our daily process was always kicked off by receiving pick documents from the Computer Operations team that had been printed directly from the Mainframe. From there many different teams handled the documents, printed and sorted shipping labels and then distributed work to the fulfillment staff. At that point teams would work to fulfill all the orders with no solid indication of how much work was left or how much had been completed throughout the shift. Also, we had upwards of 40 employees manning the “grid” area to sort packages, taking them from one conveyor and placing them onto another to head towards the correct trailer. We had many manual checks in place to make sure all the proper packages made it onto the correct trailers, but we didn’t have any real-time data to help us understand how we were performing. Using this shipping method, we were able to process 90,000 units in an 8-hour shift with 210 employees.
Where are we today? The new and improved process starts by customers’ orders importing into the HighJump Warehouse Management System from Oframe. Once those orders are in HighJump we have the ability to group them together to efficiently get those orders out the door and to our customer. Not only can we manipulate the orders in HighJump, we also have a system that controls how our customer orders get printed and routed. CORS (Compass Order Routing System) is used to help us track each customer order through every step of the process. With CORS and HighJump working together we can keep track of exactly how many orders are left to process, go through the sorter and load to a truck. Instead of moving trays full of shipping labels, we are printing pick tickets and labels right at the front pick module. Beyond that, the automated sorter improves our customer service by reducing the number of packages that end up on the wrong trailer, therefore, further improving ship times. With all our new equipment in place, we will be able to process over 100,000 units in an 8-hour shift with 170 employees.
The main benefits of the Automated Sortation System:
- Automatically divert to 15 different lanes
- New Print and Apply lines combine to process 1 package per second
- Sort at least 175 packages per minute
- Extendable conveyors for 13 dock doors to improve flow of packages inside the trailers
– Cody Sulzer
Assistant Facility Manager – Monroe Fulfillment